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The ministerial list and other matters

If you are a student of Nigerian politics, you will agree that we love our politicians. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. If we distrust…

If you are a student of Nigerian politics, you will agree that we love our politicians. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. If we distrust them as much as the press would want us to believe, why do we keep recycling them? It is annoying, the polls alleging that governors should not be trusted with the social security roll. Our governors know all those who need help in their states. The poor were mobilised for election, they could be compensated the same way. Just because people’s names were not on the Bluetooth distribution list of COVID-19 palliatives does not mean the governors do not know. There is a reason Nigerians dubbed it palliathief.

Our marriage to our politicians is till death do us part. Nigerian politicians never willingly relinquish political office. One party chairman hung in there as long as he could even when it was superficially possible that his resignation could have enhanced his party’s chances at the presidential polls. By the time he dropped the gauntlet, Nyesom Wike’s G-5 believed it was too late to shift grounds. 

Wike is now a ministerial nominee in the opposition party and except he suffers from spinal meningitis that would render him unable to take a bow before the legislature, he will be given a portfolio, hopefully one that fits his penchant for drama. Yes, in the same government of the party, he described as cancerous and vowed never to join or work with. You could count on it, Wike remains a man of his word. 

Nasir El-Rufai became an accidental public servant in Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration after dropping consultancy in a consortium. By ministering well, he returned to Kaduna where his people called him to serve them perhaps as a reluctant governor. As a Muslim in a religiously charged state, he broke the rules by dropping his Christian deputy halfway. He picked not just another Muslim but a female as replacement at a time when the president said he consigned women to the kitchen, the sitting room and the other room. El-Rufai broke the records and got himself and his deputy re-elected. 

In case anyone thought it was a fluke, Nasir recommended his winning formula to his party at the presidential poll. His party went ahead to ‘win’ with the same ticket. El-Rufai has now vowed to exclude Christians from the second fiddle they had gotten so used to playing at the national level. He swears the heavens won’t fall.

Nasir was so active in his party’s campaign that when nosy reporters asked him if he would return to the federal cabinet, he denied, saying he was eyeing something more prestigious – a PhD for which he had already enrolled and suspended due to the pressure of governance. For his dynamism, President Tinubu has found him indispensable and wants him back. Apparently, they both settled the question of godfatherism in Nigerian politics. Still, people exhumed a video clip in which El-Rufai believed old politicians should quit the stage for the Not Too Young To Run brigade. Not to worry, Bello el-Rufai is from that generation and he is repping his people as a legislator. 

In Naija politricks, the sky is a politician’s starting point. Abdullahi Adamu retired to the Senate after running Nasarawa State for two terms in a party now in opposition. At the legislature, he met Ahmed Lawan the man who obliterated the concept of separation of powers from the legislature by running agreements with the executive on all issues. 

Adamu must have fallen in love with that style of leadership, because he tried to make all presidential aspirants drop their ambitions for Lawan. The plot failed, but the politician switched loyalty to Tinubu, a constant in all his rallies. So much so that Salihu Lukman, a member of his executive started a campaign asking him to resign and accusing him of running the party like a sole administrator. Adamu sat glued until it became unbearable for him to continue. Rejoice not, oh Adamu’s enemies; whenever a big man falls, they always rise. 

Abdullahi Ganduje, the former governor of Kano State knows this well. He has been passed around like a priced heirloom since the return of democracy. Pairing as Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso’s deputy twice, he became the chief executive of the Ndjamena-based Chad Basin Development Authority from where he returned to politics, winning two back-to-back terms according to INEC. Not even an uncomplimentary video in which he was modelling the unlimited potential of jallabia to hide dollars stopped him in his tracks.

Ganduje lost the privilege of choosing a successor when Kwankwaso’s new party swung the polls. By his own admittance, he may have lost a few landed property and erected legacies than any ex-governor in Kano, but he is far from finished. It is obvious his party wants him to take over where Adamu left. He understands the power of experience and has visited Adamu in retirement or sabbatical. From the news emanating from that visit, he may have an ally in the ex-chairman.

For a man whose slogan was – Emi Lókàn – It is my turn, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has not hit the ground running on governance. It has taken him the statutory last day to forward his ministerial nominees to the National Assembly where his party has majority. Nothing in that list renews hope. It is an amalgam of some greenhorns and a mishmash of deadwoods. If Tinubu abides by the constitution, there would be a second or third batch as many states are yet to be represented on that list as stipulated by the constitution except Tinubu wants to run a lean bureaucracy. 

The legislature has proved loyalty by postponing their well-earned recess. As people who are likely to take possession of their tear-rubber bulletproof cars, one could imagine the excitement to take them on road test. 

There are several outspoken members of the Tinubu campaign team that are on the reserve bench. Observers think they have been dumped. Not true. The president has yet to fill the ambassadorial slots and chairpersons and members of federal boards and parastatals. Relax boys, there’s enough on the table to feed more. The president’s friends credit him with rewarding loyalty. There should be no panic on the reserve bench.

The Coup in Niger

Like a sick joke, President Bazoum of Buhari’s second home, Niger Republic, is now history. The elite presidential guard ambushed and shoved him aside, turning the clock of the pseudo-democracy in the sub-region backwards. As usual, the regional body ECOWAS, like the story of the fox and the three little pigs huffed and puffed but are handicapped from doing anything to stop them. Along with their international allies, ECOWAS leaders are now more concerned about the health and well-being of their former colleagues.

The usual threats and so-called high-powered delegations have not helped. The coupists have threatened to execute members of Bazoum’s regime except they could render account of their stewardship. Their misadventure enlarges the coasts of states back in the jackboots of the military, all of them former French colonies. While no right-thinking person condones coups, perhaps it is time to do a bit of soul-searching on why this is happening. 

 

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