No link be­tween change mantra and min­is­te­rial list – NLC former chair

Daily Trust - - INSIDE POLITICS - From Romoke W. Ah­mad, Ilorin

What is your take on Buhari’s pro­posed min­is­ters? The process of se­lect­ing the min­is­te­rial nom­i­nees took some time and that kept Nige­ri­ans guess­ing, as well as gave them high hopes and ex­pec­ta­tions. Such process al­ways in­volves in­trigues, tin­ker­ing with sev­eral op­tions, con­sid­er­a­tion of di­verse in­ter­ests and power play among ma­jor gla­di­a­tors. The list em­a­nat­ing from such a painstak­ing process could only be ex­pected to bring out some of the best hands the party be­lieves it can pro­pose. I only hope that the party is aware of the mag­ni­tude of the ex­pec­ta­tion of Nige­ri­ans and there must be no ex­cuses for non- per­for­mance. Hav­ing said this, I am of the view that the nom­i­nees have made their marks in their re­spec­tive fields and should bring their wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence to bear in the oner­ous task of re­build­ing the na­tion if the change mantra will be worth the trust and elec­toral in­vest­ment of Nige­ri­ans.

Do you think the cabi­net is okay from po­lit­i­cal per­spec­tive?

It is not al­ways easy to de­ter­mine the ap­pro­pri­ate­ness or oth­er­wise of a cabi­net from the nom­i­na­tions or com­po­si­tion. One thing that is clearly shown is that the nom­i­nees are drawn from di­verse po­lit­i­cal back­grounds, bear­ing in mind that the APC ab initio was an amal­ga­ma­tion of sev­eral po­lit­i­cal par­ties which some crit­ics de­scribed as the com­ing to­gether of strange bed­fel­lows. Only those in the party can de­ter­mine the level of con­tri­bu­tion of each bloc to the gen­eral suc­cess and per­haps use such for po­lit­i­cal power shar­ing. De­spite the per­ceived ide­o­log­i­cal dif­fer­ences, all the nom­i­nees come in with di­verse back­ground knowl­edge, vi­sion and mis­sion of the im­pact they wish to make.

Has Pres­i­dent Buhari sat­is­fied the feel­ings of Com­rade Farouk Akanbi is a former chair­man of the Nige­ria Labour Congress (NLC) in Kwara State. In this in­ter­view, he x-rays Pres­i­dent Buhari’s min­is­te­rial nom­i­nees. Ex­cerpts: Nige­ri­ans with the list he came up with?

I do not think Nige­ri­ans have any par­tic­u­lar group of peo­ple in mind. Rather, the ex­pec­ta­tion of higher per­for­mance that can im­pact mean­ing­fully on their lives. The gen­eral no­tion now is not nec­es­sar­ily about who makes the cabi­net, but about the tune, di­rec­tion, stan­dard and ap­proach of the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion. I must ad­mit that in the course of the in­trigues that usu­ally go with con­test for nom­i­na­tions, a lot of in­di­vid­u­als have had their hith­erto ac­claimed achieve­ments rub­bished, while con­certed ef­forts were made to drag peo­ple’s names in the mud. It has man­i­fested that all of such were spon­sored cam­paign of calumny.

Aris­ing from th­ese, and in line with Mr Pres­i­dent’s an­ticor­rup­tion pos­ture, a num­ber of names which ought not to make the list un­til they had cleared their names even­tu­ally did. Un­for­tu­nately, some of such al­le­ga­tions were even not cleared in the course of min­is­te­rial nom­i­nees’ screen­ing by the Sen­ate.

Has the change mantra re­flected in the list?

There is no link be­tween the list and the change mantra be­cause, when you talk about the change mantra, it was not a po­lit­i­cal ide­ol­ogy of any po­lit­i­cal party, not even the APC be­cause what led to the change mantra was the in­ep­ti­tude of the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment and its mis­rule in Nige­ria; Nige­ri­ans de­sired a change for the bet­ter in terms of ad­min­is­tra­tion, how they are gov­erned and what hap­pens to them in terms of their gen­eral wel­fare. So, the APC keyed into it by re­al­is­ing that no sin­gle po­lit­i­cal party can de­feat the PDP-led gov­ern­ment. Then, the amal­ga­ma­tion of par­ties came to­gether, each of them com­ing with its dif­fer­ent back­ground and ide­ol­ogy; if they had it in the first in­stance. As re­sult, it is the mat­ter of each block within the APC as a party that would present its own can­di­date and that is why we can­not say that there is a par­tic­u­lar link be­tween that list and the change mantra. What­ever they are able to do, hav­ing won po­lit­i­cal power and com­ing to­gether with the best each side can of­fer, what­ever they are able to make out of it is what Nige­ri­ans would want to see.

If they are able to bring the de­sired change Nige­ri­ans are will­ing to have, and that is why I said there is no link be­tween that list and the change mantra, we must re­alise that each of the min­is­te­rial nom­i­nees has a back­ground he is com­ing from, has num­ber of po­si­tions he or she had oc­cu­pied and ex­pe­ri­ence he or she had gath­ered.

The youth are com­plain­ing that they have been skewed out of the equa­tion, what is your take on that?

I be­lieve in Nige­ria, power shar­ing has al­ways been an in­di­vid­ual and col­lec­tive con­tri­bu­tion of peo­ple to the elec­toral suc­cesses of po­lit­i­cal par­ties. It is af­ter you have achieved that, that you will now sit down and be­gin to al­lo­cate po­si­tions. What has been the con­tri­bu­tion of the youths? Well, they have con­trib­uted in no small way but they have not come to­gether to iden­tify with a po­lit­i­cal party. More of­ten, they have been iden­ti­fied as in­di­vid­u­als and when they are iden­ti­fied, they are usu­ally con­sumed in the larger po­lit­i­cal strug­gle in the larger con­text within the po­lit­i­cal party be­cause it is those who have the big po­lit­i­cal mus­cle in the party that de­ter­mine and they are also those who de­ter­mine who and who gets what.

I do be­lieve that the youth al­ready have sub­stan­tial rep­re­sen­ta­tions among the gov­er­nors, Na­tional As­sem­bly mem­bers, state as­sem­blies, com­mis­sion­ers and even among lo­cal gov­ern­ment chair­men. How­ever, there is need for our youths to equally reap­praise their con­tri­bu­tions to pol­i­tics in terms of be­ing used as foot boys be­cause many of our po­lit­i­cal gla­di­a­tors re­quire their ser­vices; some armed them and give them drugs to stim­u­late them to do some­thing that or­di­nar­ily they will not be able to do; and they are used to per­pe­trate all man­ner of il­licit acts dur­ing elec­tion­eer­ing cam­paigns and elec­toral pro­cesses to the ex­tent of en­gag­ing in po­lit­i­cal mal­prac­tices and at­tack­ing po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents. Po­lit­i­cal of­fices are not meant for those kinds of peo­ple. They are al­ways used and dumped and paid off when­ever their ser­vices are no longer re­quired. This is the area where the NANS, youth coun­cil and all other youth or­gan­i­sa­tions should please sen­si­tise our youths to be able to take up their proper role in the so­ci­ety.

What is your ex­pec­ta­tion from those al­ready nom­i­nated by Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari?

Those who will form the cabi­net have been told it is not go­ing to be busi­ness as usual. They should also un­der­stand that they must learn from the pit­falls of those who have been min­is­ters in the past.

We ex­pect Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari and the APC lead­er­ship to come out with their pol­icy di­rec­tion so that Nige­ri­ans will know what all this is in the change mantra.

Com­rade Farouk Akanbi

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