Since the assumption of office of President Muhammadu Buhari, those who wished him dead or, at least, wished that they had additional reasons to justify their portrayal of him as a “serial failure” have been busy muckraking. In their anti-Buhari obsession, they display a penchant for talking without thinking and at the end of the day, they really show who they are, not who Buhari is.
While one of the ingredients of democracy is a strong opposition the same way that conflict itself engenders progress, the way opposition to Buhari is being done leaves less to be desired so far. Nigerians expect a more robust opposition and it is high time those in opposition got their acts together and make sense rather than be always pontificating.
The appointments made by President Buhari so far have generated a lot of hoopla. Though there are legitimate concerns that the Presidency in particular and the Government at large should be kept on their toes in order to run an inclusive government, it is also important that public discourse should not be fouled by hypocrites who speak as if they had been in Mars or some other planets before Buhari assumed office.
I personally find some appointments of the President surprising given the roles that certain individuals played in his victory. I am especially expecting the role that former Governor Rotimi Amaechi, the lion heart, would play in this government. Amaechi was vilified, humiliated and got almost assassinated because of his convictions but he demonstrated unusual courage. His exclusion will be inexcusable in the end and there are other key figures that are credible enough to occupy certain positions that are yet to be given any attention.
Yet, I think we should concede certain rights to the President so that he will be able to achieve what he plans to achieve for the country. I have no doubt that President Buhari means well and that he has the integrity to do what is right. Given the fact that corruption is several forms of violence rolled into one and Buhari can be trusted as an incorruptible man, no one needs to fight dirty in calling him to order.
Attention has often been drawn to the fact that Nigeria is complex and that the trichotomisation of the country into Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba amounts to an over-simplification of a complex matter. On the appointments made so far, the brouhaha it is generating implies that more than 250 other ethnic groups in the country do not matter as long as three ethnic groups occupy the positions of authority.
It is in this respect that it is pertinent that as Nigerians have pointed out, the President is Fulani, the Vice-President is Yoruba, the Senate President is Yoruba/Ilorin, the Deputy Senate President is Igbo, the Speaker of the House is Sayawa and the Deputy Speaker is Yoruba. While the Chief Justice of Nigeria is Hausa, the Central Bank Governor is Igbo, just like the GMD of NNPC and the DG of BPP. The Head of FIRS is Yoruba; the DG of SSS is Fulani. The Chief of Defence Staff is Yoruba while the Army, Airforce and Navy are respectively headed by Barbur, Hausa and Ibiobio respectively.
The Commandant General of Customs is Hausa, that of Immigration is Gwandara and Commandant General of the NSCDC is Nupe. While the National Security Adviser is Kanuri, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation is Kilba while National Immigration Service is headed by Egon and the NCS is Fulani. The two Senior Special Assistants on the Senate and the House of Representatives are Annang and Hausa respectively.
An irrepressible critic of the President, Governor Ayo Fayose, accused his easy target that his appointments are “tinted in ethnic and tribal coloration”. But as those who live in a glass should not be throwing stones, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs in Ekiti State wrote to portray the egregious assault on common sense being perpetrated in Ekiti. According to the group, “No Governor in Ekiti State had committed more serious infractions on the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria than Governor Fayose in the issues of appointment during his first and second tours of duties in the state.”
The body then reeled out the statistics of unbelievable lopsidedness in Governor Fayose’s appointments, including how he “appointed his own son as his Personal Assistant to bring the total number of people appointed from Afao-Ekiti alone, his home town to five when most big towns in the State are still yawning for one.” But Fayose can do all that he likes since no one seems ready to give him any attention and the Yoruba say we laugh off what is beyond weeping.
Even the declaration of assets in tandem with President Buhari's campaign promises still generates its own attacks. While some aver that there are shares that the President did not declare, others wail that he should have declared his liabilities and wife’s assets too. As far as elder statesman Alhaji Tanko Yakassai is concerned, for example, “Yar’Adua declared his own assets and that of his wife, but Buhari did not do so; so the whole idea is to confirm probity.”
I am sure if Buhari declares the assets of his wife, attention will shift to the assets of his children, later his grand children. I think the brouhaha on Buhari is premature until the list of his ministers is made public and we see the big picture then. Anything before then will be market noise, especially given our immediate past when we were inflicted with a band of kleptomaniac, corrupt, divisive and morally depraved national leaders.
INSPIRATION FROM JOBS AND ANGELOU
In the open market of opinions, there is the tendency to get confused. This is where Steve Jobs’ words come in. He said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
And on courage, Maya Angelou has this to say: “Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”