Buhari’s cabinet reshuffle: Matter of impact - By: Monima Daminabo | Dailytrust

Buhari’s cabinet reshuffle: Matter of impact

President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari

A dispensation which many had feared would never happen, surprisingly came to pass when last week, President Muhamadu Buhari reshuffled his cabinet with the sack of two ministers and redeployment of two others.

Sacked from office were the Minister of Agriculture Sabo Nanono, and his counterpart in charge the Ministry of Power Saleh Mamman.

Those redeployed were Dr Mohammad Mamood Abubakar who was moved from the Ministry of Environment to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, while Engr. Abubakar Aliyu moved from the Ministry of Works where he was the Minister of State to the Ministry of Power. The cabinet reshuffle remains the first in the six years of the Buhari administration covering the first term and half of the second. And from the body language of the President, this may not be the last shakeup of his cabinet.

Reactions to the development have reflected the various shades of opinion on the performance ratings of the Buhari administration in the country’s public space, with not a few being economical with sympathy as well as pardon for the government. While some acknowledge that it was better late than never that the reshuffle came at all, others saw it as a belated venture and largely a window dressing that will have less that a discernible impact on the performance of the administration, having spent six out of its eight year stint in office, with a hardly inspiring track record.

However, in fairness to the President it needs to be noted that since his return from the last medical trip to the UK in August, he has reportedly approached matters of governance with a new missionary zeal which many Nigerians feel should have been activated much earlier. The first inkling of such was his meeting with the service chiefs also in August, and in the course of which he read the riot act to them. He had cautioned them that he was not ready to vacate office in 2023 as a failure with the country under the suffocating grip of purveyors of insecurity and tension. He hence demanded that they shape-up or be prepared to be shipped-out for non-performance. This cabinet reshuffle being the next salvo from him, therefore qualifies as an instance of Buhari baring his teeth, as a leader who can whip his team into line, if and when necessary.

Also instructive was his comment during last week inauguration of a new Board for the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), when he claimed that Nigerians will feel his impact when he leaves office in 2023.Taking this comment and the previous assertions against the backdrop of the widely acknowledged lackluster run of duty by the Presidency and the mainstream of the administration all these six years, suggests that that the President has never been keener than now, on what legacy he will leave behind on exit from office. For, in the context of in-tenure and post-tenure impact considerations, it remains incumbent on leaders to develop more than a passing interest on their legacies as in the course of time, posterity judges them according to those who bring happiness when they come into office, and others who do so, only after they leave.

Hence if President Buhari really intends to be appreciated after his tenure, it remains expedient for him to go beyond the narrow terrain of official briefings  and reach out into the real life, street level Nigeria where the reality of ‘Nigerianness’ plays out. If he so does, he will appreciate the consensus that if his intention is to establish a new momentum in governance and reverse the almost runaway denunciation of his performance in office, he needs to act beyond the mere sack of these two ministers. In any case, these and several other ministers as well as key officials of the administration had remained nothing better than couch-potatoes in office, who can be remembered more by the needless indulgences in mis-governance and impunity, as well as controversies and scandals which they generated at the expense of the administration.

From a redemptive perspective, what the administration needs now to recover a mark-up in positive rating by Nigerians, is a complete makeover of its operational philosophy taking its bearing from the very ideals that it promised Nigerians during the various campaign forays preceding both tenures in 2015 and 2019 respectively. It should not be difficult for the President to appreciate that for the same reasons that justify his fear of failure and sack of ministers, the country has been hurtling down a precipice towards a vortex of perdition, right under his watch.

For the purpose of clarification can be mentioned the now suffocating grip of insecurity unleashed on every part of the country by the cumulative enterprise of  Boko Haram insurgents, intrepid bandits and kidnappers, herdsmen killer-gangs, as well as the age-old neighbourhood criminals. The state of insecurity has in turn spawned diminishing faith in the capacity of the government to discharge its responsibility to the citizenry. The situation in the country also became further worsened by a growing spate of accusation of nepotistic tendencies against the federal government, by some sections of the country. In a world where perception can often be more potent than reality in shaping public opinion, the failure of statutory organs of public opinion engineering to initiate and launch citizen-friendly strategies, to streamline and enrich the content of the national conversation, led to the rash of separatists tendencies swirling with  unprecedented intensity and proliferation.

Beyond insecurity, is the worsening state of the economy with the country suffering two major recessions under the administration. What of the deepening syndrome of poverty in the midst of unprecedented escalation in prices of food and basic necessities?

In the final analysis, all that Nigerians are saying to the Buhari administration is that, it should at least halt the ongoing downward slide of the country, as therein lies the ultimate basis of his success or failure after term. This is more so as the administration is virtually running close to its twilight.


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