There is no better time for all hands to be on the deck of Nigeria’s sail to glory land than now; especially with the inauguration of the long awaited federal cabinet by President Muhammadu Buhari today inside Aso Rock Presidential Villa.
Since May 29 when the All Progressives Congress, APC government under Buhari assumed power – given its landmark spanking of the then ruling government of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP – fellow Nigerians have waited with animated suspense for this day. They waited for the day to come when appointees of the President can be seen, touched and related with in respect of furthering the goals, ideals and expectations of the nation and its teeming populace.
After all, if the APC holds the PDP responsible for all the malaise; socio-economic, security and others that Nigeria is currently confronted with, most people expect the best of times to begin to manifest with effect from today when ministers will take charge of their beats as assigned by their collective principal, Buhari. Alas, most of the Permanent Secretaries who had been there up till some 24 hours ago and who should guide the rookie-appointees of the President on the way around their respective beats were sent packing yesterday.
But even in the midst of all that, there should be some relief in the air with a semblance of democratic governance in the offing. But whether one can truly and hopefully declare a big bye-bye to the rather undemocratic over-centralisation of everything about the planning, drafting and implementation of matters affecting our aggregate welfare in the State House is neither here nor there. The reason is not far-fetched.
Buhari had in the past told the world that ministers are noise makers. So, which Nigerian alive today will need noisemakers to superintend over ministries with some neophyte permanent secretaries all of whom still need to run back to the seat of government for clearance for all they need to breathe, think, walk, talk and take decisions affecting millions of other fellow Nigerians?
No doubt, the bureaucratic red tape in the government business today remains as long as ever. It can be frustrating as it can be killing. And with Buhari breathing down the shoulders of all his appointees who can get kicked out any moment the principal considers fit, Nigerians fear for longer decision making regime with all accompanying frustrations.
However, snippets from the retreat recently organised for the new appointees of the President indicate that all hope is not lost; or as some put it, things are looking up. With the Code of Conduct spelt out for them at the two-day retreat, the new ministers should not only be able to relate with their respective audiences, including whoever the Permanent Secretaries would be; they must key into the vision of the APC-led administration immediately to assist in achieving set goals.
And most importantly, Buhari alongside his aides who had been running the show, must know that the real time for withdrawal has come; they must diminish and let the minister increase by taking charge and getting it right before long. That way, the president and his other men who of course form his real kitchen cabinet will have more time to attend to other matters of state administration.
Indeed, if one must stress the import of the foregoing, the ever-green song of Nigeria’s King of Juju Music, Sunny Ade titled The Way Forward, easily comes to mind.
Released in 1993 and recomposed in 2003, The Way Forward was a very positive commentary on the state of the nation and a call to collectively doing what was right in the wake of the annulment of the famous June 12 election to move the country forward. No doubt, it was a thought-provoking song of national unity composed by no less a person than the show maestro himself to reveal the very essence of the people of Nigeria.
Most of the artistes who partook in that Sunny Ade project, apart from singing against violence, equally charged Nigerians to abhor oppression in civilised manners. The song was in Yoruba, English, Igbo, Hausa, Pidgin English, among others combining varied beats and rhythms like fuji, juju, rap, reggae, jazz, afro and free style.
As one commentator paraphrased the song years back, it simply said:
Nigeria belongs to us. Come make we lift Nijeria up, Lift Make I Lift. Play your part. Let us forget about the ethnic and religious cards that we play. Cast aside the “I don’t care” attitude, so that our children would have better tomorrow. Nigeria must not PAFUKA.
The touching lines of the song include the following:
O ya a, Kajo gbe e e
Gbe e, Kemi Gbe
Nigeria yi ti gbogbo wa ni
Koma gbodo baje
Tori kosi ibomiran ti ale lo
A jo ole da bi’le
Eje ka sowopo ka fimo sokan
Gbe e, K’emi gbe
Come! Make we lift am o
Lift, Make I lift
Come make we lift Nijeria up
Lift Make I lift
This Nigeria na we own
Make e no pafuka
No place bi like our home
Home sweet home
Make we join hand and lift Naija
Lift, Make I lift
Simply put, the time is now for all to realise that Nigeria being ours, we must all rally to make a success of it. But it begins with members of the new federal cabinet who must show the way. They must lead by example. They must endear themselves to the people by assisting the ruling APC administration in fulfilling its campaign promises to all. They must not forget that Nigerians are no longer very patient with failing promises. Thus, the Unemployment Benefit of N5000 per person, security, jobs for all, rule of law and improved industrial capacity utilisation among the several other campaign promises made by the APC should begin to manifest in terms of service delivery.
And this one thing…
In the past few days, the issue of Biafra and its proponents have assumed worrying dimension, with the sweeping protests across the South-East and South-South. As at press time, the protests have swept through Delta, Anambra, Abia, Enugu and Rivers states, recording some deaths and injuries in the process.
Above all, appointees of the state must immediately see every reason why they must assist the administration in dousing the tension being generated by the Biafran movement. Bottomline is, dialogue that will engender peace for all at the end of the day. Anything short of that will just not be it.
The time to lift Nigeria up like Sunny Ade urged is now, Koma gbodo baje; …. Gbe e, K’emi gbe.