I am trying hard to understand the point President Muhammadu Buhari wants to make with the statement credited to him that he is under tremendous pressure to release the names of his ministerial nominees.
According to him, he didn’t know the majority of his last cabinet members as they were recommended for him by the party and other individuals and therefore this time around, he will pick people he knows personally.
No matter the pressure he is getting from whatever quarters, one would have thought that President Buhari would not make a statement like this, which is capable of bringing him under more pressure he can’t cope with and expose him to more criticisms about his style of government.
It would have been enough for him to promise to release the list soon as expected and spare us the details of his reasons for the unnecessary delay in naming his cabinet.
For a second-term president and almost five months after winning the election, there is really no justification for another round of delay like in his first tenure when it took him almost four months after inauguration to announce his cabinet.
By now, the list should have been ready for approval to ensure that the appointees can continue early enough from where their predecessors stopped when they handed over. The usual thing is that the tempo of activities in many sectors is usually halted awaiting who will be named to man whichever ministries.
There is a limit to which permanent secretaries currently in charge of ministries can take decisions on major projects without the approval of the Federal Executive Council yet to be constituted.
This is why it is necessary that the president shed the toga of ‘Baba go slow’ which he promised to do during the campaign for the second term. Delay in approving necessary decisions just seems to be his style, which should not be the case considering the state of the country where many things are begging for concrete actions to be taken.
Despite the outcry that it was wrong for him to continue to run his second tenure with former appointees not yet officially re-appointed, it took him almost two months to announce the re-appointments of his Chief of Staff and Secretary to the Government of the Federation and backdate their appointment to May.
Curiously, the appointees were not new. If the president knew all along that he was going to re-appoint them, why did he wait for that long and allow all the speculations about the offices? Up till now, some of his close aides have not been re-appointed, but they are performing official duties and the president cannot be bothered by whatever the public thinks.
Since the president was not elected by only those he knew, it is wrong to state that only those he knows will make his ministerial list. His cabinet is supposed to be made up of the brightest and the best we can get and not his cronies or only those within his limited circle of influence.
It is standard practice for his party and other interest groups to nominate persons for his consideration and the choice can be his. To the extent that the nominees must come from the 36 states of the federation and reflect other considerations, including gender, President Buhari needs a list to shop from.
The earlier he releases the list, the earlier he can save himself from whatever pressure he is being subjected to. We can’t afford another four months like he did the last time.