- One month after, no SGF, CoS, cabinet
- MDAs banned from financial transactions
Almost one month after President Muhammadu Buhari took over the mantle of leadership, Nigerians are worried over his style of governance.
Buhari’s election was greeted with a lot of enthusiasm but that fervor is giving way to dismay as everything in the country appears to be on standstill following the failure of the government to take major decisions and enunciate its policy direction.
Unlike his predecessors who made key appointments like Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, barely 24 hours after they were sworn-in, President Buhari is still keeping Nigerians guessing on who he will appoint to serve in that capacity.
“This is the area where Nigerians feel very worried. For the Office of the SGF that performs such vital constitutional functions as coordinating policy design and formulation by Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs for approval by government, serving as Secretary to the Council of State, the Federal Executive Council, FEC and other Constitutional Councils, which are chaired by the President; coordinating the activities of Ministries and Agencies on the implementation of critical decisions, policies and programmes; dealing with constitutional, political and socio-economic matters as may be referred to the Presidency and taking charge of administrative Tribunals, Commissions and Panels of Enquiry; Coordinating national security and public safety matters among several others, it is very absurd for us to have a President in office for over three weeks with government and governance expected to be going, but with no results so far.” This was how a director in a ministry in the Federal Secretariat, Abuja underscored the Buhari leadership style.
“Even the list of ministers, which Mr. President is expected to forward to the Senate for approval, is still being kept close to the President’s chest, and the Presidency has not given any indication if it will go along with the recommendation of the Ahmed Joda-led Transition Committee to prune down the number of ministries from 42 to 19,” another top public official lamented.
Standstill in MDAs
The official continued that the delay in making key appointments by the President is affecting activities in MDAs, as major decisions in the organisations have been kept in abeyance pending when the SGF and ministers are appointed.
To compound the situation in the MDAs, they have been banned from spending any money and this is gradually grinding activities in the MDAs to a halt, the official said.
The slow and uncertain steps that appears to have been adopted as the official style of the administration is also having negative impact in the financial sector as the failure of the government to come out with its policy direction is now a major deterrent to investments in the country’s capital market.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan had boosted the confidence of investors in the Nigerian market when he accepted the outcome of the presidential election in March. This led to stocks gaining N1.4 trillion in two days after Jonathan congratulated Buhari and the naira appreciating against other foreign currencies.
But the enthusiasm of investors is waning due to government’s failure to come out with its policy direction.
According to reports, as of Thursday last week, the value of equities listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, had declined by N238billion or 2.04 percent, while the NSE All-Share Index fell by 2.47 percent or 849.87 basis points.
This is at variance with what happened in the first trading session after Jonathan congratulated Buhari when the value of stocks listed on the NSE rose by a historical 8.4 percent or N904billion.
A financial analyst at WSTC Financial Services Limited, Mr. Olutola Oni, had explained that the investment climate had been to a large extent dampened by the fact that the enthusiasm with which people looked forward to the coming of the new government was suppressed by what they had seen the government do since it was inaugurated.
Oni said: “When the elections were conducted peacefully and the transition was peaceful, people expected that the incoming government would consolidate on that, roll out the list of those that would form the new government and make one or two policy statements.
“But till now, apart from the fact that the government moved the military command centre to Borno State, no other policy statement has been made, not even as regards the issue of the fuel crisis. Everything has been virtually the same; just like nothing happened on the political scene.”
Deepening APC crisis
On the political turf, the crisis in the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, has been partly attributed to the seeming aloofness of President Buhari to the affairs of the party after his inauguration.
The Presidency was also blamed by some chieftains of the party for the crisis in the National Assembly where the party was humiliated during the June 9 election of the leadership of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The APC had conducted a mock election where the candidates of the national leader of the party, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, emerged the winners but this was rejected by Senator Bukola Saraki and Hon. Yakubu Dogara.
President Buhari did not intervene in the rift until the last minute when he called for a meeting on the same day and time which coincided with the time he gave for the proclamation of the 8th National Assembly.
The APC is still at a loss over how to wriggle out of the crisis ignited by the outcome of the National Assembly election.
Also, the new administration is having credibility issues over the failure of the President and the Vice President to make public their assets declaration as they promised Nigerians during the electioneering period.
President Buhari had also promised that he would compel all ministers and other political appointees to make public their assets declaration as a first step towards the war against corruption.
Last week, the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, laid to rest the hullaballoo over the President’s assets declaration when it said with finality that it will not make the declaration open for public scrutiny.
The Presidency is yet to react to this despite the clamour from several quarters for Buhari to make good his electoral promise on the issue.