Dr Joe Abah, the Director General of Bureau of Public Service Reforms and academic, in very casual style unwittingly or knowingly re-triggered a limited exchange on one of the most contentious controversies in modern intellectual history; what is the role the intellectual in society? The triggering sardonic comment by Dr Abah (@DrJoeAbah) on Twitter yesterday said “How to become an “expert”  in Nigeria: Be jobless; go around TV stations & beg to appear on ANY programme; criticise all govt actions. Done!” Of the many replies he got [most of them friendly] one by Mark Spencer (@Ack_Spencer) which was equally sardonic read “How to become an expert, sign up as media influencer visit all radio &TV station[s] hailing govt inefficiencies and cluelessness”. This is really the flashpoint of the controversy. However, the contention Dr Abah triggered is one many avoid because of the unexpected possibilities it can generate.
In the book titled the “Betrayal of the Intellectuals”, Julien Benda, the French philosopher shook the intellectual world by stating that there are two type of intellectuals. Type A are those who stand up for ‘truth’ and ‘justice’ and Type B those who serve ‘privilege’ and ‘power’. The Type A intellectual is branded an enemy of the realm, often sacked, often arrested, often jailed, often ostracised, often beaten, often poor and sometimes killed because he or she dared to make a vocation of “speaking truth to power”. This is the kind of intellectual Dr Abah mocks and dismisses. Type B intellectual is often a courtier of leaders, well-placed, well-paid, well-promoted, well-invested, well-connected and sometimes celebrated because he chose the vocation of “singing praises to power”. This is the kind of intellectual Spencer ridicules and exposes.
Question: what type of intellectual is Dr Abah?
When it comes to bureaucracy and bureaucrats, Prof Peter Palmer Ekeh in his famous essay titled The Two Publics states that in Nigerian society there is the Lucky Bureaucrat and the Good Bureaucrat . The Lucky Bureaucrats are the ones who takes more out from society [government service] for themselves than they put back into it. The Lucky Bureaucrats assume office purely to serve their own ends, amorality is their religion. The typical Lucky Bureaucrat is a thief and if elite, a Big Thief. Lucky Bureaucrats are the main practitioners of the terrible corruption blighting Nigeria so savagely today and are the key agents of the de-civilisation now occurring in Nigeria. Lucky Bureaucrats usually leave office rich or affluent. Then there are Good Bureaucrats who put in more into society [government service] than they benefit from it. Good Bureaucrats assume office purely to serve as best as they can guided by moral uprightness. It is the Good Bureaucrats who built up anything good that stands or has endured in Nigeria because they did their job well and did not steal whatever they could when they had the opportunity. Good Bureaucrats tend to leave office to a lifestyle their honest income, savings and investments can afford them.
Question: what type of bureaucrat is Dr Abah?
To the first question the answer is fast coming. To the second question one has to wait for an aftermath.
 The “expert” Dr Abah and Mark Spencer refer to is the public intellectual, a person who publicly and competently debates and analyses the incidences and nature of “matters of the moment” happening in society and the world at large. Intellectual, muse, pundit, media influencer, commentator, analyst are all synonyms of expert.
 The word Bureaucrat is interchanged with the word citizen.