Much Ado About A Ministerial List


The much-talked about and long awaited list of ministerial hopefuls from President Muhammadu Buhari finally arrived the offie of the President of the Senate on Wednesday, 30 September, 2015, in the evening hours. Bearing the envelop that contained the very important document were the  Presidnet’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Ita Enang.
On hand to receive the special package from the top ranking presidential aides was the chairman of the National Assembly and chief presiding officer of the upper legislative chamber, Dr. Bukola Saraki himself. The envelop was confirmed unbroken, its content secure.
Snapshots were taken to sign off the brief event. Soon after, words got out to the media announcing the accomplishment to the waiting world.
Soon after assuming office on May 29, 2015, Nigerians expected the president to name his team of cabinet members to kickstart the full operations of the his administration. But as days turned into weeks and weeks into months, quiet expectation gave way to a flurry of analysis and counter analysis, arguments and counter arguments about why and why not the president was delaying fully setting up his government. While some were quick to say that the president was simply being sluggish in his approach to the matter and many other matters, others argued that the president was only being meticulous and was taking time to weigh his options before making his decisions in order to avoid mistakes.
In fact, some others accused the number one citizen of intentions of running the government as a sole administrator and a maximum ruler. But many rose to his defence, insisting that the president needed  not be stampeded into making hasty appointments that could jeopardize his government from the word go. This group argued that the president’s lofty intentions and dogged determination to stamp out corruption and enthrone honesty, transparency and integrity in the public service in our country would be compromised if he didn’t take time to comb all the nooks and crannies of the country to search out compatriots with the right qualification and attitude for the assignment.
As the arguments raged, the president and his aides appealed for patience and understanding for him to give to Nigeria and Nigerians the best the land can offer for the huge task of not only cleaning up Nigeria but also to rewire and regenerate the system  morally, economically, socially and politically. To achieve this, they said he needed to spot those Nigerians with the requisite unimpeachable moral, professional and service records.
So, for four months, Nigerians waited as the president went about this onerous task in his own personal way, even as his own party confessed that they did not know what the president was doing as touching this subject matter. It was on his trip to the United States of America, on the invitation of President Barrack Obama that he put the time line of September, 2015 for the unveiling of his choice candidates for the job of ministers of the Federal Republic in this dispensation. He however reiterated that to effect the type of change that was necessary to move the nation out of the woods, only men and women of proven moral probity and professional competence and impeccable service records would be engaged.
However, in what some said was a betrayal of the true intents of the president, he told a television interview that though he intended to keep his earlier promised date of September to make known his ministerial appointments, he really wished that the end of the month would come much later than its time. In the said interview, the president disclosed his preference to work with career civil servants and technocrats instead of ministers who in his estimation make more noise than effective performance. Of course, as can be expected, the opposition and those who do not like the style of the president quickly turned on the heat on the president, accusing him of not only  appreciating the job of the ministers but despising the office. According to them, the president could not be trusted to respect and accord due regard to his ministers since he could not stop appointing them because of the constitutional obligation upon him to do so.
Of course, the presidential spokesmen have not relented in explaining, arranging and re-arranging the words and the spirit behind the words of their principal.
Ordinarily, one would have expected that having kept faith with the promise within the said time frame with the delivery of the list on the last day of the month, the dust raised by the deliberate delay in ministerial appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari would have started settling. But this is far from the case.
The envelope that contains the list of the proposed appointees was said to be sealed. Those who delivered the envelope did not disclose the material content of the package. The president of the senate who took delivery of the package promised not to tamper with the seal until Tuesday, October 6, 2015 when he will open it before the house in plenary. No one has reported being consulted by the president in the making up of the list. What is contained in that envelop is said to have jumped out of the heart of  the president and straight into the folded hard paper and sealed. How much of what is to be believed of what is on the pages of newspapers remain to be seen therefore. The social media is awash with various and varying versions and compositions of the names of individuals that are written in the paper of the chronicles of the ministerial nominees.
Indeed, what has generated so much interest in the composition of the president’s ministerial list is not anxiousness by Nigerians to know who and who to begin to align and re-align with for ministerial favours and patronage. This time around the interest is powered by curiosity to find out the identity  of those Nigerians who are adjudged to have the character, credibility and competence to deliver on the change the All Progressives Congress (APC), the ruling party, and the President, Muhammadu Buhari, preach – the change that Nigeria and Nigerians so desperately need to usher in national rebirth and true transformation.
Nigerians, no doubt need apostles of change, but those apostles can not inspire the confidence and zeal needed for the desired change if they are drawn from the old discredited stock and are dogged by corruption or have shadows of corruption still trailing them. A clean pair of hands is the requirement, they say, for those who must go to equity. However, for those who must be ministers of the Federal Republic in this era, a pair of washed hands would not suffice.
Nigerians would  prefer that the hands of those who must be appointed ministers in this era must be fresh. And so must their hearts as well.
This nation cannot afford to engage people who would not give a hundred percent in their commitment and focus in service delivery to the generality of Nigerians. They must be people without any political scores to settle and no corruption ghosts to exorcise or dirty linens to launder. There is so much to be redeemed already. Any further distraction in whatever name and whatever guise will cause the nation more harm than good. Let the change truly begin and be seen to have begun by the crop of ministers that emerge from the president’s long and hard search for the true and faithful agents of change for Nigeria.