The Boss is Back! Richard Anyebe



When on July 5, 2019 the Presidency announced the reappointment of Mr. Boss Mustapha as Secretary to the Government of the Federation, it was clear to all that, indeed, he is a man for his times. After all, is it not said that the reward for hard work is more work? For those who have given close scrutiny to the cohesion in the federal bureaucracy, then one cannot but commend President Muhammadu Buhari for rewarding excellence and endorsing continuity in the realization of the overall objective of the Next Level Agenda.

It is one of the appointments which have proved President Muhammadu Buhari to be his own man and dispelled insinuations of a cabal governing Nigeria through a remote control. If President Buhari was not focused on his vision for the country and the kind of people he would like to work with to realize that vision, there are some appointments he probably wouldn’t have made. And Boss Mustapha may just be one of those, considering what his adversaries had wished.

But President Buhari seemed to have made an emphatic statement to all in his party that Boss Mustapha is a part of the Next Level agenda of his administration. And it is  worthy of commendation that the president has a clarity as to what he intends to deliver in the next four years and retaining the SGF is a key indication of the stability and direction he craves.

With an agenda to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next few years, Mr. Mustapha is expected to bring to bear his vast experience and organizational skill towards this noble goal.

If there was anything that can be said about the SGF, it would certainly not be that he was incompetent. For no unskillful administrator could have achieved as much as he did in just about two years he worked as SGF during the President’s first term. And if there were a few things that stood out about him, one of it would be how easy it is for him to mobilize and get people behind him.

And only a man so clear in his head, dogged in spirit and charismatic in personality could wield such influence over people. These are the qualities that has transformed the office of the SGF into one of the most dynamic institutions of the Government under President Buhari.

As a stickler for details and organization, Mr. Mustapha brought his personality to bear on the office and it enabled the SGF office create policy harmony among   Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government which promoted an integrated government where one is part of the other.

These are the qualities that must have endeared him to the President, and for which he had been invited again to be one of the vehicles to the Next Level. Considering who he is, it is a responsibility he would take seriously. He cannot afford to disappoint the president and his country. President Buhari’s second term, I’m sure this is obvious, is a tenure that must have little margin of error. The country is racing against time and crying for prosperity, and it is not a time to wink at or jeer detractors. It is a time to roll the sleeves, fold the trouser and take the plough.   

It may be tempting to look back at tales by political rivals intent on bringing him down, and snap at them. Like those who spewed tales such as “he is anti-APC, he worked against our party, he is anti-president’ and other such hogwash in the social media and even traditional media space. No one knowledgeable about events pre-election would believe any such crap.

The SGF could also rightly feel indignation at suggestions that the he had ‘dared’ to work against the interest of his principal on some issues for his own personal advancement. But instead he should commend the president for staying above the fray of petty politicking. It is a hallmark of a serious and responsible leadership that the President did not allow side talks or insinuations to influence his judgment.

There is no doubt that as Buhari’s second tenure unfolds, one of the offices whose performance would be in focus would be the SGF. This is not just because the office is a clearing house for government policies, but also due to how relevant and visible the office had become under Mr. Mustapha. Admirers and detractors alike would keep their eyes trained on what comes from the man whose first name connotes respect.

This would be so because Mr. Mustapha wears double cap as SGF. He is not just the government’s administrative manager; he is also a politician who would be expected to continue to steady the ship in many other critical areas of the polity as he has done in the last two years.  Mr. Mustapha would serve his principal well if he’s able to balance the two caps and help the President make his second term a glorious tenure.

What is certain is that Mr. Mustapha has remained self-effacing, focused and dedicated to assisting the president realize his Next Level Agenda which will see millions of Nigerians coming to terms with true service.

To understand the person of the SGF who was reappointed on July 5 but with effective date of May 29, one only has to hear him.

“I give gratitude to God and President Muhammadu Buhari for finding me worthy of this appointment I won’t claimed that am most qualified or knowledgeable to lay claim to the office of SGF,” he said recently.

“I didn’t come to this office with any special skills, but I came to this office with one qualification that is the favour of God upon my life. A citizen of Adamawa state for some reasons was relieved of the office and the president still came back to the state to pick another SGF is unprecedented and worthy of appreciation. That in itself is a great favour to our people, it has never happened in the history of this country.

“I will continue to do my very best and sacrifice my all to ensure that the president succeeds and accomplishes all his administration’s policies, programmes and plans for the country and justify the confidence reposed on him by Nigerians.”

To appreciate the Mustapha matrix, one has to come to terms with his rich pedigree and why he remains the SGF of choice. Boss Mustapha was appointed to the SGF position with an intimidating credential and vast experience not only in the public service but in the private sector as well. A seasoned and experienced administrator, lawyer, astute politician, businessman and a management consultant who has demonstrated that human capacity building and service are the fulcrum of building society.

If anything, the SGF ought to see this as another opportunity to correct any lapses in his first service, strengthen institutional framework and serve as the guide that he has being to the incoming cabinet to achieve their optimum best. One is however not in doubt as to his ability in this regard.  It is on this note that one agrees with a chieftain and one of the South-South leaders of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Tare Amatare, that Boss Mustapha is a “pan Nigerian who always believes and places the interest of Nigeria first in the course of discharging his duties to fatherland and above all, a great patriots who believes in the unity, peace and progress of Nigeria.”

Indeed, the Boss is back and unto greater Next Level achievements!