Long long ago in 1979 when I was still sucking my mother’s breast, Audu Ogbeh ran for office in the Benue State House of Assembly on the Platform of the National Party Of Nigeria (NPN). He became deputy speaker of the house and he was 32 years old at that time.
In another ancient year of the gods, in 1982, Audu Ogbeh was one of the ministerial nominees that was screened by lawmakers, including the late Sola Saraki, the father of the current senate president, Bukola Saraki. He was appointed Federal Minister of Communications, and later became Minister of Steel Development. His term of office ended in December 1983 when a military coup brought Major-General Buhari to power. He was almost clocking 40 at that time.
Now In 2015, the year of the living, the same Audu Ogbeh has again been nominated as a minister. You don’t need to be an excellent mathmatician to figure out how old Audu Ogbeh is today. Some of the names on Buhari’s ministerial list won’t even know how to send a thank you message to him from their expensive smart phones. And you are making them ministers at this age and time. Are we moving forward or backward?
Much has been said about all of president Buhari’s controversial appointments, not only his ministerial nominees, but to other key positions, as well as to the unaccountable (and probably unconstitutional) personal assistance. Much of our criticism has dwelled on the contrast between the president’s “zero tolerance to corruption” campaign and the lack of proper scrutiny of the individuals on his ministerial list —but that’s not the issue.
To the contrary, Buhari did investigate thoroughly and choose precisely. When the government of a country repeatedly nominates wrong individuals, it’s not a vetting error—it’s a pattern. We should not allow the president’s sympathizers to portray these appointments as a series of errors; but rather, we need to realize that president Buhari is simply nominating those who share his goals and ideology.
Most Nigerians have a hard time understanding this because they refuse to accept that Buhari is not going to be any different from past presidents. For months prior to the last election I warned voters that everything we knew about president Buhari indicated that his views were far from the mainstream. This was obvious when one analyzed his days as a military head of state.
The reality, of course, is that the president’s views are far from the mainstream and it is embarrassing that so many Nigerians fell for his candy-coated “change” mantra. Indeed, it appears that this administration may be worse than privious administrations.
That some of the people on his ministerial list still have pending corrution case at EFCC only confirm this. Some of the nominees hail from the same crowd who have placed this country in coma for so long. They hate Nigeria, or more precisely, they hate Nigeria’s heritage; Nigerian institutions, and the Nigerian Constitution, and they are not ready to “change” a system that they have benefited from for so many decades.
Most of these nominees hail from academia, where they were shielded from outside scrutiny while they quietly looted the country. But don’t let the cloak of academia fool you; they are now back to “change” Nigeria in ways most of us oppose. More importantly, Nigerians need to realize their views are the president’s views because he chose them knowing how badly they performed in previous governments.
The Nigerian media is partly responsible for bringing this upon us. There is little doubt the media engaged in a massive propaganda effort to convince Nigerians that Buhari was some kind of moderate; a breath of fresh air, a reformer, and the messiah who would hold us in the hand and lead us right straight to eldorado.
Until Nigerians wake up and stop relying on the mainstream media for their source of news, they will continue to pay a heavy price for their ignorance. Can we sit back for a minute and ask ourselves what are president Buhari’s objectives? We can’t choose presidents before we know what they will do in office? What is the president’s mission over the next four years? And under that umbrella, what are his three or four most important objectives? We have seen too many presidents pursue too many things, or pursue the wrong things.
Nigeria is like a piece of hardware that hasn’t had any major upgrade over the last 55 years. I have heard people insinuating that Buhari is trying to compensate some of the persons on the ministerial list for their huge financial support during his election. Do you compensate someone by appointing him as minister? Are you authorizing him to recoup the money he spent getting you elected? My God, when are we going to get out of this predicament?
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.