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Rethinking governance and politics in Nigeria since 1999

By Rikwense Muri

In the days of Chief Obasanjo as president, you will hear of great names who were randomly appointed to reform the nation. The President ensure they were experts in what they do and gave them free hands with the marching order to deliver without necessarily paying homage to him. He allow the party do the politicking and praise singing homages.

You will hear of names like Charles Soludo of CBN having the free hands in reforming the banking sector, making Nigerian Banks one of the strongest in Africa today. You will hear about the young choleric little man, Nasir Elrufai who was given free hands to reform the Federal Capital city which was looking like a set of glorified villages. Elrufai was strong and capable, in Abuja he was in charged transforming Abuja into a modern city, today it’s one of the fastest growing capital city in the world.

In the food and drug sector, you have the almighty Prof Dora, Nafdac was synonymous with Prof Dora Akunyili, she was given a free hand to reform the drug sector to position Nigeria pharmaceutical industries into world standard. You have the great Nuhu Rubadu of the EFCC who feared no one but God. Millions were recovered without any attention given to OBJ. Tafa Balogun the IGP and kinsman of Obj was was stripped of his position due to corruption. All were not perfect during OBJ but Nigerians saw a government of action, transforming the country. You have Ngozi Ikonjo Iweala setting economic target for the nation. Naira was a strong currency across borders. Gen TY Danjuma was there in the Defense, ensuring that no one dare the armed forces and the security of the country. Iron lady Obiageli Ekweseli, was in to handle education sector, private universities were given charter, all lecturers were mandated to have teaching ability and qualifications of PGDE. Also, we Don’t want to forget great name like Engr Jackson Gauis Obaseki of NNPC, etc.

The point is that ObJ concentrated in building strong institutions using the best hands from any part of the world to run the government while he allow the PDP do her party politics in the party, changing party chairmen and officials year after year. But in government OBJ used people who had no political ambition but are experts in what they can do. OBJ was not perfect but he ran a government that worked without propaganda of the opposition.

Yaradua came in but was distracted by ill health but he gave his ministers free hands and target and clear agenda to pursue and within a short time he did well in running a decent government with names like Sanusi Lamido, Dora, Abe Kachukwu, Adeshina, etc. He succeeded in the return of peace to the Niger delta. But cabal became popularized word, and could not let him run the government transparently. Death stroke, GEJ took over.

GEJ came in to “transformed Nigeria” and run a committed government, he did well in the education with Tetfund, new universities, many roads, infrastructure development. He however failed to protect Nigerians with a bad security team. However Nigerians enjoyed his government of increased salaries, better life and cheap food.

Buhari government came in with great hope from every corner of the country yet without a strong team to carry out the agenda of Mr president. He is running a weak government and weak political party. Both government and the party are not much concerned about Nigerians welfare and development. The government seems to be uncoordinated within itself. Everyone is showing himself to please the supreme leader, Buhari who himself not to be in charge of the government or the APC party. More money is being spend on the information ministry than on education. Lai Mohammed is the most popular minister who thrives in smooth words and propaganda. No inspiring name, no experts or technocrats in the government as minister, except Buhari. All we see around is politicians getting appointed into government as part of their share of contributing to the success of apc at the poll. No great minister, no inspiring CBN, NNPC, FCT, Education, Labour ministers. All we see in the government is the conglomeration of politicians with different ideologies and plans. Nothing work, nothing is invested in the lives of Nigerians. High tuition fees, high fuel, high transport, high food price, high healthcare, yet no one is doing anything except blame game on PDP. Femi Adeshina wrote this about Buhari, ” though the body of the government may be rotten, I know we have a good head, Buhari “.

In Buhari’s government the only capable person is Buhari. He’s the government, the people and everything. Believe in him means believe in good governance, whether you see or not, feel it or not. His cabinet is the funniest in the history of Nigeria with least concern on expertise. A lawyer was appointed minister of works, power and housing, a French teacher was appointed minister of Agriculture, medical doctor as minister of labor, a retire soldier as minister of petroleum, etc. Everybody is busy but nothing get done. IGP is busy, but security is compromised by herdsmen, Army are busy, but Boko Haram are smiling to the Bank with successful negotiations. Every budget got approved, not project yet on ground. The security council look like a regional meeting of brothers with two external invitees. Aso Rock cabal ensure Buhari is not briefed on the happenings in the country. They feeds him with stories on the origin of herdsmen militias from Libya and tell him to share to the world. He talk on sensitive national issues only to foreign media and not to Nigerians. One leave to wonder, “is this the Buhari we elected in 2015?” Should we keep on living this way?

The wife of the President complained, Obasanjo complained, TY Danjuma complained, Atiku Complained, Gowon complained, IBB complained, Goodluck Jonathan complained, Youths are complaining, villagers are complaining, city dwellers are complaining, Nigerians are complaining, yet no one get sacked and no one resigned.

President Buhari must rethink and restrategize to put smiles on the faces of Nigerians, especially now as the world has changed forever, through ensuring governance is separated from politics of propaganda. We are not asking for a perfect government but we are asking for a government that put the people of Nigeria first in everything.

Rikwense Muri

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