Ministerial List: What is Delaying the President?

President Muhammadu Buhari,


By Eddy odivwri

Didn’t I tell you the other day that this President is not about changing his style?

How do you mean? What style are you talking about?

His style of governance remains largely the same. Rien change, as the French would say. This is the 44th day since he resumed his second term administration. Yet, he has not made up his mind on his cabinet. Nigerians are waiting. The economy is waiting. Government machinery is at slow run pace, all because the president’s cabinet is not yet constituted. That is why Nigerians are asking what is delaying the list.

Well, the concern is legitimate, but only to those who do not understand how governments work. Those familar with the dynamics of governance understand that it is a careful process which tries to accommodate all persuasions, interests and even political idiosyncrasies. Don’t forget Nigeria is a complex nation.

Don’t mystify an otherwise simple process. Did Nigeria suddenly become complex with the Buhari administration? Was it not the same entity and interest groups in the days of Obasanjo, Yar’Adua etc., who named their ministers within two or so weeks of assuming leadership?

Why is Buhari’s own so different and prolonged?

This was how he wasted six months in 2015 before naming his cabinet only for him to parade a nearly recycled set of people.

This is a different dispensation. Mr President won’t spend six months this time. Don’t forget he just made some eleven appointments last week. He is taking them in phases.

Phases? Is this a project? Pray, was it not said that when Mr President went to London in April , for a private visit, that he was putting together his team?

This is almost three months after and we still have not heard anything.

You can’t be faster than your shadow. Do you realize the National Assembly had been on holiday? That they just resumed barely two weeks?

Look, don’t search for irrelevant excuses. The National Assembly has resumed long enough for them to screen the nominees. Do you know the Senate has urged the president to turn in the ministerial list now? They have resorted to begging him to send the list? Should the senate remind Mr President of his constitutional duty?

You can be sure that you will soon hear of the component of the cabinet. You know he does take his time. He is like a heavy duty truck. It takes time to get activated and as soon as it is fully charged, he runs and roars with turbo speed.

Did you say turbo speed? That is not associated with this president. Is it for nothing he is called Baba Go-Slow?

Look, the nation is waiting. Because of his delay, many state governments too, have not been able to constitute their own cabinets. And this has many telling consequences.

For example, the quest for budgetary circle of January to December will be unachievable if the ministers do not resume about now. The senate has said for the January to December circle to be achieved, budgets drafts must reach the national assembly latest September of every year. September is just few weeks away.

You know some of the past ministers were not pulling their weight enough and it impacted negatively on the overall performance index of the last four years. That is why care must be taken to select people who, this time, would be firing from all cylinders.

That’s only a wish. There is no guaranty that Mr President would not even re-appoint almost all the last set of ministers. Was it not surprising that for four years, he did not shuffle his cabinet at all, despite the loud complaints of the dismal performance of some of them? With Mr President, anything can happen, just like Charly Boy show.

Are you saying the president is as rowdy as Charly Boy, the Area Father?

You said so, not me.

Look, we don’t need to be arguing over this matter. Let it be that our collective interest is in getting this country to work again, wherein all and sundry will feel the impact of governance.

I agree with you, but you must realise that time is money. Foreign investors are watching to see the character of the cabinet—whether it will be peopled by banal politicians or technocrats that can effectively drive the policies of government.

And until this is ascertained, the economy will be grinding very slowly. We had thought all relevant lessons had been learnt from the last term. But I’m afraid nothing seems to have been learnt or forgotten. From the way it is going, the cabinet won’t be in place any time earlier than August.

That will not happen. The screening and clearance by the senate will not be problematic. Both the executive and the legislature are now on the same page. There are no more wolves in sheep’s clothing within the National assembly leadership. So you can be sure that soon as the train of governance moves, it will be a smooth and uninterrupted ride.

Let us join hands to work for a greater country. But unless the blacksmith hits the iron when it is red hot, he will not achieve the desired shape. A word is enough for the wise.