BUHARI'S ERRAND OF BRIDGE BREAKING APPOINTMENTS
The recent appointments made by president Mohammadu Buhari has come at a time most Nigerians expected a balance in the hitherto lopsided scale of predominant Northern elites into key positions.
The recent appointment of SGF, COS, others has given the North-West 13 appointments translating to 43%, the North-east six appointees, coming second on the scale with 20%. South-south has 5 appointees, ranking them third on the scale, the North-central is fourth with three appointees, summing up to 10. Finally the South-south has nothing.
The angst is already simmering. Already the president is giving skeptics opportunity to record victory in their negative assertion against Buhari as a 'religious bigot and ethnic champion'. Already people are beginning to call him a 'Northern' president.
Nigerians may recall that Joshua Dogonyaro while reading the speech heralding the Ibrahim B. Babangida junta against Buhari, it was stated in the speech that Buhari and a select few ruled the then Supreme Military Council.
As students of history, it appears we are about to witness a dejavu of the military government of Buhari. Agreed that the federal character has never helped in curbing corruption but it has helped in managing the multiplicity issue.
Once again, some Nigerians may want to cite some lopsided appointments witnessed in Olusegun Obasanjo, Umar Yar'Adua and Goodluck Jonathan administration as a 'normal' occurrence. The ongoing lopsidedness is way too much. The change Nigerians however seek is expected to correct the past skewed nature of appointments.
In fairness to the president and regardless of the negative religious/tribal sentiments established before he won election, the man is doing his best to reposition the country. It is however necessary for him to apply caution if he must avoid political landmines.
It is therefore instructive to note that traps are being set for Buhari to come short of general expectations. It is also important to note that elections have come and gone, the battle to elect 'change' is won but the war to keep Nigeria socially, politically and economically alive is evolving.
Those helping the respected president in his appointments must understand that once Buhari is allowed to fail in managing the looming angst in his appointments, possibilities of losing most of his goodwill is certain.
Once Buhari is down on his luck as a revered, feared president, then an average Nigerian will lose hope for a better president. The system will crash and a sad relapse into the old systemic rot will be witnessed..
In this present appointment malaise, the political party Buhari is operating is another accident waiting to happen. With a conglomeration of political interests from a merger of Action Congress (AC), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Labour Party (LP) and the new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP), the party leadership is already waiting for a return on their 'investment' at the poll that brought the president to power.
It is therefore instructive for Buhari to avoid constructing a demarcation between him and his political party in taking unilateral decisions especially on political appointments. Regardless of his zeal to kill corruption, he must first manage those with antidotes against 'corruption killers'.
It is indeed clear the All Progressive Congress (APC) may not hold strong as a ruling party on account of the intense heat the ongoing appointment and self-centered actions of elites is having on its foundation.
It must however be borne in mind that Buhari is attempting to act stealthily to avoid influence from corrupt party leaders. Regardless of his fears, he must consider balance in his appointments while taking note of contributions even from those neck deep in years of corrupt practices – he must allow himself to be seen carrying all along.
Already some are mortally bruised as Buhari continues to dash their hopes every time appointments are made. The disaffection will continue with collateral damages on the fragmented elites and the foundation of the party itself once money and power, which brought them together is removed from the equation.
It is therefore instructive to note that the party formed by a marriage of necessity is not only precarious to manage under normal circumstance but indeed volatile to ignore now that proboscis are set to feed from the spoils of elections. A balance must be struck.
Yes Buhari deserves to be commended for not carrying along the past governors identified as treasury looters regardless of how they helped him at the polls. It is also very necessary to apply caution, consider the entire nation once it comes to appointments.
Some Nigerians who have made up their minds to bleat after whatever decision Buhari takes may not agree with this analysis but one thing we must know is that it amounts to corruption once appointments are skewed in the present geographical configuration of Nigeria.
It is also important to note that once goodwill starts to drain from Buhari's fountain of trust, his ship of integrity is already heading towards rocky waters. Just a hundred days and the nuzzles are blazing from all flanks at the incumbent. It is indeed too early for the noise but not too early to amend.
Written by Ayegba Israel Ebije.