" />
Published On: Wed, Dec 21st, 2016

Hallmarknews Backpage

On November 8, 2016 Americans elected Donald Trump as their 45th president.  By the time you’re reading this, Mr. Trump would have named all his nominees for leadership of various government departments. The president-elect, who will be inaugurated on January 20, 2017, has not only unveiled the lineup of his cabinet, he has also specified each nominee’s portfolio. In addition, since his improbable election, Mr. Trump has laid out some of his top policy priorities.

In effect, with more than a month to go to his formal investiture, the president-elect has placed himself smack in the middle of Americans’ conversations about vexed issues, from job creation to immigration. For example, he proposes to use a cocktail of tax cuts and deregulation to, he hopes, revamp domestic investment and boost job creation. Whether one agrees with his policy is one question. For me, what’s more pertinent is this: that we have a guy who has a particular vision about the direction his country ought to be going, and he’s playing his policy card in an open manner.

Yes, students of Mr. Trump’s political emergence and evolution may still marvel at his defiance of all kinds of odds, but the president-elect is not, at core, a mystery. His cabinet picks—studded with millionaires and billionaires with well-known, often controversial, positions—as well as his policy pronouncements are a measure of the Trumpian era to come, indeed a compass of the direction of Mr. Trump’s statecraft.

Yet, when Trump, a real estate businessman and showman, first announced his bid for the US Presidency, some of America’s most respected pundits had waved him off. They saw him as a long shot, in fact as a man who’d carried an absurd personal grudge—his evidence-free contention that President Barack Obama was an unqualified alien in the White House—into the public arena.

But enough about Mr. Trump, for my focus is on President Muhammadu Buhari, his relation to time and his apparent conception of leadership.

In June 2015, approximately one month after Mr. Buhari’s inauguration, I wrote a piece that bore the title, “Buhari’s Disappearing Presidency”. The opening line read: “President Muhammadu Buhari is dangerously close to leaving Nigerians disillusioned. Forget about his failure (as at this writing) to announce his cabinet, bad as it is. For me, the deeper disappointment lies in the near-absence of the president’s voice from the national conversation.”

I continued: “Let’s begin, however, with the least important element of Mr. Buhari’s so far lack-lustre Presidency. It’s approximately three months since Nigerians voted for Mr. Buhari, on his fourth try, to be their president. By any objective measure, three months is more than enough time for a man who sought power with a certain persistence to figure out his cabinet.

READ  Get Shekau dead or alive, Chief of Army Staff orders soldiers

…closing in on the second anniversary of his rule, Nigerians have seen few “careful and deliberate decisions,” but a miasma of disastrous decisions. Like the president, most ministers seem to have adopted the posture that silence is a virtue. Think about it: when was the last time you heard a substantive policy statement from any of the ministers Mr. Buhari squandered six months to name?

“The president’s explanation for his tardiness in unveiling a cabinet is two-fold. One is that his predecessor, President Goodluck Jonathan, had been less than fully cooperative with his transition team. The second: that he wants a thorough background check done on potential ministers to save himself the chore of firing ministers shortly after nominating them.”

I wrote further:

“Leadership involves a measure of deliberation, prudence and pragmatism. Yet, even when we allow for Mr. Buhari’s official explanation, the grand scale of public expectation, and the intractability of intra-party squabbles, one insists that the president’s snail pace is troubling. It has left some of his most fervent fans scratching their heads, scrambling for answers…

“That Mr. Buhari, a serial seeker of the Nigerian presidency, has squandered three months since his election, a month since his inauguration, without naming his cabinet, points, quite simply, to a level of unpreparedness. And if our brand new president is unprepared in personnel matters, how is he to tackle the weightier issues of unemployment, infrastructural dilapidation, terrorism, a shambolic healthcare system, educational crisis, and electric power woes?”

Finally, on the last day of September 2015, Mr. Buhari released the first batch of his ministerial nominees. In October 2015, I wrote a column captioned, “Buhari And The Enemy Called Time”. I stated, “Last week, when he finally unveiled a partial list of his proposed cabinet, President Muhammadu Buhari also revealed—even if inadvertently—that one of his biggest enemies bears the name ‘Time.’” In an Independence Day broadcast to Nigerians, Mr. Buhari defended the inordinate length of time it took him to unveil his ministerial nominees.

His government, he said, “sets out to do things methodically and properly.”

It was sheer nonsense, a rhetorical bandage meant to mask a simple, deep-rooted disease: absence of preparation for the challenge of leadership. As one well suspected, Mr. Buhari’s indefensible tardiness was a symptom of a broader crisis: an inability to articulate a vision for Nigeria. The obsession with blaming his government’s inertia on the tragic choices made by former President Goodluck Jonathan is no substitute for thoughtful governance.

In that October, 2015 speech, a pedantic President Buhari had told Nigerians: “Impatience is not a virtue. Order is more vital than speed. Careful and deliberate decisions after consultations get far better results. And better results for our country is what the APC government for Change is all about.”

READ  Zamfara killings : IGP vows to prosecute perpetrators

It’s a scandal that Mr. Buhari has not seen fit to rusticate the sports minister. Instead, Mr. Dalung—who should have remained silent instead of voicing folly—has survived to declare to reporters that his statement was taken out of context. Which assertion is fine enough, one imagines, for an administration that has no context for excellence, vision and seriousness.

 

Meanwhile, closing in on the second anniversary of his rule, Nigerians have seen few “careful and deliberate decisions,” but a miasma of disastrous decisions. Like the president, most ministers seem to have adopted the posture that silence is a virtue. Think about it: when was the last time you heard a substantive policy statement from any of the ministers Mr. Buhari squandered six months to name?

Sometimes, on the rare occasion when the ministers or other senior officials of this government speak, one is left cold, cringing in embarrassment. Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, has emerged as one of the most notorious offenders.

Nigerians won’t soon forget how the Buhari administration let down the Nigerian contingent to the Rio Olympics. The contingent’s gear did not arrive until the games were more than halfway through. Our dispirited football players, the cream of our contingent, had to fall back on the philanthropy of a Japanese doctor who recognised and rewarded their gallantry. In many other countries, the sports minister would have resigned or being drummed out of his post. But not in Nigeria: where presidents hold their cabinet to the lowest possible expectations.

Having survived the Rio fiasco, Mr. Dalung felt entitled to commit grander faux pas. Nigeria’s female football team, the Falcons, recently won the African Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) in Cameroon. The victors deserved to be feted, paid their financial entitlement, and treated like the heroines they are. Instead, they were largely ignored, until they began to bicker.

 

How did Mr. Dalung explain his ministry’s delinquency? He told reporters that the Federal Government had not expected the Super Falcons to win! It was as if, by working hard, playing their hearts out, and earning a continental trophy, our women had betrayed their country, acted in a most unNigerian manner. Mr. Dalung’s Nigeria is one where we wobble and fumble and pray our way into mediocrity.

It’s a scandal that Mr. Buhari has not seen fit to rusticate the sports minister. Instead, Mr. Dalung—who should have remained silent instead of voicing folly—has survived to declare to reporters that his statement was taken out of context. Which assertion is fine enough, one imagines, for an administration that has no context for excellence, vision and seriousness

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Most Shared

Recent posts

  • War has been provoked between Yoruba and Fulani- OODUA Redemption Alliance declares

    War has been provoked between Yoruba and Fulani- OODUA Redemption Alliance declares OBINNA EZUGWU At the end of its security summit held in Ibadan on Thursday, the OODUA Redemption Alliance resolved to end what it called gradual incursion into Yoruba land by herdsmen who they accused of continuing the Jihad of Usman Danfodio. The group […]

  • It would be utterly irrational for Nigerians to vote for Buhari again- Junaid Mohammed

    Second Republic lawmaker, Dr Junaid Mohammed has noted that President Muhammadu Buhari has performed poorly in office and it would be irrational for Nigerians to vote for him in 2019. Dr Mohammed who made the assertion in an interview with Vanguard on Saturday, also criticized Buhari for being a poor reader who according to him, […]

  • Bayelsa tour: Obasanjo lays foundation for refinery

    Former President Olusegun Obasanjo continued his visit to Bayelsa State after inaugurating some projects of the state government on Friday. The former president continued his tour of the state on Saturday with the laying of the foundation for the establishment of Azikel Refinery. The refinery is owned by Dr Eruani Godbless, a prominent businessman and […]

  • Quite notice, hate speeches and President Buhari’s Northenisation/Islamisation agenda by Professor Ben Nwabueze

    Quite notice, hate speeches and President Buhari’s Northenisation/Islamisation agenda by Professor Ben Nwabueze NATURE OF HATE SPEECHES In the aftermath of the divisions in the country caused by President Buhari’s Northernisation/Islamisation Agenda, as manifested in his lopsided strategic appointments that unfairly favour the North as against the South, and the complete exclusion of the South-East […]

  • Chief Adeniyi to Tinubu: Withdraw your support for Buhari or risk losing influence in Yoruba land

    OBINNA EZUGWU Veteran columnist and elder statesman, Chief Adetola Adeniyi has warned former Lagos governor, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu against supporting President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term bid, as according to him, such could mark the beginning of the end of his influence in Yoruba land. Chief Adeniyi who led the Global Intelligentsia for Buhari, a […]

  • Killings: Buhari condemns action, sends Defence Minister to Zamfara

    President Muhammadu Buhari has strongly condemned Thursday’s massacre of innocent persons in Birane village, Zurmi Local Government Area of Zamfara State. The President stated this in a statement issued on Friday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, following the death of at least 18 persons as a result of […]

  • Obasanjo visits Jonathan at Bayelsa residence

    Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Friday visited former President Goodluck Jonathan at his home in Bayelsa State. Dr Jonathan welcomed the elder statesman who was in his home for a private dinner, in company with his wife, Patience. Earlier before the visit, former President Obasanjo inaugurated a government specialist hospital in the state and unveiled […]

  • NNPC dispatches 29.058m litres of PMS to 13 states

    The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said it supplied a total of 29.058 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly known as petrol to thirteen Northern states in three days. In its report on daily dispatch to filling stations made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday, it named […]

  • Lagos will bring about world class childhood disability intervention-Joyce Onofowokan

    An area in which different levels of governments in Nigeria have remained loudly silent and painfully indifferent is childhood disability. Children with disabilities and their parents have over the years ridden on waves of disillusion, despair, and decay. They constitute a tribe of the silent minority that the society has conveniently allowed to disappear into […]

  • Ports now more efficient with FG’s reform – Izuwah

    The Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) has said that Nigerian ports were now witnessing more efficiency following the reforms of the Fedearl Government. Mr Chidi Izuwah, Acting Director-General of the commission said this during an inspection tour of facilities of the Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) in Rivers state. The acting DG said that the policy […]

  • Power: Nigeria gets $486m W/Bank credit

    World Bank has approved a 486 million dollars credit facility to Nigeria for electricity grid improvements, the lender said on Friday. “The investments under the Nigeria Electricity Transmission Project will increase the power transfer capacity of the transmission network and enable distribution companies to supply consumers with additional power,” the World Bank said. Nigeria’s  power […]

  • Army places N3m bounty on Boko Haram leader

    The Nigerian Army has announced a cash reward of N3million for information on Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau. “The Nigerian Army will give out Three Million Naira (N3,000,000.00) cash reward for any credible information that leads to the arrest of Abubakar Shekau, the fugitive factional Boko Haram terrorists’ group leader,” a statement by the Director, […]

  • Ethiopian Prime Minister Desalegn resigns

    Hailemariam Desalegn, A day after President Jacob Zuma resigned as South African President, Ethio­pian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, Thursday announced his resignation in a televised broadcast amid political turmoil in Africa’s fastest-growing economy. The announcement came just after the government released hundreds of political prisoners, including some of the most prominent opposition members in the country, […]

  • FRSC officials donate blood to accident victims in Osun

    The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Officers, Ilesa Unit, has donated blood to improve health delivery schemes as well as to save accident victims. Speaking at the occasion, Mr Samuel Oyedeji, the Ilesa Unit Commander Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) said on Wednesday, that the blood donation programme was organised to mark 30th Anniversary of […]

  • Zuma’s exit ushers in new South African President

    South Africa prepared to welcome wealthy former businessman Cyril Ramaphosa as its new president Thursday after scandal-tainted Jacob Zuma resigned under intense pressure from his own party. Zuma announced he had stepped down in a late-night television address in which he took some digs at the African National Congress (ANC) party that had threatened to […]

  • Zuma resigns

    Jacob Zuma has finally bowed to pressure and stepped down from office as South African President The embattled president made the announcement in a broadcast to the nation on Wednesday evening, noting that he has stepped down “with immediate effect.” Zuma has been under pressure to step aside following allegations of corruption. On Tuesday, he […]