With the unveiling yesterday morning of the first batch of President Muhammadu Buhari’s ministerial nominees at the plenary of the Senate, I do not need to consult some crystal ball or old school prophet in the mould of the Biblical Elijah or Elisha to conclude that at the end of the day, should the Senate clear the entire 21 nominees as ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the country would be done for. The reason is simple: of the lot, only a handful can be said by both the ordinary and enlightened Nigerians to be without the same sins PMB had vowed to fight and conquer.
Simply put, the nominees can largely be described as Internally Displaced Politicians given their respective political antecedents.
I am not lost on the fact that the same PMB who told fellow Nigerians and stakeholders in the affairs of the country that he wanted decent politicians and technocrats to take charge of the various ministries and parastatals. If this is true, then the list of ministerial nominees released by Senate President, Bukola Saraki yesterday clearly undermines the goal Buhari wants to achieve. Many among them just will not deliver; they will not serve and neither will they make any sacrifice for fatherland’s sake. Their records underpin their definition of national service: self aggrandisement!
The Angelic list
As announced by Saraki in the Senate yesterday, the first batch of Nigerians PMB considers fit and proper to assist him to administer the affairs of the country include: Dr. Chris Ngige – Anambra,
Dr. Kayode Fayemi- Ekiti,
Mr. Rotimi Amaechi – Rivers,
Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN – Lagos,
Udoma Udo-Udoma – Akwa Ibom,
Abdulrahman Danbazau – Kano,
Aisha Alhassan – Taraba,
Ogbonaya Onu- Abia,
Kemi Adeosun – Ogun,
Abubakar Malami, SAN – Kebbi
Senator Hadi Sirika –Katsina,
Barr Adebayo Shittu –Oyo,
Suleiman Adam –Jigawa,
Solomon Dalong –Plateau,
Dr. Ibe Kachikwu –Delta,
Osagie Ehanire –Edo,
Audu Ogbeh – Benue,
Lai Mohammed –Kwara,
Ahmed Isa Ibeto –Niger and
Amina Mohammed – Kaduna.
To start with, PMB had been worried that there had been compromises of various diabolical descriptions in administrations before his; and spoilt for a rare genre of war against corruption in high and low places, albeit, in federal government circle. But relevant anti-graft agencies of government took a cue from PMB’s posturing taking us the ongoing onslaught against graft of varied descriptions.
Thus, on his wish list of ministers, the President wanted unadulterated and uncompromised Nigerians with the patriotic heart to serve. He expressed that wish so much in an NTA programme recently, lamenting that most of the knowledgeable people he found had been compromised. Such people he added, when appointed into office would have somebody behind the scene manipulating him at the expense of the nation. In the same programme, he observed also that a lot of institutions in the country were already compromised. According to him, people prefer to work for themselves on how much they could embezzle quickly. That was PMB’s dilemma.
Yes, to me, that is largely true. And it is unfortunate too for a compromised minister can neither be efficient nor patriotic.
And given that PMB rode on the wings of integrity to clinch the presidency, added to the fact that he gave the impression that he understood the current socio-economic situation of the country better, he therefore thought that he required very patriotic and committed Nigerians who can exploit their knowledge and experience as ministers to advance the cause of Nigeria.
However, yesterday’s unveiling of the list of 21 ministerial nominees has cast every shadow of doubt on either the sincerity of PMB on his peculiar anti-corruption war or exposed him as one Nigerian President that does not really know Nigeria or better still, he has shifted on his earlier criteria on qualifications for would-be cabinet members. If not, the only explanation could just be that he has fallen victim of faceless manipulators close to him against the wish of most fellow country men and women.
Take the following nominees as sample:
Rotimi Amaechi and Lai Mohammed: From his antecedents and antics in and out of Rivers state government house, the lawyer-turned politician has so much incurred the wrath of most people of the state that should the All Progressives Congress, APC chooses to pitch its tent in the club of Integrity in public office, it will quickly back off Amaechi. Only yesterday too, groups from the state petitioned the Senate President on allegedly questionable financial improprieties against Amaechi.
But in all the foregoing, one group that has proven very dangerous and can be antithetical to PMB’s anti-graft war is his own party, the APC. From the empty tirades of Lai Mohammed to the clearly abusive tactics of its Rivers state media propaganda, the party needs some lessons in public communication and patriotic ethics. Being often loud-mouthed without substance as it always does, easily exposes the emptiness in its avowed democratic stance.
Hear what the party said about the naming of Amaechi as a ministerial nominee yesterday: “with the listing, today, of Rt. Hon. Amaechi as a ministerial nominee despite all the manipulations, witch-hunting and other evil plots by Chief Nyesom Wike and his cohorts, we are elated that, once more, good has prevailed over evil, God over devil, Amaechi over wicked Wike, light over darkness, patriotism over nepotism.
“By this singular act, President Muhammadu Buhari has not only given us the best 55th Independence anniversary gift but has also liberated Rivers State from the shackles of a despotic and demonic clique that thought that by propaganda that they could rewrite the history of Rivers State and run down a man whose love for the development and emancipation of Rivers State and Nigeria is infectious.”
To me, the author of this statement must be a political jobber in the mould of those PMB set out to prevent from serving as ministers. Alas, he has opened the window for those even worse than he never wished for to jump into his cabinet. I fear that before long, once they become ministers, Buhari would begin another round of war… except that then it could be against his own party men and women who are gradually crawling into his administration.
What about former Lagos state governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola? And what about former Ekiti state governor, Kayode Fayemi? All these men want to serve with their respective baggage of alleged corruption. Hmmmm. Where then are Buhari’s angels?
Should these nominees scale the Senate screening hurdle and make Buhari’s cabinet, however, I will not envy them; but I will on a daily basis uphold them in prayers for their respective or aggregate roads may be the roughest of all time. They would then need to note that without ministers, PMB showed to all that Nigeria’s discarded refineries can work again. He has also shown that looting and plundering of our national wealth, and by extension health that was at a point in time insurmountable, is now almost a thing of the past.
PMB has also thought Nigerians these past four months that without ministers the nation can survive without gushing oil inflow and that we could replace waste and prodigality with frugality that only comes with honest and capable leadership.
But can the Amaechis of this obviously disabled list of PMB’s ministerial nominees take a cue from him without resort to half measures?
Since PMB has repeatedly said he would be the country’s Petroleum minister, I guess he will submit himself to the Senate for screening; otherwise, he must forget the job.