Long wait for Buhari’s team 



PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari’s announcement of the appointments of new service chiefs and National Security adviser (NSA), the other day, has not offered much relief to Nigerians who have been waiting for him to name strategic officials who would work with him. The latest appointments, reassuring as they have been, came a little later than desired, especially in the light of the nation’s fight against insurgents and the fact that as a retired general, the military is a familiar terrain to the president and he was expected to have had no problem knowing those most suitable to help deliver on security to the nation.

Apart from these appointments, however, the president has not named the key members of his kitchen and regular cabinet nearly two months after he was sworn into office. This delay has, of course, exposed Buhari to the charge of unpreparedness for the presidency even though he had sought the office for 12 years before eventually getting it. Another danger of the on-going delay is seen in the shoddiness that has characterised the few appointments or removals he has made.

The president’s constant recourse to the quibble that there is the need for caution in the choice of his public officials so that the best would be chosen is hardly convincing anymore. Even if Buhari must delay the appointment of others, he is expected to have named some strategic members of his administration like the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), chief of staff, minister of finance, attorney  general and foreign affairs minister.

It is also not acceptable for the president to argue that the delay has been due to a leadership crisis in the National Assembly. This is because before the tenure of the last National Assembly expired, the Senate gave the president an approval to appoint 15 special advisers. Of these offices, he has only succeeded in filling one, even in a manner that speaks more than a little presidential confusion.

The President needs to be reminded that the problems he has been voted into office to solve cannot wait for him while he dithers. Nigeria needs to move ahead and very fast too. In various spheres of national life, a sense of urgency is needed, if not one of desperation. There is a national economic crisis that has spawned bourgeoning unemployment, kidnapping, armed robbery and  other forms of insecurity. On the list of the national challenges are also the Boko Haram  insurgency, the energy crisis, and even the absence of a clear-cut foreign policy.

Owing to the absence of a team, there have been glaring mistakes even if in procedure. For instance, the announcement of the removal of Ita Ekpeyong as the Director General of the Department of State Service and his replacement by Lawal Musa Daura who had been retired from public service,  should have been done  by the SGF and not the head of civil service of the federation (HoS) as was the case. While the SGF ought to deal with political appointments, the HoS should normally be concerned with civil servants. The other day, he appointed governors to probe the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the questions arose: How much technical competence do these governors have to undertake such a gargantuan task? What would be the outcome of such a probe by governors who are too harried by the insolvency of their states?

Buhari needs appropriate appointees to deal decisively with these issues. Nigerians cannot afford to watch helplessly while he runs the country with permanent secretaries. In fact, the President needs to be told that the permanent secretaries, nay civil servants, are part of the problems of the country in so far as they have been weaned on the routine of government that does not guarantee productivity but rather breeds corruption.

The danger the president has unwittingly exposed himself to by his delay is that when he names his team as promised in September, there might be a suspicion that such appointees were imposed on him and that he has not chosen them based on their personal merit.

Buhari urgently needs the right people around him to effectively pilot the affairs of the nation and cannot settle on an ad hoc arrangement.  Power abhors a vacuum. The absence of the right people around him would pave the way for a situation where those with crass selfish interest, those who have always been around governments and ruined them, would now be the ones advising him.  For instance, who were the experts that articulated Nigeria’s foreign policy to Buhari as he visits the United States of America now? This is where a first-rate foreign minister would have proven very useful to the president.  Just as he has named the service chiefs and the NSA, he also needs an economic team to fight inflation in the country and calm the markets.

When Nigeria successfully pulled through the presidential election, the country and her citizens regained so much respect on the international scene.  This was because the successful election defied all expectations that the country would break up in 2015. Now, it is incumbent on Buhari to make the country work and sustain this international honour it has regained. Buhari must not lose this momentum to inertia.

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  • OkwuBndu

    Could it be that he hadn’t expected to win the presidency in the first place. Because one who had sort for the position for so long and expecting to win would have in my own opinion have what may appear as ready answers to these positions. Was one only expecting to latch into crisis in the event of another loss?

    • Okuoka Emmanuel

      He can not appoint ministers this early with irregularities of the past administration yet to be tidied or resolved, preventing future recurrences.

      We have to move positively forward. Why the sudden rush ?

      • PSALA


        • Curti Uwuigbe

          True! But if the coach is useless, what becomes of the football team??

          • PSALA


          • Sunkanmi Ajala

            I like your football team analogy. Continuing on that theme, why do many football teams suddenly start to do very well when their coaches are fired? Often, without any new additions, to the players pool! Food for thought.

  • Suruchukwu Igbogambo

    Buhari And The
    Hurting Scoffers By Peter Claver Oparah

    Only yesterday, they were men of power, prancing the
    national stage with so much haughtiness. They reveled and clowned as their
    commission lasted. They were invincible, untouchable and beyond reproach. To
    them, the rest of the country could take a jump in a lake of fire so long as
    their narrow political interests were met by the subsisting political
    dispensation of the recent bygone era. They felt so confident that nothing,
    practically nothing, could overthrow the order that bestowed so much advantage
    to them; to the detriment of the generality of long-suffering Nigerians. Their
    mantra was power; yes, power just for the advantage it offers them to maximize
    their selfish ends over and above the interests of other Nigerians. They were
    the officials of the PDP and the series of governments they ran to so shortchange
    Nigeria and Nigerians.

    Fast track to today. They, their dependents, supporters and
    enablers have become pained and hurting scoffers. They have become bitter
    critics of the government of the day. Yes, within a space of one month, such
    change of fortune that had seen the all-powerful men of yesterday turn to
    bitter and inconsolable scoffers has happened! They have become bitter and
    wounded loose cannons firing blandly at anything in sight to express their
    feeling of loss. How time flies!

    Yes, scoffing has become a favorite
    pastime for members of the once powerful PDP. Do they have a choice? I doubt if
    they do. Today, you are won’t to hear them complain that Buhari has done this
    and not done that. They beg to be heard but even when they are alone, you are
    bound to overhear them soliloquize on what Buhari has done or not done. You are
    bound to hear or read them loudly asking no one in particular why Buhari has
    not transmogrified into a magician and cleansed in a jiffy the messy Augean
    stable they turned Nigeria into in sixteen horrifying years of negative
    leadership. You will overhear them complaining loudly why Buhari has not
    wrought a miracle of turning Nigeria into an economic wonderland in one month
    just few months after they said they have turned Nigeria to one of the most
    prosperous nations on earth.

    But let’s not forget that today’s scoffers were
    the same people that scripted the sordid Leviathan they dance around today.
    Let’s not forget they were yesterday’s locusts that scripted the wreckage of
    Nigeria and its descent to the abyss where they mount their tent of infamy
    targeted at taking quick and cheap shots at their nemesis: President Muhammadu
    Buhari and his government. Let us not quickly forget that the mischievous
    scoffers were the same person that bonded together just few days ago to
    perpetuate a government that best typifies a locusts’ heaven on very ludicrous
    but self-serving reasons. They were the ones that superintended over perhaps
    the most expensive election campaign in world history, where what remained of
    our raided treasury was emptied into a divisive campaign in a desperate bid to
    perpetuate an ultra corrupt and clueless government. They were the same
    characters that lied, fabricated, went banal and sowed dangerous sectarian and
    tribal dread that nearly prodded Nigeria to war in a bid to sell a rotten
    government. The present day scoffers were the ones that migrated to the most
    rotten gutters to scoop enough debris and tar to hail at Buhari, who freely
    forged hate and dangerous messages to arrest the wind of change but failed
    woefully on March

    • olu

      What happened to the men of yesterday is what happen to those who insulate themselves (bya glass wall) against the people they govern.They always forget that power is transient and only those who used power to serve the greatest good of the generality of the people, that subsequently earn the respect of the people.. There is a lesson to learn from what behalfs these leaders by those in authority now.

  • olu

    There is no reasonable explanation for Buhari’s delay in appointing credible (technocrats) people who could help him share the burden of governance. Looking at him on a local television in the US he looked a tired man. I believed the weight of administring a complex nation (Nigeria) is having a toll on his health.



  • Sanusi Minjibir Esq

    Even though I am of the firm belief that PMB is taking his time to select the best incorruptible as his cabinet, I don’t think it should take him up to September to name his cabinet that will be dragging the appointments longer than necessary as Nigeria is a big country with so many structural deformities at the moment and I don’t think it will be a good idea for the President to keep dragging the issue. We are a talented people there are more than enough people with very good credentials to occupy PMB’s cabinet.

  • Curti Uwuigbe

    I believe even if Buhari expected to win the election, which he didn’t, he would have delayed the appointments. The reason I say this is that until you are at some level of influence, you are limited to information concerning others. Therefore, Buhari is now faced with a very difficult and tedious task of searching and finding ‘incorruptible’ qualified Nigerians for his cabinet. As you and I know, Nigeria is gone too deep into corruption, even going down to the level of our children. My hope is that even if Buhari appoints corrupt persons, he is the head of Govt. That means, as Head, he has the power to hire and fire and to enforce his anti-corruption drive on members of his cabinet. And I think this is one of the options he will have should it become impossible to appoint only incorruptible qualified persons.

  • AA

    I pity many Nigerians, especially those who actually thought/think PMB is the one we need. But I’m also glad (in a way) that GEJ left. Now we know the original President Clueless!