Monday, 21 December 2015

Behold Our New Ministers



Behold Our New Ministers
Finally, we have seen President Buhari’s list of ministerial nominees. It is not by any means different from what had been peddled around last week on social media. Not one name was different.
After the list was made public by the Senate President on the floor of the red chamber, many Nigerians practically hissed: the entire wait; all the anxiety; all the denial of grapevine gists, only to end up with practically the same crop of fellows as Nigeria had always known. The first prominent Nigerian to express his disdain with Buhari’s list of nominees was the second republic governor of Kaduna state, Alh Balarabe Musa. The headline on Musa’s take on the nominees was simply “I am disappointed in Buhari’s list”.
Different Nigerians are disappointed for a variety of reasons, but for many, especially those who sympathize with the ousted government, they expected to see angels, because of the kind of noise made by the APC about change in Nigeria and the pitch about Buhari as a man of integrity who, therefore, will only work with beings from the heavens. For others, it is about the commitment made by the new government to appoint technocrats as ministers; for them, the list of nominees cannot be said to be peopled with technocrats but rather, an embodiment of reward for political investments during the campaigns that brought this government to power.
The only problem with the above expectations is that people who entertained them have either refused to be realistic or have decided to be fixated in mischief. For those that believe that the list was not worth the four-month wait, they have failed to follow the president’s yarn. The man did not say that he did not know whom to appoint; or that the delay was as a result of the need for him to comb through the length and breadth of the country so as to give us angels and saints as ministers. All he said was that, because he never received proper hand-over briefing from President Jonathan until two days to his assumption to office, he needed to properly examine the state structures – civil service and all – so as to make sure that when he appoints ministers, the system is favourable enough to allow them operate well.
For me, this argument makes sense. The truth is that if the system is right, the worst criminal will not be able to have a field day; but if the system is wrong, even Angela Merkel, at the helm of affairs, will find her hands soiled at the end her term. So, now that Buhari has named his ministers, it is assumed that he has reasonably righted the system, therefore, the president, along with his ministers, has no excuse whatsoever not to deliver. In the next six or so months, Nigeria shall truly know the value of her four-month wait for a cabinet: whether or not it was worth it.
For those who expected a list of nominees from outer space, well, they can only be said to either be living in the clouds or deliberate in their expectations; because people came together to deploy their political and sundry capital for the success of Buhari’s campaign at the 2015 polls, and, in spite of himself, investments must yield dividends. Everyone must wake up to this reality.
All Nigerians can say now is “let us see the dance that Buhari will dance.”
Nigeria’s Many Educated Illiterates
This is an age of information. All you need to air your view is to have online access and “Bingo!” you are there. In the past, newspapers had a corner on their publications known as “Letter to the Editor”. We would write a good number of responses to stories on the paper and count ourselves lucky when one was published; and when that happened, we would cut out our published letter from the paper as a treasured memento.
Today it is different and with it has come having to contend with the very stupid and foolish; those who do not know and do not know that they do not know because they are bone lazy to make the next move to know, yet they think that they know.
 In Nigeria, I think that the beautiful possibilities that this knowledge age offers us is the awareness that indeed, our universities and other tertiary institutions of learning are only producing half-baked graduates. How else does one explain the reactions to the Vanguard Newspaper’s headline – We hate corruption, yet we are at peace with it – of Kukah’s 1st October lecture in Lagos? People no longer read beyond mere headlines!
Indeed, half knowledge is dangerous, as the Hausa say, “karamin sani kunkumi.”

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