Robert Greene, author of ’48 Laws of Power’ must have envisaged what unsuspecting actors like Dr Bashir Jamoh in the power game would face when he warned and postulated the 40th Law of Power, saying: “Despise The Free Lunch”.
Thus “Despise the Free Lunch” became the 40th Law of Power and a mantra in the mouth and hearts of kings, rulers, leaders and influential wealthy people in position of authority.
In his summary note on that law, Robert Greene wrote, “What is offered for free is dangerous – it usually involves either a trick or a hidden obligation. What has worth is worth paying for. By paying your own way, you stay clear of gratitude, guilt and deceit. It is also often wise to pay the full price – there is no cutting corners with excellence”.
When the news broke on Monday about a reception party for the newly appointed Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Yusuf Jamoh, I wasn’t comfortable with the idea.
Is that necessary? Jamoh is a ‘home boy’ does he need a reception party? Should a reception party for Jamoh be a priority for the industry now? Who are the organisers, and what do they aim to achieve? These are the questions that ran through my mind as I ponder over the proposed reception party.
Probing further, I got to know that NIMASA is not the organiser, but a clique of individuals. That raised my suspicion and curiosity the more, and that makes it even more dangerous for Jamoh going by law 40.
By Tuesday evening, my suspicion was confirmed when a graphic with Jamoh’s face advertising the reception party surfaced on maritime WhatsApp groups. The organisers were not proud of their sycophantic venture , so they deliberately didn’t include their name. They chose to be faceless.
It read: You are cordially invited to Maritime Industry Reception in Honour of Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr Bashir Y. Jamoh. Date: Wed, March 18th 2020. Venue: Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos. Time: 6pm prompt.
This card admits one. RSVP – 07064911051, 08033088007.
No doubt, the ‘faceless jobbers’ who put the reception party together just one week after Jamoh assumed office must have called him the day he took over from Peterside and said to him: “congratulations our newest DG in town. We are going to organise reception dinner party exclusively for you. Don’t worry about the cost, we will handle that. Just come with your friends and enjoy yourself with captains of the industry who will use the occasion to express their support for you”.
The bait sounds sweet and attractive, and the unsuspecting Jamoh fell for it, after all, who says no to a free lunch, except those who understands the 48 laws of power and are conversant with law 40 and the dangers and deceit of free lunch.
How I wish Jamoh had answered them, “thank you for your generous offer, but I won’t be ready for any reception party now, I will call for stakeholders meeting when I settle down with my team, and you will be cordially invited”. That response would have left them bemused and disappointed, but it would have also saved Jamoh from the deceit inherent in this ‘free lunch’.
Come to think of it, if there is anybody that needs reception party for being newly appointed as head of government agency in the maritime sector, it’s not Jamoh because he is not a new comer in the industry.
Mr George Moghalu was recently appointed the MD of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA). Was there a reception party for him by this jobbers who call themselves ‘industry stakeholders’? Likewise, Barr Samuel Nwakohu, who also was recently appointed the Registrar of Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding In Nigeria (CRFFN). Was there also a reception party for him? The answer is no.
But these are new appointees who are truly new in the maritime terrain and deserve a reception party by the so called ‘industry stakeholders’. So why didn’t they host a reception party for them? Your guess is as good as mine: because there is no money in NIWA, neither in CRFFN, so to these cartels, investing in a reception party for the heads of these two agencies is what my Igbo brothers call, ‘bad market’. No return on investment.
Now, you can see why Robert Greene advised power players to ‘Despise the Free Lunch’ and beware of ‘Greek Gifts’. You can now see why this is more of a ‘Deception Party than Reception Party’.
For the purpose of this report, I made an appearance at the occasion, the list of invited dignitaries was 46, plus 4 invited Journalists, making total of 50. To the organisers, if your name is not in that list, it means you are not among ‘who is who’ in the maritime sector.
So who are the 46 all important dignitaries worthy of Jamoh’s Reception or Deception Party? Who are the insignificant other stakeholders carefully denied invite by the organisers? What is the position of those who were invited, but they deliberately declined to attend, seeing the occasion as ‘an unnecessary frivolity’ unworthy of their precious time?
Watch out, in part 2 of this report, as we enumerate the approach adopted by the organisers of the ‘Deception Party’ and it’s dire possible consequences on Jamoh’s early days as DG NIMASA.