JUST IN: They May Soon Start Calling Tinubu ‘Clueless’

Femi Akintunde-Johnson

Why is anyone with any understanding of the present imperative in the management and deployment of our resources, is now at the point of enlarging the federal cabinet to the staggering sum of 48 people? ! Apparently, ministries have been redesigned, and adjusted; not to reduce the size and cost of governance – No! But to increase the number, and accommodate, arguably, the largest contingent of ministerial appointees since the beginning of the fourth republic. And this is coming from a ‘master strategist’ noted for mastery of effective and proactive management of personnel and monetary matters…in a country hamstrung by many years of clueless and visionless mumbo-jumbo as statecraft….CONTINUE READING

Those who tagged the administrations of Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Bihari as clueless for divergent reasons, largely coloured by partisan interests and frustrations, must be in shock and at a loss for qualifying adjectives on account of some of the actions of this current administration… of course, the word ‘clueless’ will soon start flying and pointing at the direction of the former Lagos State governor, to the chagrin of his ardent supporters.

And as if to cement its newfound medal of cluelessness, the administration created a dramatic denouement to the comedy of bunglings that any skillful student of dramaturgy would be proud of…when a nominee, Maryam ‘Shetty’ Shettima, from Kano State was unceremoniously yanked off the Ministerial List. She only found out about her misfortune while prepping for the ‘Senate Screening’ right inside the National Assembly premises! Sensational. Suspenseful. Dramatic. You would not believe we are talking about a national governance process, which supposedly had gone through exhaustive security, administrative and intellectual inquisition, in those several weeks the nation was kept waiting.

We later found out that the former governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje was not consulted on Shetty’s nomination, ab initio, and was only tapped when the internet backlash stunned the president to inquire more closely about the lady’s antecedent. According to Ganduje’s confession, the president did not appear to know how Shetty’s name got on the List!

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Shetty was obviously a casualty of Kano power play, as she was promptly replaced by the candidate of Ganduje, who himself was reportedly expunged from the List due to pressure of security red flags. Well, he has since been compensated with the post of the national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress. All’s well that ends well.

The media later revealed that Shetty’s replacement, Mariya Mahmoud, a medical doctor and former commissioner in the second tenure of Ganduje, is also a close friend and classmate of Ganduje’s daughter, Amina, at the medical school. And what is more, Mariya and Shetty were mates at junior secondary school and same faculty at Bayero University, Kano.

That is what the street boys call “see finish” – symptomatic of the levity and incoherence floating over the activities and actions of the Tinubu presidency… a sentiment that must be speedily and decisively dealt with to renew hope of those who long for competence, forthrightness and visionary leadership in Nigerian governance space.

Tragi-Comedy: Assumptive Screening of Bloated Ministerial List

Some of our people have a saying: When a thing gets to the level of weeping, we simply resort to laughter. That imagery flashed across our subconscious as we watched some jobless TV station devote tens of hours transmitting live the hollow ritual of the Nigerian Senate screening the bloated list of President Bola Tinubu’s nominees as ministers, without the appropriate offices they are meant to supervise. So viewers were regaled with rhetorical assumptions by so-called experienced senators asking questions like: “if you happen to be appointed as the minister of… In case you become the minister of…”. Why do we prefer darkness to light?

And that is apart from the self-indicting lazy standing rule of the Senate that permits a level of sloppy indolence, whereby some nominees – on account of their past services (mostly as legislators) – are expected to merely deliver a series of coordinated bows, and leave. They are excused from the motions of scrutinising their qualifications, past performances, etc. It is not as if those taking bows served in their previous positions pro bono, or without some ridiculously hefty severance package. The tragi-comedy was highlighted by the insistence of someone like the former governor of Kaduna State and one time cabinet minister, Nasir El Rufai, a trained quantity surveyor, seemingly begging to be grilled as he was ready to answer any questions (and surely, Nigerians were eager to ask him some cogent questions pertaining to his chaotic eight year tenure in the North Western state). Interestingly, the senators were also begging him to take a bow. By the way, was it not El Rufai we saw in a video which emerged after the initial 26-man list was announced implying that he was too old to be jostling to serve as a federal minister once again? Don’t laugh aloud!

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Well, after one week of the well-advertised parody of self-importance, El Rufai was curiously noted among three minister-nominees the Senate refused to confirm… yet!

No More Wars… Thank You, Sirs!

Quite a large cross section of Nigerians have made known their lack of support for any preemptive military action by the ECOWAS “gang” led by Nigeria against our poor landlocked neighbour, the Niger Republic. At the wake of the coup, a series of sanctions was unleashed on the Nigeriens: electricity shutdown (we supply Niger power based on a 1964 UN-backed agreement on mutual management of the tributaries leading to the Kainji Dam); no fly zone, suspension of financial aids, etc. Like trapped mice in a murky maze the coupists shot back: severed ties with France (their mindless taskmaster and former colonial overlord), USA and Nigeria; coveted public support of brother-coupists from Mali and Burkina Faso; resisted pleas from high-powered Nigerian delegation seeking reversal of the successful coup; put the deposed civilian president under house-arrest (we thank God for little mercies, he was not summarily executed).

Consequently, seduced by the anti-US designs of Russia, and the possible backbone of the notorious Wagner Group, the Nigerien militants have dug in, and ignored the hastily declared seven-day ultimatum of the ECOWAS honchos, whereupon hostilities were meant to start if the coupists did not retreat.

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Now, we are in a cul-de-sac – somewhat embarrassing – as Nigeria is expected to uphold the resolutions of ECOWAS; however, Nigerians are in virtual unanimity that we have enough ‘battles’, ‘emergencies’ and ‘wars’ to face in our backyards: stifling economy, Subsidy removals, labour strikes, banditry, sundry security issues, food scarcity, inadequate infrastructure, wobbly education, weak naira – and a a steadily crippling sense of frustrations on a national scale…to add the prospect of committing out soldiers to embark on external aggression, in pursuit of some salutary ideal, against some foreign interlopers, beggars belief.

We sympathise with President Tinubu and his ECOWAS colleagues (the command summit meets a few hours away as this is being written) – but in the wise words of our people: when fire engulfs you and your child, your first action is to put out the fire on your body. So, despite the illustrious goal of reinstating the canons of democratic rule all across West Africa; despite the Nigerien’s resolve to resist sanctions, diplomacy and even threats of military invasion; we cannot assume the generality of Nigeriens are against the coup. We cannot assume the brand of democracy they have been exposed to has not impoverished them and destroyed their lifestyles, all this while.

We must not cry more than the bereaved. Let us find out what the people of Niger want – do they prefer a military interregnum? What hails us may not be their problems. Our disdain for military adventurism is not a universal malaise – perhaps not even regional. Let us tackle our numerous problems, some very endemic and catastrophic, and resist the itch to play the big-brother regional power tug of war.

The listening president should listen to the common desires of the nation…not the breathless whispers of closet war-mongers, unscrupulous profiteers and shadowy hawks….CONTINUE READING