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When Abuja ‘gunmen’ delay the president’s men (2)




WHAT is more, the old Senate of the last session had approved for President Buhari 15 Special Advisers that could have been named to assist in shaping decisions and processes in the presidency. Of all these, only the Special Adviser Media and Publicity has been named.

When will others including the Special Adviser, Political Affairs, Foreign Affairs, National Assembly Affairs, be named? Already, avoidable errors and complications are arising from these beats: Legislature, Foreign Affairs, Politics, Attorney General’s Office, etc. Let’s examine another critical misstep when the president was invited to the United States recently.

We may be quiet about this but there were many protocol errors in the United States. First, there was no Foreign Affairs Minister to meet with John Kerry who had to meet with the President himself.

The state officials put the president’s son as No.2 ahead of other state officials in the flight manifest. The president wrote an article in The Washington Post, which contained some inaccuracies that could have been edited by relevant president’s men and diplomats.

President Buhari had claimed in the article that even President Obama delayed his cabinet making for some months when he was elected in 2008. That is not accurate.

This is the thing: President Obama who was elected in November 2008 and sworn in, in January 2009 had actually named his critical men including Mrs. Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State, Rahm Emanuel as Chief of Staff before he was sworn in. Emanuel (now the Mayor of Chicago) actually assumed Office with Obama on January 20, 2009 while Mrs. Clinton assumed office on January 21, 2009.

In all humility, I had the privilege of covering (for The Guardian) the U.S. presidential election in November 2008 and the inauguration of President Obama in January 2009.

I had witnessed all these live. In fact, Mrs. Clinton who had been nominated before Obama’s inauguration on January 20 was cleared by the Senate the day after Obama’s inauguration and she assumed office in the night of January 21, 2009.

And one after the other, from January, there was no dull moment as all the Secretaries were cleared even as some from the last Republican administration including the Defence Secretary, Robert M. Gates, were retained.

This was the point that would have been cleared if there had been an officer in charge of research and documentation. There have been a series of alibi from some commentators about the curious dithering in making the first cabinet. Not many have been wondering what has been delaying appointment of special advisers too.

The other day, there were reports of some complications arising from management of human resources in the presidency. It has been reported that the Chief Security Officer to the President (CSO) had been caught in a web of politics and policies between his office and the ADC’s. This has arisen because there is no substantive Chief Of Staff to coordinate the office of the president.

While delaying his cabinet and others, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, a creation of the constitution for operational efficiency, should be named as a matter of urgency, lest the spirit of errors will find expression in the president’s office.

The truth that cannot be hidden is that the SGF coordinates both the Civil Service and the Political Service for the President and indeed the Federal Government.

We have heard several times that the president has been searching for some good and incorruptible men and women to fill the many vacancies in his office and the cabinet. But the president should remember that Nigeria is a place where we have had a crisis of character for some time.

Besides, as Daily Trust had specifically stated in an editorial, “there are no saints here.” I am fully persuaded that further presidential procrastination will steal so much time from a four-year tenure! Mr. President, Beware of the Abuja ‘Gunmen’.

Curiously, the most sensitive of all the pieces of intelligence we can gather from Nigeria’s seat of power is that another genre of ‘gunmen’ has invaded the nation’s capital with a view to shooting down possible nominees who may be invited to serve.

This is another major source of distraction that may delay the art of naming his advisers and special assistants and indeed the making of the Executive Council of the Federation (ECF) as the constitution calls it.

It is understood that the president has received so many petitions, dossier and protests about so many nominees before him and this is the new trouble with the seat of power.

For the Abuja that I know too well, the President will surely receive more documents from sundry ‘gunmen’ but he should read them fast, make up his mind and get cracking to build institutions that no officer and even him can compromise. • Concluded • Oloja is Editor of The Guardian.

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  • We are told that it is too early to criticize the two moths lull at the Presidency. Until PMB unveil his angelic team, no comment. Yes we can wait forever.

  • Abidilagungun

    Very good article indeed and thanks for elucidating on Obama. This presidency is a disaster in communications and PMB needs to be advised that the modern presidency anywhere in the world is managed by people such as advisers, ministers and aides, else we will be inundated endlessly with statements from the president that are later clarified by the media advisers and further clarified by party apparatchiks, ‘like the 97% who voted for us compared with the 5% who voted against us’.

  • Iskacountryman

    buhari is the all knowing superman…dont worry, just fasten your seat belt and bend your head towards your knees…

  • ngozim

    A Ministry that has no minister has nothing to lose, except the permanent secretary and other senior staff of such a Ministry do not do their job well. This is also true of the office of the office of the secretary to the government that has no secretary. Differently put, civil servants do, not the bulk of work, but all the work, in these offices., Some lapses observed in the protocol procedures of the Nigerian delegation to America; as well as in some of the opresident’s statements; could have resulted from many other factors than the absence of ministers in the delegation. The Nigerian civil system is as efficient and strong as any other in the world. This explains the reason why ministries perform better undre military regimes because they ( ministries ) enjoy more freedom as well as have more power under the military than they have under their military counterparts. The president should be allowed to work with what is available to him, pending when he makes the necessary appointments as required by law.
    Courtsey of ngozim