Buhari’s Second Chance at Saddle

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The expectations by Nigerians that the second term of the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration will bring some relief are already waning, especially with another delay in the appointment of ministers  

By Goddy Ikeh

IN 1995, an article, Nigeria Foaming in The Economist of November 18th said: “Nigeria is not the most brutal country in the world, but it may be the most misruled. That is why it threatens to explode.” The article was reacting to the execution of nine Ogoni political activists during the Sani Abacha regime.

But 24 years after this article was written and 20 years of democracy in the country, Nigeria seems to have added the toga of being among the most brutal nations in the world. The daily killings by bandits, herdsmen and kidnappers, cultists, Boko Haram and extra judicial killings by the police and other security operatives have rightly qualified the country to take up that toga.

In area of governance, the country has even taken a dive down the abyss and it will take years of deliberate hard work and sincerity of purpose to rescue the nation and save the hard earned democracy, which is daily threatened by insecurity, corruption and impunity on the part of the politicians and their sponsors.

And so many Nigerians are not happy with what is happening in the country, especially the sliding of the country into anarchy and the celebration of mediocrity in the last few years.

Some vocal Nigerians and a number of ethnic groupings have lent their voices to the call to halt the daily killings and restore the country to the path of growth. They are also aware that this can only be achieved if there is good governance in the country.

Hence, the call for early composition of the federal executive council by many Nigerians, they are aware that ministers play critical roles in achieving good governance and they are therefore looking forward to the appointment of ministers by President Muhammadu Buhari sooner than he did in 2015 and avoid some of the consequences of that action in his first outing as the president of the country.

However, the Constitution of the country makes the appointment of minister mandatory as it states that “There shall be such offices of ministers of the government of the federation as may be established by the President.”

Armed with this conviction, Nigerians are full of expectations and some have made demands on who should be appointed ministers, while others reeled out the qualifications and attributes of the new ministers. Some even went as far as demanding which zones should produce some ministers and suggested some names for the president to consider for appointment.

Searching for the views of Nigerians on the persons, who should be appointed ministers in this second coming of the president, some interesting views were found and they reflect what most Nigerians think on the issue.

Generally, Nigerians want President Buhari to appoint credible Nigerians who should not necessarily be members of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, but should have sound technical and economic background to drive the economy and take Nigeria to the ‘Next Level’.

Specifically, Idris Abubakar, a public affairs commentator, cautioned the president against putting square pegs in the round holes in his second term if he wants to bequeath enduring legacies to the nation.

Abubakar said in the report published by The Nation newspaper on May 7, that it was unfortunate that the political class only source for credible hands for appointments within their political party. “It is wrong and this much should change,” he said.

Abubakar argued that there are many credible Nigerians who are doing well in their chosen fields in the opposition parties and outside the political arena. He, however, urged the president to make his new cabinet public in the first week of June, so that the Senate can confirm them within the second week of the month since he doesn’t have the luxury of time to delay the appointment of ministers this time around.

He, however, canvassed for the retention of some of the former ministers. “I won’t be surprised if the president decides to retain people like Babatunde Fashola, Audu Ogbeh and Rotimi Amaechi for their exemplary performance. Unless, the president is able to get better hands to take their positions, he should allow them to remain in office,” he said.

But Odion Akhaine, a lecturer at the Department of Political Science, Lagos State University, LASU, disagreed with the view, saying that the president should go for fresh hands with the capacity to deliver.

To him, the former cabinet was a failure.

“From ministers to service chiefs, it is a tale of failure. It is hard to point to any sector or ministry that has excelled. The president should go for fresh hands with capacity to deliver unhindered by the structures of party patrimony.

“There is no basis for reappointment of ministers, because foreign policy is in disarray. Power sector remained jinxed. Roads are in bad shape. Internal security is zero. Economy has remained monolithic and the value of the naira has not appreciated,” Akhaine said in the interview by The Nation of May 7.

Although the lecturer agreed that political appointments are first and foremost rewards for politicians, he advised the president to strike a balance between politicians and technocrats in appointing people into political offices, and to break the fixation on ethnicity and make appointments that are truly national. He warned that anything to the contrary will deepen the prevailing national tragedy. The political scientist also suggested that the new cabinet should be gender sensitive and that young people should also make the list.

While the countdown for the appointment of ministers continues, Nigerians are of the view that another delay in the appointment of ministers will spell doom for the nation since the inaction and delay in 2015 contributed in plunging the country into recession. Nigerians are hopeful that Buhari will do the needful and save the nation another administrative blunder and stunted socio-economic growth.

– June 14, 2019 @ 18:09 GMT |

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