The Upper Crust

So that inauguration doesn’t become a ritual (II)


With Uche Nnadozie

Ladies and gentlemen President Muhammadu Buhari has disappointed me
already. He didn’t make any appointment whatsoever before the weekend
as I had envisaged. Up till the time of going to press he is yet to
say anything about his second term. Instead barely 24 hours after his
inauguration, the president was off to Saudi Arabia. It is a session
for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, OIC. People have bantered
over the desirability or otherwise of that trip, gratefully I don’t
have anything against it. He’s not on holiday. And as if member states
of the council are eager to reward our leader’s faith, they have
graciously agreed to help us recharge the Chad Lake. The lake was a
source of livelihood to about 30 million people. Now it has shrunk to
less than 10 percent of its original size, sending folks who hitherto
fed from its belly into the dangerous embrace of Boko Haram,
endangering cattle business and increasing insecurity in our land.
In that same trip, unfortunately I saw the former foreign affairs
minister. Geoffrey Onyeama is on the president’s delegation. It is his
right, but that sends a bad feeling to me. It’s like these ministers
are coming back. If they are, then name them now without wasting time;
if they are not coming back then leave them at home when you travel. I
am not a fan of the former minister. I have heard that he did his best
in repositioning the operations of our foreign missions. The usual
shameful occurrence of embassy staff squabbling over operational costs
has been cut down. Also, it is difficult to ascribe any success to the
president’s foreign policy objectives without it rubbing of positively
on Mr. Onyeama. Yet I don’t like him. He didn’t come through when we
needed him most. Rather it was the then special assistant to the
president on diaspora affairs that spoke up and engaged with our
diaspora population and their host countries whenever issues of
discord arose. One cannot point to any policy document that he
prepared that guided the attainment of our interactions in the
international system.
There is yet another man I wish do not return to public life! he is
the former minister of Internal Affairs. The former army general who
rose to become chief of Army staff is also an intellectual who has a
PhD in criminology. His personal capacity has not translated to
anything. He is best remembered for announcing public holidays. I also
recall when his military orderly had to polish and burnish his shoes
in a public function as he pushed out his feet. What a man! While in
office he caught a forlorn fellow, very uncharacteristically passive
and always missing on his job. Police was added to his ministry as the
supervisor but I doubt if he ever visited the Police headquarters or
any of their state commands. He had no response to all the challenges
we had or have in our internal affairs. Immigration remained it has
always been. Ditto the Civil Defence Corp. He was consistently absent
at major flashpoints and never brought people together to engage in
order to resolve social problems. He was simply lost in all areas of
our internal affairs except of course declaring public holidays. He’s
was a wasted tenure and PMB will incur my disappointment if the man
ever finds his way to any public office.
Another on is the former minister of Sports. Clearly Solomon Dalung
was bereft of any iota of solomonic blessing. He was simply a clown
bestriding our sports firmament. He didn’t understand sports
management and didn’t care to do. He cared more about his childish
tantrums against associations or personages within the sports circle.
He also cared about something else: his people’s culture, as he
identified with them by his regular appearance in their traditional
costume. The beret adorning man was not shy of the essence of his
“comradian” appearance. I don’t know the correlation, and he didn’t
exhibit any attribute of those used to wearing berets. Dalung was more
excited about his appointment than his work. It appears he spent more
time hallucinating about his unmerited status than developing a
bankable document on sports development. His coming into the Buhari
cabinet after the president had contested and lost elections three
times earlier than 2015 did not march the picture of what I expected.
To think that the man stayed on his job till the end confirms how weak
the president is when it comes to demanding work progress from his
In his first four years, the president has shown that he is such a
loyal person. But what I don’t know is if his cabinet members were as
loyal to him. His idea may have been to give people the chance and
enough rope to roll on. However the result is not as rosy. He should
have set examples but he didn’t. The former police chief did not obey
presidential orders. The president confessed in Benue state that
former IGP Idris didn’t stay in the state when he asked him to. Buhari
did not do anything to the man. Today, the president issued an order
to tanker drivers in Lagos over the traffic hell in Apapa. I’m not
sure that order has been obeyed yet the country carries on. This is
appaling. We can’t possibly continue this way. It is dangerous and
this is not the Buhari I supported. As a disciplined man, I expect
this characteristic to trickle down. There must be consequences when
people fail to obey presidential directives or orders.
In the spirit of his new tenure, I implore the president to release
the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, even if with
conditions. The same should be extended to former NSA Dasuki.
Releasing them should have nothing to do with their trial. We have to
renew the land.

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