Weekly political notes

Abba Kyari

Buhari Hints Of Cabinet Shake-up 
President Muhammadu Buhari dropped hints of a cabinet shake-up, on Tuesday at the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja.

The promise was contained in his remarks at the APC NEC meeting, which took place behind closed doors.

In the president’s speech which was later made available to journalists, Buhari said: “On the other hand, I am keenly aware that our supporters are very eager for these appointments to be announced. By the Grace of God, these appointments will be announced soon, especially now that the economy is improving, we will have resources to cater for the appointees.

“By the same token, the compressed Federal Executive Council will be expanded, to bring in more supporters at the federal level, with fresh ideas to be injected into the government.”

By Buhari’s speech, it is obvious that nothing has changed in the way government is being run. It is all about patronage for party members, loyalists, friends and family members. It means that the change mantra that brought in Buhari’s government was a fluke. After two years of non-performance by majority of Buhari’s cabinet members, he does not see anything wrong. Rather, he is just interested in appointing more ministers to appease angry party members and curry their support in 2019 election. This is very disappointing of Buhari.

Why should Buhari hint Nigerians of cabinet-shake up, if he is sincere and serious about it? Cabinet reshuffle has been long overdue for, not only to massage the ego of some party members, but for better performance and service delivery. While some of Buhari’s ministers in the last two years have exhibited lack of vision and ideas, others are confused about government’s policy direction. Many are busy engaging in personality clashes.

This is the obvious reason Buhari’s planned cabinet shake-up should not be about compensating aggrieved APC members, but appointing credible technocrats that can perform, irrespective of tribe or party affiliation.

Allegation Of Cabal In Buhari’s Govt A Myth-Tinubu
A prominent leader of All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Tuesday described the allegation that he was having a frosty relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari as fake news.

The former Governor of Lagos State also dispelled insinuations that a cabal in Buhari’s administration has shoved him aside, despite his contribution towards the coming on board of the APC government, saying the insinuation was a mere myth.

Tinubu spoke to State House correspondents after a closed-door meeting with the President in the presidential Villa, Abuja.

Tinubu’s remark was political and expected. He has shown that he is a smart politician, who knows when to retreat and to surrender. Deep down Tinubu, he knows that there is a strong cabal in government Buhari, just like in every other government, including when Tinubu was governor of Lagos.

Meanwhile, Tinubu’s response to the poser was informed more by implications and not about the truth. There is nothing wrong in having a cabal in a government. It exists in other climes. But Nigeria’s case has been different because of their mode of operation, which attract negative reaction. That is what is happening in Buhari’s government. Tinubu, just like other Nigerians know this. But while other Nigerians can say it boldly, publicly and unapologetically, Tinubu cannot do so for political and personal reasons.

IPOB Blames S’East Govs, Ohanaeze For Invasion Of Kanu’s Home
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has blamed South East governors for the invasion of the home of its leader, Nnamdi Kanu. The outlawed group had accused the Army of invading Kanu’s home during its Operation Python Dance in Abia state in September.

The group in a statement on Wednesday now blames the Igbo socio-political body, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, for the alleged military action on its leader.

IPOB said: “Abia State Government in collaboration with other Southeast state governors and Ohanaeze Ndigbo designed, perfected and unleashed Operation Python Dance on the people and the accompanying killing spree, ostensibly to eliminate our leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, since he cannot be bought or compromised.”

It also accused the governors of trying to stifle Kanu because of his growing popularity among the people of the area.

There is nothing new in IPOB’ accusation. The group appears to be losing steam since the disappearance of Kanu and the proscription of its activities in the Southeast region. It is not surprising that IPOB is blaming the Southeast governors and Ohanaeze leadership for its travails. It is expected considering that the governors and Ohanaeze leadership recently visited President Muhammadu Buhari.

But IPOB members should have known that there are many things wrong with their approach to the struggle for Biafran Republic. How do they expect to succeed in the struggle that would drag the people of the Southeast to another war and creating tension in the region? How do they hope to succeed when they have excluded the Igbo intelligentsia and leaders in the struggle? It is hoped that members of IPOB are good students of liberation struggles. If they are, they wouldn’t have carried on the way they did and expected different result. It is not possible.

Whether IPOB members like it or not, Southeast is still part of Nigeria today. And the governors are operating Nigerian constitution for now, not IPOB or Biafran constitution. Instead of continuous attack on Ohanaeze leadership and Southeast governors, IPOB members should embrace them for teamwork and unity of purpose.

2019: APC Defers Buhari’s Endorsement
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has deferred the endorsement of President Muhammadu Buhari’s candidacy for the 2019 presidential election.

The Speaker House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, dropped this hint when he briefed journalists on the outcome of the APC National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in Abuja, on Tuesday.

Dogara, who was flanked by the APC National Publicity Secretary, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, and the National Legal Adviser, Dr Muiz Banire, spoke on the issue when asked to give the NEC position on the possibility of giving an automatic ticket to President Buhari in 2019.

He said: “Today’s meeting was not about 2019 elections. When we talk about 2019 in the context of the agenda you saw, we are talking about membership registration, the drive for membership and others. We are not talking about elections. Even though there was a motion on the floor that calls for a vote of confidence on the President. Some of us felt it was not necessary, because there is nowhere that his confidence is shaking. But the motion was taken and passed.

“But there was a second leg to that motion which calls for the adoption of the candidature of the President, but it was deferred for now and no decision was taken because that is not the major reason why we are here.”

Even though, Buhari has not publicly declared his intention to run for a second term, his body language and that of his loyalists point to the direction that he will seek second term in office. And if he is running, APC members have no option than to give him automatic ticket, hiding under the so-called right of first refusal. It happened in PDP in 2015, when the party was coerced to hand the then incumbent president, Goodluck Jonathan the ticket. So, it won’t be a surprise if it happens in APC in 2019, unless Buhari says he is not running.

So the postponement of Buhari’s endorsement by the APC NEC, as Dogara wants Nigerians to believe is just to buy time. After all, passing a vote of confidence on Buhari, despite the obvious and embarrassing lapses in his government is a prelude to his endorsement for 2019. So why is Dogara trying to hoodwink Nigerians with semantics? APC NEC members should know that Buhari’s success or failure in 2019 poll goes beyond his endorsement by them. It is a decision Nigerians will take.

Leaked Memo: Osinbajo, Kyari Grill Head Of Service
An unusual scenario played out on Wednesday at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, as Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari engaged the Head of Service, Ms Winifred Oyo-Ita in heated arguement, apparently over her leaked memo to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The scenario, which lasted about 10 minutes, was before President Buhari arrived the Council Chambers of for the Federal Executive Council meeting.

Senate President Bukola Saraki, House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara, APC National Chairman John Odigie-Oyegun, service chiefs and others in attendance watched while the drama lasted.

Saraki, Dogara and Oyegun were inside the Council Chambers to grace the swearing-in ceremony of the new Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, as well as the launching of the 2018 Armed Forces Remembrance emblem.

Reports had quoted Oyo-Ita, in the leaked memo, as saying that Buhari was aware of the reinstatement of the former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina.

Visibly angry, the Head of Service rose from her seat and headed straight to Osinbajo, who also engaged her in a tête-a-tete over the issue.
The National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, later joined the conversation after which the new Secretary to the Government of the Federation was seen calming the Head of Service.

Hmmm, Buhari and his men are making mockery of his government and playing on the intelligence of Nigerians. Why question the Head of Service over a leaked memo in a public place, instead of doing so via a memo or meeting her in her office? Must Buhari’s cabal wash their dirty linen in the public? Why has the presidency remained mute since the news of the leaked memo broke? Could it be true that Buhari was aware of Maina’s reinstatement, but decided to pretend until the bubble burst?

Buhari and his men need to quickly answer the numerous questions and stop harassing the Head of Service for letting the cat out of the bag. Their continued silence means guilt.



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