Finally, President Muhammadu Buhari has inaugurated the federal executive council comprising of 43 cabinet ministers; putting an end to close to three months of speculation about the direction of the promise of next level of governance upon which campaigns for second term in office were predicated.Perhaps more than ever in the history of the country, political appointments under the leadership of President Buhari has not only come to accentuate the fact that the prevailing character of politics is responsible for much of the bane of governancebut may yet dictate the tempo of the divisive politics ahead of the future.
While the Constitution of the federal republic stipulates the composition of federal cabinet on the basis of spread and balance of representation across the country, it should be instructive that Mr. President appears consumed with the passion of passing the message across to the effect that some states are more equal than others based on his conviction thatacceptance at the poll should ultimately determine the rewarded of political patronage. The President appeared undeterred by criticism of his portrayal of a section of the country with the contribution of only 5% of votes to his electoral victory in the first termas a way of offering a defence of allegation of perceived exclusion; rightly or wrongly.
It would thus appear the only justification for over-bloating the current cabinet which largely boils down to curious abdication of Mr. President’s pledge to downsize on assumption of office in 2015 is the compelling urge to drive homepost-election bellyaching which is to say the least very un-presidential and largely disappointing.Perhaps more worrisome is that undue political patronage often breeds incompetence with high tendencies for reign of the Ostriches in the corridors of power!
The President has left no one in doubt about his lack of capacity to be cosmopolitan in his selection; therefore itwaslargely an imagination carry too far by those who invested hope is seeing things done differently; beyond the circle of politicians adjudged loyal beyond other qualities.It should therefore be worrisome that the business of political appointment since the countryovercame the hydra-headed dilemma of interruption of democratic system with peaceful transfer of power under democratic dispensation in 2015 has since assumed naked posture divisiveness at the whims and caprices of no less thecustodian of public trust than the Commander-in-Chief.
What message is the President passing across by confoundingus with the rather un-statesmanantics of patronage based on voting pattern which amounts to banalpoliticisation of serious business of governance? At a timedispassionate commitment to political appointments on the basis of competency with manifest detachment from the cocoons of primordialpolitics is required, it couldn’t be an expression of statesmanship for our democratic leadership to be conveying message that often creates impression that lends credence to suggestion that the past offers much prospects of political sagacity and accommodation than we are currently witnessing. Of course there are those who continue to indulge in the denial of justifying Mr. President’s action by simply urging electorate from across the country to accept the reality of voting; willy-nilly to the pleasing of “Almighty President” in future election as the only guarantee for legitimate inclusion in the governance of the country.
We can only assumetherefore thatwhat we are witnessing with the manner political patronagesare of dispensed based on outcome of election will not lead to ripple effects in post-Buhari’s erato a point that could even hurt more disturbinglyrather than heal the polity.Meanwhile, the immediate concern is to wager the likelihood of the current federal cabinet meeting up with the expectations of Nigerians considering that overwhelming majority of the new ministers are at some point actors in the political and governance spaces and whose past records of performance are already public knowledge.
Granted that the President is at liberty to determine and choose who to work with in exercising the mandate of Nigerians, the truth however remains that the current appears of assemblage of comrades who are to be strategically placed to deliver on the prospects of continuity beyond 2023 rather than quest of delivering on the germane issues of governance. It would not be uncharitable to conclude that Mr. President is already looking ahead of the race for 2023 which may swing into full gear much earlier in 2021 considering the tempo in the covet bid amongst notable camps scheming to succeed Mr. President. And since the President is not expected to sit-by while those angling to succeed him are engaged in the rat-race, it would not be out of place to describe the current federal executive council as plainly a cabinet of self-succession.
Irrespective of the compelling need to invest governance with attention and priority, Nigerians should brace up for intense politics of self-succession that would probably be test-run with desperation to secure Bayelsa and Kogi states in the fast-approaching November governorship elections.No one should be left in doubt that the array of politicians assembled as ministers by Mr. President are storm-troopers who would be compelled by the urgency to secure their domain to the satisfaction and delight of Mr. President ahead of the bid to hold on to power beyond 2023.And considering that the race to earn Mr. President’s endorsement for 2023 has already begun with frenzy, no one should be in doubt that the dagger-drawn amongst in-house gladiatorspromises to be a herculean and if not toxic!
It is precisely not out of the blues that the inauguration of the new ministers elicited so much hysteria with fanfare that is unique in several respects. If the triumphalism over ministerial appointments amongst political gladiators was as much palpable, we can therefore imagine the depth and disappointments amongst those expectations might have been short-changed or unmet in the power calculus of the federal executive council. While we awaits the dimension of the political game ahead of the cabinet of self-succession we are faced with, it should be instructive that some the ministers are however sounding determined to succeed and probably earn a place for themselves. We will do well as citizens to support and wish them well.
Notwithstanding, Nigerians must be watchful and keep up with engagement of public officers; particularly ministers working with Mr. President. The returning Minister of Justice and Attorney General ShehuMalami;SAN has promised to unearth those whose actions and inactions led to the whopping $9 billion dollars recently awarded against Nigerian government by a British Court.
It is however important to remind the Minister that while the probe has not only become necessary, it is however impetrative such probe be independent and open to the scrutiny of the public.More important is that such probe mustnot be subject to reign of the Ostrich; at the whims of those who watched and failed in their statutory and professional responsibilities by allowing $600 million damages initially awarded against Nigeria became $9 billion either out of sheer negligence or as consequence of failure of leadership.