Ahmed Joda, 85, says President Buhari, 73, needs “a little more time” to make appointments into key positions. That is asking an impatient country to learn patience. That, I assure you, is not an easy call.
Joda made the call two days ago on June 12 while submitting his Committee’s 800 page report to President Buhari, who appointed him, Chairman of the Presidential Transition Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Joda says the President would need time to go through his voluminous Report before implementing and making cabinet appointments. This tends to jettison the commonly held notion that the delay in announcing the executive team was due to the inauguration of the National Assembly as the Senate must give approval to ministerial appointments. The Joda plea adds a fresh dimension.
Joda definitely knows the import of taking time to do a “thorough” job based on the exigency of reports studying. His Committee, he said, had to study former President Jonathan’s hand over notes which was delivered to Buhari since May 25 or two weeks and four days to June 12. Joda explained that his Committee had to sift through Jonathan’s hefty and voluminous 18,000 page hand-over notes to cook the Report it has submitted to Buhari. As an aside, what did Jonathan write in 18,000 pages? Tomes of achievements or banal processes of governance? It would be interesting to know.
Back to Joda who in submitting his Report two weeks after the President was sworn into office has made a plea to Nigerians to give Buhari more time to go through the Report before making his appointments. What Joda didn’t say is how much time, Buhari needs and for how long Nigerians have to patiently wait. Perhaps it will take the President another three to four weeks to study the Joda report and then announce his cabinet appointments say in July or better still in August. It is doubtful that this will sit well with Nigerians.
The nation is impatient for change. Understandably so. Hence the vote for Buhari. One great hope was that government by committee was gone forever with Jonathan. But the Joda Committee may be suggesting otherwise. For a man like Ahmed Joda, making haste slowly is a virtue. Understandably so. At the blessed and nicely ripened age of 85, speed is not exactly a strong point. It is the time nature asks man to slow down and take it real easy. But would impatient Nigerians appreciate this virtue from the wisdom fount of greying hairs? After all Nigerians have been waiting for over 50 years for good governance. So what difference will a few more weeks or months do?
Yet one is worried about this call for time and patience. Super elites like Joda and Buhari have spent practically all their adult lives as government pikins. They have been in and out of government so often in the past five decades that they definitely ought to know any government inside out. They have, between both of them, been military head of state, minister, permanent secretary in different ministries, chairmen and members of board of critical parastatals like NNPC, NLNG and PTF among other top level appointments. They have cronies and minions swarming any and all governments in power at all times.
Furthermore, nothing significant has changed in governance in the past five decades. Crude oil has consistently been the main stay of the economy as successive governments have been too unimaginative to diversify the economy. The revenues from oil have always been shared from the cesspool called federation account as unearned rent that is habitually looted by our leaders from presidents to governors to LG chairmen and from ministers to permanent secretaries to heads of parastatals to crooked contractors and deal men. Hence resources hardly percolate to the grassroots. Infrastructure is in ruins. Multibillion dollar contracts have been awarded over the decades for projects on power, fuel, water, health, education and other social essentials but execution of the contracts has in the main been limited to corruptly beefing personal accounts and buying private jets while the nation suffers from insidious lack. To get rich you must be government pikin or a contractor. Jobs are unavailable with the unemployment queues longer than the China walls. Also the guys running and ruining this country have in the past five decades remained essentially the same. So nothing is new.
Surely these old fellas, Ahmed Joda and President Buhari must know the drill by heart and must by their long and practical experience in government be able to give, with hot facts and figures, a five minute cute presentation and sharp summary on any government in Nigeria. They know where all the dead bodies are buried and can point out all the skeletons in the wardrobes.
Therefore why is the Buhari and Joda duo wasting everybody’s time looking for needles in the haystack called Jonathan’s handover notes. Poor Jonathan, even when out of power, he is reason why the nation has to wait inexplicably. Why spend weeks on end posturing and putting up great pretense of studying government before Buhari kicks off governance?
It would therefore appear that the deliberately slow approach to getting governance running is driven more by intricate political calculations or schemes than understanding government. What those calculations or schemes may be, we don’t know yet. But I can bet that the schemes would not smell like roses or lavender when they become public. So let’s keep our eyelids peeled back in watchful gaze as we wait.
Perhaps we are being treated to the absurdist play titled: Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. Except that the two main characters in the play would be Buhari and Joda.
Tadaferua is a public affairs commentator