OUTRIGHT shock, disbelief and measured mixed reactions from most Nigerians greeted the ministerial nominees the Senate President Dr. Bukola Saraki on Tuesday unveiled to the public, after he had received same from President Muhammadu Buhari last week.
Expectedly, the comments varied from people to people, depending on their background, their political affiliation and their professional callings.
Despite the obvious differences commentators were however united in the shock they expressed that the list fell short of the expectation of Nigerians in view of the un-common delay that the whole exercise was subjected to.
Prominent among dignitaries that commented on the list were former governor of old Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, Ogun State former governor Chief Olusegu Osoba, former Minister of Transport, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, National Chairman, African Democratic Congress (ADC), Chief Okey Nwosu, a Yoruba leader and Chief Ayo Adebanjo.
Others were, former Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, Professor Oyelowo Oyewo, Vice Chancellor, Caleb University, Lagos, Professor Ayo Olukoju, a renowned scholar from the Pan-African University, Professor Emegvwo Biakolo, Executive Chairman, Coalition Against Corrupt Leader (CACOL), Debo Adeniran and a chieftain of Yoruba Ronu, Akin Malaolu.
Musa said there is nothing spectacular in the list that justified the delay in the presentation to the national Assembly because there are no new names apart from those that have been working with him.
According to Musa, “Since the President has had the opportunity to relate directly with the civil servants in the last six months, he must be able to use that as an advantage to feel the pulse of what is happening in the ministries and therefore should know what instructions to give to his ministers when the cabinet is finally constituted.”
The former governor also noted that one important aspect that is missing on the list is that there is no sparkling name of someone, who could be used as Attorney General and Minister of Justice.
According to him, “For Buhari to really succeed in the fight against corruption he needs someone who could handle the Justice Ministry effectively.”
Speaking in the same vein with, Professor Biakolo noted with concern that the list is devoid of technocrats and players in the civil society group who owe allegiance to no political party or godfather who could constitute huddles on their ways to deliver.
In the view of Biakolo those President Buhari need to succeed and turn around the nose-dived economy are ministers that would be loyal to him 100 per cent and over, this category of appointees according to him are largely found among technocrats and civil society groups.
The scholar recalled that in other climes when they face monumental social and economic challenges as it is the case in the country now, politicians are restricted to decision making while technocrats are called upon to implement those decisions, adding that Nigeria cannot be different in this regard. In his submission he averred that the list contained expired and spent bullets
The University of Lagos Law teacher, Professor Oyewo however did not share the submission of his colleague from the Pan-African University, as he called for restrain and caution in condemning the nominees.
According to him most of them have track record of achievements, “Rotimi Amaechi is renowned for his principles on issues, he always stands up for what ever he believes in, even though it didn’t go down well with the power that be in his constituency, he boldly decided to pitch his tent with a northern presidential candidate who today is the president.”
IN a veiled reference to critics who claimed that the list is partisan as most of them are members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Oyewo noted that there was nothing un-usual about that because they were party loyalists who worked tirelessly for the party to wrestle power from the People’s Democratic Party ((PDP).
The lawyer and law teacher said that the allegation of corruption being leveled against some of the nominees, especially former governors Babatunde Fashola and Rotimi Amaechi may just being whipped up and orchestrated to prevent their confirmation by the Senate. He however said this might not work, as there is a Supreme Court ruling that allegation that is not substantiated could not be used to disqualify any one from being appointed to an office.
Chief blamed the disappointment that greeted the nominees on the APC and the President’s media aides who he said engaged in a lot of propaganda and politicking each time people criticized the delay in the past, only to vainly assure Nigerians that Buhari was coming with a super list of nominees.
According to him there is nothing super and un-usual about the list, just as he expressed his confidence in the ability of the nominees to deliver, stressing that “we have seen their performances in the past, I have no doubt that they would perform.”
The ADC chairman urged Buhari to submit the remaining list of nominees without further delay and that he should stop playing politics with the release of the remaining nominees, adding that politicking is over.
On his part, Chief Segun Osoba said people are merely blaming the president for the delay because they do not understand the party intrigues involve in picking political appointees “otherwise we all would appreciate President Buhari for coming out with such a list.”
He said the president couldn’t on his own make appointment without giving cognizance to those interested parties around him. That is party politics because a tree cannot make a forest.
Chief Adebanjo said there is nothing dramatic about the nominees “it does not justify the six months delay after he was elected into office.”
Adebanjo said the names; unfortunately does not signifiy the change the APC has been shouting. “One would have expected something more sparkling than what he released because these are the same set of people that have been moving along with him before, during and after the election. We know them, so what is the reason for the delay in the first instance, it shows there is serious problem before he could arrive at those names and for that reason I do not see anything changing.”
According to Adebanjo, “What is expected of a man like Buhari who has held several public offices including that of the Head of State in the past and also contested four time before emerging as president is to have known what to do instead of the unnecessary delay, which kept the entire nation in suspense and at the end of the day look at what he is bringing out? Worst still the list of ministerial nominees is not complete yet.”
On the skepticisms that some of the names on the list are not detached from corruption, Adebanjo noted in affirmative, “the whole cry about fight against graft is gradually wearing out. He started well but some of the names on the list have some critical issues to resolve before the anti graft bodies. I think the list has dampened peoples’ enthusiasm about the government.”
Former Minister of Transport and a member of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), Chief Ebenezer Babatope said the list has not shown anything difference at all “it is indeed more questionable than what we used to have in the past.”
While he refrained from making full comment, until the president has presented the whole list, Babatope said it “is baffling President Buhari will come out with such list after six months. It shows there is a serious problem within their fold.”
Prof. Ayo Olukoju said the important thing is that the list is finally out.
According to him, “One must put into cognizance the fact that there would be many interest to serve before Mr. President could arrive at those names but what should be of utmost concern to Nigerians is the background of the people appointed and the intrigues or delay surrounding their nominations.
“If Mr. President felt that those are the people he can work with he should be given the benefit of doubt but if we continue to stress the matter to whether any of them has corruption issues before the anti graft agencies such must and cannot be based on assumption until a competent court of law declares the person guilty of the charges or not.”
admonished Nigerians on the need to exercise patience with President Buhari over the list of nominees.
Secretary general Yoruba Ronu, Mr. Akin Malaolu said apart from the fact that Nigerians are not amused with the time it took our President to make-up his mind on who and who he intends to work with, Nigerians are equally not too fascinated with those individuals on the list. These names have provoked popular debates virtually in all nooks and crannies of Nigeria.
He said, “Rightly or wrongly, some of the nominees are coming with toxic baggage while very few are in the category of what we can call ‘Good men’.
He alleged that Fashola and Fayemi have serious financial allegations against their person and it wouldn’t augur well to have those allegations ignored by the president. “Ngige became governor through a stolen mandate that was later revoked and Peter Obi was given his dues.”
He said the president has added more burdens on his government “with his very extravagant nominees who are not only pompous but also rancorous in habits. Nigerians should accept Mr. President’s nominees at this stage and await with clear-sightedness the results. I cannot but fold my arms and pray fervently for the intervention of commonsense from this time forth.”
CACOL, while reacting to the ministerial nominees described the long wait that heralded the release as basically unwarranted.
The Coalition’s Executive Chairman, Debo Adeniran in a statement expressed utter disappointment over most of the names making the list. “By the way, where lies the change Mr. President and the APC have been promising Nigerians all this while if appointment into his cabinet is still the same old style of ‘settling the boys’, regardless of whether or not such appointment enjoys any merit.”
Mr. President had kept Nigerians on the edge for almost 4 months of waiting anxiously to welcome the super technocrats that would steer the ship of change in our polity but what have we now seen? The same old wine in a new bottle.
CACOL is of the opinion that Nigerians wouldn’t have been too bothered over the list as they would have simply taken it as the usual fashion typical of the average Nigerian politician but for the mere fact that the president had consistently appeal to Nigerians for understanding and be patient with him as he embarked on the search mission for the qualified hands for the jobs.”
Given the president’s assurance overtime, the average right-thinker would have expected to see in the list, names of established technocrats in the roll-call of academics and professionals of repute and there is no disputing the fact that our nation has it in abundance, both within and outside these shores.
We make bold to say that Nigerians are not difficult to govern as some narrow minds are wont to posit, rather they appreciate good and result-oriented ideas whenever any leader comes up with one. Apart from the example of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo whose enviable legacy had ever remained a bench-mark in the annals of governance in the South-West geo-political zone of this country, the appointment of the erstwhile chairman of INEC in person of Professor Atahiru Jega by the Jonathan’s government, enjoyed popular commendation by the of Nigerians across the length and breadth of the country.”
The common question on the lips of the people today has been; why the long wait; why the anxiety and hope for change, since we are not going to witness anything outside the status quo? Some of the nominees, for instance, are too controversial for comfort:
On a final note, now that the long-awaited list is out, even though most Nigerians have their reservations based on their jettisoned expectations, we want to call on the Senate to do the needful and shun any consideration other than that of the overall interest of Nigeria and Nigerians, by doing a thorough screening and drilling on the nominees, and NOT the traditional ‘take a bow’ ceremony, as this, at the end of the day, remains the only way by which the hallowed chamber of law making could justify the confidence reposed in it by the people that elected them. The days of ‘just come and chop’ should be over; it should now be that of ‘come and work’.
Source: The Guardian