Buhari’s fragmented chums
BY IKE ABONYI
I would love to open our conversation today drawing attention to two signposts I saw in an office in Istanbul, Turkey when yours sincerely visited the country with some other Nigerian journalists in 2012.
The stickers stressed the huge gains of teamwork, one said that “Team work makes the dream work” and the other said team, is an acronym for “Together Everyone Achieves More”.
An American author Brian Tracy summed it even better when he said that “Teamwork is so important that it is virtually impossible for you to reach the heights of your capabilities or make the money that you want without becoming very good at it.” All concerned political watchers of events in the country would acquiesce to the fact that there are some worrisome signs in President Muhammadu Buhari’s 22-month old administration.
A symptom that put some question marks on his leadership qualities and his team leader abilities that should help him realise his dreams and aspirations. When Nigerian electorate decided to throw away former President Goodluck Jonathan for Buhari, the main driving motive was to get a strong ruthless leader who would make things happen as commander in chief of the giant of Africa.
Not a few were in agreement that Jonathan was weak and clueless for the huge challenge on ground. Twenty-two months hence the same Nigerians appear to be interrogating themselves if this is what they bargained for in throwing away Jonathan and the PDP? After the initial “gragra” showing (pardon the Nigerian language), the macho leader whose mere body language we all thought was enough to make things happen, the real Buhari is emerging, the tough man outside and inside at the mercy of cronies.
Since the quality and success of every team depends on the quality and capacity of the coach to harness and cement a solid team, President Buhari remains liable for all the lapses.
The presidential system did not leave anybody in doubt where the bulk stops and this our President knows. Clearly President Buhari’s Presidency has not shown that the team is well harnessed for the challenges ahead of it.
The cause could be poor tool or wrong deployment of the tools but either way the signs are not palatable at all.Indicators from the nation’s highest political leadership clearly show some deficiencies in team work and under such circumstance it would be difficult for President Buhari to realise his dream.Curious Nigerians are even wondering if this is the man they voted for or is he caught up by age or overwhelmed by situations? But political analysts would argue that what we are seeing is undoubtedly a classic Buhari, what is lacking is the absence of an Idiagbon to drive the operation while he presides over the glory.
The same school of thought says that even if the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo has more than all it takes except height to fit into Idiagbon’s shoes, he is obviously not qualified based on some political engineering that placed him in another camp within their party that makes trust difficult.
The other people who would have gained the respect and trust to play an Idiagbon effectively lacked either the legitimacy or the cooperation of others within the house.
The obvious prefect in the house who should have been the de facto man, Mamman Daura has no official role, he is only a backgrounder. There is no portfolio recognised conventionally or otherwise as cousin of the President.
The First Lady is also not known to the law and therefore depended on the mercy of others including the prefect for her to effectively man ‘the other room’. The controversial Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, who had positioned himself from day one to be the driver of Buhari’s political family even as a state governor has already become frustrated by the apparent non-recognition from those around the President.
He recently decided to pour out his frustration in a memo before running to school ostensibly to acquire more knowledge on how to go about 2019. What el- Rufai did in a memo is just an intellectual, but more brutal, style of Aisha Buhari’s protest last year about hijacking of her husband’s presidency.
When the First Lady fired the first salvo about what was going on in the power house, rather than address it seriously, the President trivialised it with the now famous other room story.
Since an unresolved problem remains, the house continues to boil and the spill over heat could affect anybody around. Ibrahim Magu, the EFCC acting chairman whose camp is losing out in the in-fighting, became the most pronounced victim.
Even as his performance at the floor of the Senate leaves much to be desired, but truth remains that oratory ought not to be a necessary requirement for a thief catcher. Rather what he requires is the ingenuity to match the trick of Nigeria public looters and the raw courage to risk the desperation that accompanies it.
All looters of public wealth who have passed through the EFCC lately can attest to the fact that Magu is not deficient in this area. But he became a victim of a Presidency whose kitchen cabinet is in disarray. Everybody has been looking at the Senate and the DSS for blame but that is begging the answer.
The entire blame goes to the President who is presiding over a team that has no common dream, unlike the signpost in Istanbul, together such team cannot achieve more.
The most dignifying thing to do if the President is still in charge of his Presidency is to come forward and render apology to Nigerians for the mess and the accompanying embarrassment and proceed from there to flush the house of the flirt. With that he would have restored the confidence of the populace in his Presidency. Re-nominating Magu for the third time without clearing this mess would end up exposing further lapses in this administration. But the question is, why must it be Magu again?
The recent incident where the National Security Adviser (NSA) issued a travel ban on unauthorized commercial helicopters on Abuja airspace based on security reasons and was immediately reversed by the Minister of State for Aviation is no good omen if this Presidency is one. Another trending incident of a divided administration is the embarrassing diplomatic gaffe due to poor communication between the Presidential Adviser on Diaspora and Minister of Foreign Affairs over US travel ban.
Not even in sports is the mess prevented as the Minister of Sports and President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) backed different candidates in the just-concluded CAF Presidency election. Even the on-going unnecessary tango between the Senate and the Comptroller- General of Customs is a measure of the poor discipline in the administration headed by a supposed disciplinarian. Retired Col Hameed Ali’s obvious arrogance and self-absorbing over uniform derives from the overall attitude of Buhari’s henchmen.
Why shouldn’t the Executive through the minister that he reports to not make him wear uniform even before the Senate came into it. But we are aware how powerful the CG is because of his age-long closeness to the President, but should it be so? If President’s men are this arrogant and narcissistic, what do you expect of the entire regime.
These are worrisome signs especially when we recall that it took this President 12 years searching for this position and when it came it took him seven months searching for eggheads to man positions. Barely two years after, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other critical agencies are still operating without board. Similarly, 33 states out of 36 are without Resident Electoral Commissioners (REC).
These signs are depressing and upsetting. It gets even compounded knowing the fact that the President is not physically sound because of health challenge.
The hard truth for the President is to agree that the men he has in his inner kitchen are split, uncoordinated and obviously not committed enough to prepare a desirous delightful delicacy for hungry Nigerian populace who are already yelping and anxiously looking forward to quick solutions. God help us.