And as you are aware, the man has promised to unveil the wise men and women with which he intends to take Nigeria to the next level not later than the end of this September. And expectedly, Nigerians are eager for this all important list of Ministers-to-be.
Following their failure to accurately predict the composition of President Buhari’s kitchen cabinet (Chief of Staff et al) named a couple of weeks or so ago, political pundits have learnt to keep their predictions to themselves this time, keeping their fingers crossed like the rest of us. In truth and in fairness to them, that is the best course of action to take since our president is an unpredictable man. Hmmmmmm.
His picks as members of his inner caucus, though impeccable, have raised questions about whether he is a narrow-minded/parochial leader as some like Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and his co-travelers in the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) would want to paint him, or a patriot, interested only in what is good for Nigeria, if majority of Nigerians who still see in him the Messiah that we need, are to be believed.
While the jury is still out on what kind of a leader President Muhammadu Buhari would be in comparison to General Muhammadu Buhari as he then was when he held sway as Head of State between January 1984 and August 1985, the composition of his cabinet should tell what the man thinks of the rest of us outside his narrow ethnic enclave. More importantly, his choice of Ministers should clearly show the direction he intends to take us as a nation.
If truly he chose members of his kitchen cabinet because of the strength of their character, integrity, incorruptibility and unalloyed loyalty to the Federal Republic of Nigeria ( known only to him) then we expect nothing less from the gentlemen and women whose names he will soon send to the Senate for screening as Ministers. Did I hear you say “trust Buhari not to compromise in matters like this?” But even at that it needs restating that those he intends to bring on board must be of proven integrity. But are there people like that still left in this country? Cynical as this may sound, it will be an uphill task for the president to fish out such people to join him in the Executive Council of the Federation.
Not that there are no good Nigerians out there any more but getting them to accept to serve is the problem. In a society where selfless service is considered a foolish act, anyone going into public office is deemed corrupt from the outset and is expected, even by members of his own family, to line his pockets with public funds. To do otherwise, then he must be a fool.
You get elected or appointed into a public office and the next thing is your phone begins to ring more than usual and the incoming traffic in your mailbox increases as well. And virtually everyone is asking for one favour or another, not minding whether you are in a position to do it or not. You explain to them what you can and cannot do or advise them to follow the normal process, then you are labelled a bad person. Tell me, how is the society expected to make progress with this kind of mindset. And it is from this sort of society that President Buhari is expected to bring out the angels to join him in this change crusade that we embarked on with his election last April. I don’t envy him.
Unofficial reports have it that nearly everyone on his initial list of aides/ministerial hopefuls was tainted somehow by one form of corruption or another, hence the list has had to be redrawn and updated again and again. So, where is that clean person who would be able to look at corruption straight in the eyes and give it a dirty slap? Who is that Nigerian without sin that will throw the first stone at Mr Corruption? This is the challenge before Mr President as he begins the composition of his cabinet any moment from now and the challenge is also for us all to accept his nominees. Not without thorough scrutiny though. But since the beautiful ones are not yet born so to speak, let us accept the most beautiful among the ugly ones available and get the job done. The most important thing is to get our First Eleven into the cabinet and ensure that they not only follow and obey the new rules of the game but also get all the spectators/followers to do the same, after all the new team captain is a no nonsense man.
While we await the introduction of the new team, a look at what the captain has been doing since his appointment a little over a hundred days ago should give us an insight into what to expect from the team. While some have said that Buhari’s first hundred days in office were nothing to write home about, and by inference we should expect nothing tangible in the course of the life of his administration, it would amount to self denial to pretend as if nothing good has happened to the nation since the Buhari presidency.
During the Alhaji Shehu Shagari years in the Second Republic, I used to write the president off each time he mentioned peace and security as the biggest achievement of his presidency, but the Boko Haram insurgency, especially under former President Goodluck Jonathan has brought the importance of peace and security sharply into our national consciousness. I bet I am not the only one just realizing this now or rather appreciating it better.
If all goes as planned, the battle against Boko Haram should be over on or before the end of the year, while the war against terror continues.
It is not a mere coincidence that terror is being defeated under Buhari, it was the result of a focused leadership that knew what to do and is doing it. But then we should not read too much into this until we are reunited as a nation with the Chibok girls still in the hands of the terrorists.
But if Buhari is winning the battle against terror at least in the north east, insecurity is building up in the south in the form of increasing armed kidnappings of innocent people. As I write this, the wife of the deputy Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of the Sun Publishing company, Mrs Toyin Nwosu was kidnapped at their home early morning on Monday. Her kidnap came two days after the release of Ms Donu Kogbara, the celebrated columnist with Vanguard Newspaper who was snatched at gun point at home in Port Harcourt by criminal elements about two weeks before.
It is hoped that these two incidences are not related or symptomatic of the emerging trend of making journalists targets of kidnap. No Nigerian, let alone a journalist should be subjected to this kind of experience and it is hoped that the security agencies will up their game to curb these crimes. For Nigeria to be truly secure and safe for all Nigerians, the president and his security chiefs must not lose sight of the fact that the challenge of insecurity faced by country is not from Boko Haram alone, kidnappers are on the prowl too, and it is a multi million naira business that must be smashed the same way as the Haram insurgency.
While I was away
Its almost three months since I last appeared on this page and between then and now a lot of water has passed under the bridge so to speak. I took time off to try my luck at the presidency of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), the umbrella body for all practicing journalists in the country. Thank God I made it at the first attempt, although it came after three previous, albeit failed attempts to become the deputy national president of the Union.
While thanking those who put their trust in me by electing me the NUJ President on July 25, I wish to state clearly hereTHAT THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY ME ON THIS PAGE ARE MINE AND NOT IN ANY WAY REPRESENTING THE POSITION OF THE NUJ. Whatever you read here is from me in my capacity as a journalist/columnist and I wish to be so understood.
Nice to be back.