Columns

Do we still need ministers?

By Mazi Nnamdi Nwigwe

There is a new Muhammadu Buhari from the pulsating days of  General Muhammadu Buhari and Major-General ‘Tunde Idiagbon of some three decades ago.
As Nigerians were preparing to round off their Christmas festivities of 1983 by December 31, and gleefully looking forward to January 1, 1984, the two Generals foisted themselves onto Nigeria’s political scene by toppling  President Shehu Shagari’s government.
General Buhari was the Military Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria while Idiagbon was his Deputy in his capacity as Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters.
Deposed President Shagari was placed under House arrest while his Deputy, Architect, Barrister Alex Ekwueme,PhD, was locked up in detention.
Military regime was back again to Nigeria after a mere four years of civilian dispensation.
Before Shagari was sworn into office on October 1, 1979, Nigeria had been ruled by the military for 13 years (from January 15,  1966 to October 1, 1979.) Buhari and Idiagbon came with a mission which was to halt corruption and restore discipline in the polity.
Indeed the unsmiling duo made a huge success of it.
Those who were not yet born by then and perhaps those who  were just infants, will not comprehend what our beloved country was like in those halcyon days, especially the first 30 days!
Pity, apologies are being made today for a new Buhari’s first 100 days in office in  which he appears to be undecided as to what to do including the appointment of ministers to help him in the administration of Africa’s most populous nation!
Many otherwise serious-minded Nigerians have tried to explain away why Buhari should be allowed to take his time to select his team of Ministers, nearly four months of his coming into office as a civilian President. Meanwhile the President has been holding top-level meetings and agreeing policies with Permanent Secretaries who now address the media like politicians. How can these men and women take orders from Ministers?
In any case, in the eye of our public affairs analysts, since government is doing fine and stolen billions are tumbling back into the treasury even without Ministers, can’t we dispense altogether with this extra load? Can you imagine how much has been saved in four months that salaries and allowances have not been paid to Ministers and their aides? Why don’t we continue in that wise and extend the experiment to the States? Who knows, we might be creating a new form of government which other countries could copy. We can give it a name, say, BUHARIOCRACY – government of the people, for the people and by one honest man!
Billions of Naira that would have gone to superfluous Ministers and their undesirable attachments, as well as millions more on allowances for frivolous travels, injected into the economy, will land us at El Dorado in no time.
The September deadline for the announcement of ministerial nominees can be further shifted for another four months to enable us to watch more the experiment.
More so as the head of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, who should be receiving the list from the President, has just been informed of alleged errors in the asset declaration forms he filled out in 2003,  is busy with the catspaws of this world.
Will Buhari like to submit his list to Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy Senate President and PDP Senator should Saraki take time off to look into records of his belongings 12 years ago when he was Governor of his State, Kwara?
Tinubu should not hear that!

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