Since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office on May 29, Nigerians have been yearning to know the crop of ministers he would appoint.
The president who has since kept Nigerians in a thrilling suspense promised to appoint his gladiators this month (September).
As the deadline thickens, Prof Akin Oyebode, the Chairman of the Office of International Relations, Partnerships and Prospects in the University of Lagos, has admonished the president to be cautious in selecting the caliber of men and women he will appoint as ministers. In an exclusive interview with our crew, the renowned legal luminary and administrator par excellence said Buhari’s anti-corruption stance has impacted on the consciousness of quite a lot of Nigerians; hence, it becomes imperative for him to be wary of sycophants and men of questionable character.
Oyebode maintained that Buhari’s success or failure would be influenced by the caliber of men and women he appoints as ministers:
”He can’t do it alone. We don’t know who the ministers are. He promised to elect them in September and we can leave by rumors or hearsay. A president is as good as the men and women surrounding him.”
Assessing Buhari’s performance in the last 100 days, the former vice-chancellor of Ekiti State University said “Buhari’s personal has impacted his gonzo.”
The astute professor said that the constitution obliges the president to appoint ministers to help him actualise his policies. Not only that, he added there should be regular meetings with the ministers.
“He needs well-owned, competent and incisive people that are going to form his team. This is how modern governance works. Apart from his special advisers and special assistants who you call the spin doctors.”
On the allegation that Buhari’s appointments favored a particular ethnicity than others, Oyebode said that Buhari has put his foot in his mouth with his recent appointments. He added that Buhari has lost tremendous support among those who were prepared to give him the benefit of doubt.
“The message he is putting across is he is irredentist leader of a particular hegemony in Nigeria which is not healthy, dysfunctional and counterproductive. So the earlier he goes back to the drawing board to cut his losses.
“Take it or leave it, he has earned tremendous loss especially from the southern part of the country where I believe you have the concentration of the best and the brightest. That is the truth. You might not want to hear it.
“He is giving ammunition to his opponents. Look at the statement made by Fayose who is not qualified to talk on meritocracy.”
In terms of the political equation deployed in recent appointments, Oyebode said the calculus is wrong. He explained that Buhari needs to cut his losses by making adjustment.
“You could observe he couldn’t make a speech after the swearing. He made a political misjudgment and he needs to watch it so as not to burn the goodwill he had when elected. He can’t continue that way.”
To actualise the change Nigerians advocate, the professor of law however, advised Buhari to run an inclusive government:
“Nobody wants any cabal or hegemonic forces to hold Nigeria by the Adam’s apple. Nigeria has gone past that. You must operate an inclusive government that will carry everybody along in the various consistencies.”