Buhari’s ministers: Expectations and realities

Buhari’s ministers: Expectations and realities

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Our people say that one cannot use her palms to cover a pregnancy because the evidence will sooner than later be in the public domain! All Nigerians and the world at large have seen the performance or non performance of Buhari’s core disciples in the past four years. And because we are different in terms of analytical abilities, perceptions, orientations and interests, we will surely judge differently. Just last month, I asked my Organisational Behavior students as we were dissecting the concept of perception: who do you think that the son of man is? While I saw myself as one helping them by insisting that they did do what they had come to OOU to do (face their books instead of face-booking), some of them described me as one of the best lecturers, eager to impact knowledge, offering fatherly advice and driving them to excel, while others saw me as too strict, discipline-focused and not a candidate for the best-teacher’s award!. Of course, they wrote anonymously! If students in the same class, under the same circumstances would have such divergent views of their teacher, you can them imagine how 170m-190m Nigerians would assess their ministers.

So, while admitting that we perceive differently, I have adopted a simple methodology in this matter. In 2015, I had argued that they were not the saints that PMB had made us believe, that some of them would not perform because they could not perform and that even those of them with previous performance- records would not perform because the circumstances were different.   After 4 years, I still stand where I stood. They are not that saintly and their performance, jointly and severally, has not been not sparkling.

But even before assessing their performance,  I wish to state that the visibility of these ministers is the lowest since I started  observing and commenting on our national issues   41 years ago (second year at UI,1978). I still recall the names and faces of some Shagari Ministers (including those who celebrated their birthdays with customized champagnes) , and those who worked with Buhari in his first outing, some of whom he tried to resurrect politically this time around. Many Nigerians still remember the names of most of the Obasanjo ‘boys and girls’ and some of them have not left the public space since then. Sadly, most Nigerians cannot recall the names and portfolios of most of our present ministers. And those that they can recall their names and portfolios (like Ngige and Amaechi) may well be for the wrong reasons. This is because in a body-language environment when nobody is sure of anything, when parochialism is a state policy, when those in the kitchen are more powerful than the customers they are cooking for, when access to the  rock and the rocky occupant is not determined by strategic importance of roles, it is safer and even wiser to face ones face rather than be an Ambode who is now wiser after the  come has come to become.

Ibe Kachikwu, an urbane technocrat, master of petroleum matters, and  the Minister  of State for petroleum, who has born the cross meant for the substantive minister (and you know who that is) is an example of what has been wrong with the Buhari Ministers.  He is the expert who could not do so much because he could not port his talent from Mobil to the murky waters of Nigerian public service. He told the whole world that he has it tough accessing his two-way direct boss(  as the president and as the minister of petroleum) because of the series of deliberately mounted road-blocks on his way. He has a subordinate who is more powerful and and unrestricted access to the rock-the GMD of NNPC. We will surely not remember him for reducing the price of fuel, eliminating  the fuel subsidy or  minimizing its opacity, fixing the refineries or constructing new ones; we will rather remember him for his various double speaks( for instance on the subsidy question, or the missing $25bn) and for placing the nations hope of fuel sufficiency on the shoulders of Dangote, our alternative government.

Fashola, the great BRF of Lagos, beyond his gray hairs, is still trying to figure out what to do with power, which is the key impediment  of Nigeria’s economic rejuvenation; he is even more at loss about the housing sector and the works segment is neither here nor there as the shown in the Lagos-Ibadan express way or the amoebic second Niger Bridge. He doesn’t know whether to hold the discos accountable and insist that they do the right thing or whether to make cases for them; he is still wondering whether the government has something to do with power supply or not (and he is the minister of power) and he is at loss of the quantum of power generated or transmitted. Of course, it appears that he was set up to fail, given the gargantuan responsibilities placed on his shoulders, when we have other  millions of capable Nigerians including the son of man! He could not port his Lagos-magic to Abuja!

Lai Mohammed ministered more as the spokesman for APC than an  MFR( Minister of the Federal Republic); in fact, he rendered the various APC spokespersons redundant. The minister of justice is busy fighting with the agents supposed to be under his supervision and it is under his watch that the Chief Justice of Nigeria received a queer kind of justice. Mrs Kemi Adeosun was still trying to grapple with the intricacies and challenges of her job when she was swallowed by the NYSC-gate, just like the minister of communication, Mr Shitu, who said that there was nothing wrong violating the laws of Nigeria on the NYSC scheme(and I think he is a lawyer). Unfortunately, I can’t recall the names of the new ministers of finance and communication. Udo Udoma has not been able to get the budgeting process right neither has he been able to settle the vexatious issue of whether the NASS has the power to up the budget figures to any level they wish any time they wish.

At the heart of the performance challenges faced by Buhari’s disciples is the  propaganda-based outlandish promises made by APC during their campaigns and the absence  a workable framework for addressing the challenges of Nigeria, apart from blaming GEJ and PDP and at times all past administrations, of which  PMB is an indelible part. They  invested so much efforts in wrenching power from the PDP/GEJ but did not give much thoughts on what to do with that power and before they knew it, the 4-year tenure, which looked like it was forever in 2015, is over.


Other matters: A death-friendly generation

Because of the uncertainty of the realities in the hereafter, we ordinarily wish to stay as long as we can on this side of the divide. We also value human life and death itself was regarded with some form of awe. But not anymore! The current generation appears eager to dispatch others to the great beyond without qualms and for flimsy reasons. And they forget that harming or killing somebody does not solve any problem because after the murder or manslaughter or culpable homicide (I no be lawyer!), the   person, who has now become an accused, still has to face his or her problems, which have become more complicated and compounded. Last month, Dejo Adenuga killed 8 members of a family to get at his girlfriend who said I no do again! Meanwhile, Ahmed Abubakar of GSS, Kastina (18) recently murdered his friend because they disagreed over a girl, just as Nyaluk Magorok of South Sudan was beaten to death by her brothers  in collusion with their father for refusing a suitor who offered a dowry of 40 cows, while Ifeanyi Nwokolo of Port Harcourt killed his wife Ijeoma, for demanding sex from him while he was preparing for a church vigil. In the US, Matthew Borges, a teenager beheaded his classmate, Lee Emmanuel, for sitting (just sitting!) with his girlfriend in the schools cafeteria; in Lagos, Kanile Nwabuzor committed suicide because of a disagreement with her boyfriend; in Ikare, one Gbenga killed his mother and committed suicide while in Ukum LGA of Benue, Suese Moses stabbed her 26 year old daughter to death. What is happening? These are not isolated cases! How did we come to a situation in which people now kill each other or commit suicide over apparently minor matters and it is happening across the globe. We are now bound to violence and the worst is that all those people accused have already lost whatever led them to commit the murder, they have lost their freedom as well as their peace of mind and their lives will never be the same again-on the negative side. So, what have they benefitted?


Ik Muo

Ik Muo, PhD, Department of Business Administration, OOU, Ago-Iwoye. 08033026625



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