Warts and all Buhari’s cab­i­net holds prom­ise

Daily Trust - - OPINION - By Louis Oko­roma

On last day of Septem­ber, 2015, Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari de­liv­ered on his prom­ise to send a list of his pro­posed cab­i­net to the Se­nate for con­fir­ma­tion. Though the Pres­i­dent has de­liv­ered, the de­liv­ery is more or less par­tial as about fif­teen more nom­i­nees need to be made to bring the to­tal num­ber to thirty-six and thereby sat­isfy the con­sti­tu­tional re­quire­ment that there should be a Min­is­ter ap­pointed from each of the 36 states of the Fed­er­a­tion. The Pres­i­dent hap­pily, has promised to com­plete the list at the ear­li­est pos­si­ble time. Nige­ri­ans hold him to his word.

Hav­ing taken the first step by send­ing the names of Min­is­ters, it is in­ter­est­ing that the un­veil­ing of the list has started a new round of con­tro­versy in the polity. While quite a large num­ber of Nige­ri­ans have hailed the list as con­tain­ing names of cred­i­ble per­sons, who would de­liver in any port­fo­lio as­signed to them and thus help the Pres­i­dent to push the Change mantra, quite a large num­ber of oth­ers have ques­tioned the com­po­si­tion and thus the Pres­i­dent’s wis­dom in taken three long months to se­lect the per­son­al­i­ties. Ac­cord­ing to this group, where are the an­gels we have been wait­ing for in the past three months for which pur­pose the coun­try had no Min­is­ters in place?

This writer as­so­ci­ates with those Nige­ri­ans who are com­fort­able with the Pres­i­dent’s first choice of Cab­i­net mem­bers. Men are not Gods; hence any­one ex­pect­ing the Pres­i­dent to have made bet­ter choices than what we cur­rently have been pre­sented with is not be­ing fair. There is no way Pres­i­dent Buhari could have ar­rived at a se­lec­tion bet­ter than what we cur­rently have ex­cept Nige­ri­ans want him to ap­point for­eign­ers as mem­bers of his cab­i­net!

To the ques­tion of the de­lay in mak­ing the ap­point­ments for which rea­son the coun­try had to make do with­out a Cab­i­net for three months. Any­thing worth do­ing is worth do­ing well and no re­spon­si­ble Chief Ex­ec­u­tive let alone the Leader of a big coun­try would em­bark on any ex­er­cise that would ul­ti­mately im­pact on the life and well-be­ing of the pop­u­lace with­out care­ful thought or plan­ning ex­cept the lat­ter planned to fail!

It was ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary that Pres­i­dent Buhari took his time to name peo­ple to his Cab­i­net. This is be­cause

the of the huge rot found in the sys­tem when he took over and for which the Nige­rian peo­ple had got fed up with and for which rea­son, they aligned with the party of Change, the All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC). If a new Pres­i­dent took over the way PMB did, and met a sit­u­a­tion of long queues at fill­ing sta­tions, near to­tal lack of elec­tric­ity across the coun­try in spite of bil­lions of Naira in in­vest­ment in power, huge un­em­ploy­ment and un­paid salary ar­rears for State and Fed­eral work­ers as well as di­lap­i­dat­ing in­fra­struc­ture in most parts of the coun­try, such a new leader has to be cir­cum­spect. The sit­u­a­tion de­scribed above is not ed­i­fy­ing nor sat­is­fy­ing for which a new Leader like Buhari should jump into the fray and ap­point peo­ple to merely take over min­is­te­rial seats in the tra­di­tion of all is well! Noth­ing was well when Buhari took over and there was the ur­gent need to un­der­stand the prob­lem, what was wrong with the na­tion, sec­tor by sec­tor and stage by stage to know the ar­eas that ac­tion are needed.

Yet another is­sue that made the de­lay in­evitable is the need for the Pres­i­dent to get grip of the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in the coun­try that had spi­raled out of con­trol by the time the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion was leav­ing of­fice. We also re­mem­ber that PMB promised Nige­ri­ans to tackle in or­der of pri­or­ity - se­cu­rity and in­sur­gency, cor­rup­tion and the econ­omy/job cre­ation. In fair­ness to our­selves, no se­ri­ous leader can tackle cor­rup­tion and re­vamp a col­laps­ing na­tional econ­omy, in the ab­sence of se­cu­rity or when it has not rea­son­ably dealt with an armed and vi­cious in­sur­gency that has crip­pled a large chunk of its coun­try and dis­placed sev­eral thou­sands of its peo­ple!

There­fore the Pres­i­dent had to do some­thing con­crete about the na­tion’s poor se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion be­fore bring­ing at­ten­tion to bear on other as­pects of gov­er­nance like se­lect­ing a Cab­i­net to drive gov­er­nance and de­vel­op­ment. Thus, in the last three months, while slowly ob­serv­ing those to be ap­pointed into the Cab­i­net, PMB had been con­cerned to a large ex­tent with the press­ing is­sues of na­tional se­cu­rity hinged on the Boko Haram in­sur­gency and the threat it poses to the ex­is­tence and progress of the na­tion. To­wards this end, in the last three months, Buhari trav­elled to a num­ber of coun­tries both for se­cu­rity rea­sons and to rein­vig­o­rate bi­lat­eral re­la­tions to serve bet­ter the ob­jec­tives of na­tional de­vel­op­ment. Hav­ing suc­cess­fully put the is­sue of se­cu­rity on a sound pedestal, it is no won­der that the Pres­i­dent is now em­bold­ened to turn to con­sti­tut­ing his cab­i­net.

One is com­fort­able with the list pre­sented by PMB. In fact, it can be said to con­tain names of peo­ple who not only played prom­i­nent roles in bring­ing about the Change era, but these are men and women of cal­iber, thought and char­ac­ter who will not aban­don the task of good gov­er­nance in pur­suit of per­sonal agenda, as has been the case with the for­mer rul­ing party.

Who would not be as­sured that the eru­dite in­tel­lec­tual and lawyer, Al­haji Lai Mo­hammed would com­ple­ment the ef­forts of PMB to make Nige­ria a coun­try that works. This is a man who has de­voted many years of faith­ful strug­gle to re­move the then rul­ing party from power on ac­count of the lat­ter’s many short­com­ings. Lai was the ac­tive face and voice of the op­po­si­tion be­fore the 2015 polls.

Or is Dr. Og­bon­naya Onu, not good enough for any fair-minded per­son? For­mer Abia State Gover­nor, now a nom­i­nee from Ebonyi State cour­tesy of State cre­ation. This man has been con­stant like the North­ern star. All through the years he re­mained faith­ful to the op­po­si­tion All Nige­ria Peo­ples Party (ANPP) un­til that party joined forces to mid­wife the APC that brought us to where we now are. A first class Chem­i­cal Engi­neer, he would de­liver Change and progress any­where he is as­signed. Ha­jia Aisha Jum­mai Al-Has­san is a fighter and dogged woman who has a lot of com­pas­sion for the down­trod­den. She is com­mit­ted to Change and good gov­er­nance and the de­vel­op­ment of her peo­ple in Taraba State, and Nige­ria at large. It is in­con­ceiv­able that she would de­rail to be­come like any of the no­to­ri­ous women who served un­der the pre­vi­ous Jonathan ad­min­is­tra­tion. Sim­i­larly, Ro­timi Amaechi, for­mer Rivers State Gover­nor, would not for­get in a hurry the tribu­la­tions he went through at the hands of the Jonathan gov­ern­ment and how with­out the de­ter­mi­na­tion of Nige­rian vot­ers who gave vic­tory to his party, the APC, he would have per­haps been on ex­ile or in de­ten­tion by now. Amaechi will not aban­don change for filthy lu­cre.

The same goes for all other nom­i­nees of PMB. Each of them have strong points and are a role model in many ways.

Louis Oko­roma, a Public Af­fairs An­a­lyst, writes from Abuja.

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