Penultimate week, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki formally communicated President Muhammadu Buhari on lawmakers’ confirmation of 18 nominees whose names were among those forwarded to the legislative body earlier for consideration for ministerial positions.
We recall that an official letter from the Senate President’s office, transmitted the information to President Buhari through the latter’s Senior Special Assistant to the President on Legislative Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang.
Expectedly, Saraki informed the President that the Senate had found the 18 nominees who have gone through its confirmation hearing suitable to occupy the office of ministers of the Federal Republic as provided for in Section 147 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended.
Accordingly, the Senate President listed the successful ministerial nominees as Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi, Chief Audu Innocent Ogbeh, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Bello Danbazau, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Hajiya Amina Ibrahim Mohammed, Engr. Suleiman Adamu and Alhaji Ibrahim Usman Jibril.
Others the letter added were Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, Abubakar Malami, SAN, Dr. (Sen.) Chris Nwabueze Ngige, Sen. Aishat Jummai Al-Hassan, Barrister Solomon Dalong, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun and Sen. Hadi Sirika.
While we are not in position to query or endorse the wisdom of the Senate to okay the nominees for ministerial appointments, we are compelled to worry about the sluggish pace of governance and to suggest that it is now time for the President to stop, think and review his strategies in governance. Over five months after assumption of office, we must warn that with nothing to show as per policies and related democracy dividends, the Buhari presidency appears to be heading for a drift.
Today, no Nigerian is sure of any policy formulated by this administration so far that could signpost probable positive dividends of democracy that are to come.
We must stress that the same societal ills that the administration met on ground last May 29, remain and are fearfully mounting by the day. From poverty across the board through rising unemployment figures, across-the-board insecurity issues to dipping economic fortunes, Nigerians are beginning to turn to God for some miraculous turnarounds, at least for survival purposes. On this account, we note that comparatively, the very many meaningful promises made by the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC during the presidential campaigns and even after May 29, 2015 vis-à-vis the dimming fortunes of fellow Nigerians as at today, are not really adding up. Just for the sake of decency, we would not call them failed promises. But whatever way the Buhari government wishes to describe it, we must align with worried Nigerians to state that nothing is currently working in the country; and there does not appear to be any bright light in the horizon nearby.
But there is one strategy we feel the President could apply in this era of diminishing hope. Let him assign portfolios to the ministerial nominees so far confirmed by the Senate and let there be some semblance of governance that the people can see, feel and get their hopes reinvigorated. With 18 confirmed nominees waiting out there and maybe, endlessly for the remaining nominees to be confirmed, could amount to Waiting for Godot; what with the pace lawmakers are going about the business currently.
Also, recent actions of government that affect the people but on which there were no inputs by the same people for which such actions were intended, constitute serious but avoidable dent on the Buhari administration. The immediate assignment of portfolios to the cleared ministers to enable them start work would in no small way increase the hope of the people that the silver lining at the end of the proverbial tunnel is not a mirage after all. This drift must stop. Let the dilly dallying stop; let real governance start!