Saturday, 23rd September 2023

Pitfalls Tinubu must avoid to engender good governance 

By Seye Olumide, Southwest Bureau Chief
30 April 2023   |   4:25 am
As the president elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is preparing to take over power on May 29, he is expected to deploy ingenuity and exceptional political skill to scale up governance and restore trust between the government and generality of Nigerians.

President-Elect Bola Tinubu

As the president elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is preparing to take over power on May 29, he is expected to deploy ingenuity and exceptional political skill to scale up governance and restore trust between the government and generality of Nigerians.
To achieve this, there are clearly landmines he must be careful not to step on, else his administration ‘explodes’ right from the onset. He is also expected to avoid some obvious pitfalls, which political observers considered as the major shortcomings that make Buhari ‘inglorious’ in the twilight of his presidency.
Tinubu may also need to recollect the piece of advice given to him by the former governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande when he (Tinubu) took over office as governor of Lagos in 1999. Then, the late Alhaji Jakande advised the president elect to stop complaining about the shortcomings of his immediate predecessor, Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd) but to rather devise methods that would make Lagos work.
As soon as he takes the reins, Tinubu will discover more than enough rots that may possibly trigger bitter complaints. He must realise that Nigerians are not ready for such complaints, they rather want to see action(s).

Build up of cabals around Tinubu
IN 2015 when President Buhari assumed power, the first major observation that triggered public reactions was the emergence of what Nigerians later described as ‘the Abuja Cabals’, and their first target was the alleged capturing of Buhari’s soul and thinking.
The cabals allegedly hijacked the instrumentality of government. It is no longer news that the president elect, who was said to have sacrificed more than enough political and financial resources to see the incumbent through the presidential primaries of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), held at the Onikan Stadium in Lagos and the presidential election of 2015 became one of the first major victims of the cabals.
Tinubu was not only side-lined in government, the cabals also ensured that a wedged was built between the president and president-elect to the extent that the incumbent didn’t step on the shore of Lagos State, where the first meeting of APC merger arrangement was perfected, until 2018 when it was obvious that Buhari would need Tinubu and his team, to achieve second term in 2019.
Among those identified as being members of the cabal were: the President’s nephew, Mamman Daura; the father to the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (Musa Bello) Muhammed Bello; the President’s Chief of Staff, the late Abba Kyari; Samaila Isa Funtua and a few others that later joined. 
The activities of the imaginary cabals was later confirmed by the wife of Mr President, Aisha, who said those who helped his husband to power have been side-lined. Her outburst was later corroborated by Senator Oluremi Tinubu, wife of president elect, who complained about the maltreatment given to her husband.
Some of the critical errors committed by the outgoing administration were principally blamed on the agenda of the cabals, who were accused to have deliberately manipulated the thinking and actions of President Buhari to the detriment of the nation.
The activities of politicians surrounding the president elect, especially since Tinubu returned from overseas last week, are suggesting that a  new set of cabals may surface with the aim to achieve more devious activities than the outgoing cabals did in the last seven years and 11 months.
The president-elect is expected to guard against this and not to fall into the same ditch the outgoing President found himself.

Parading ethnic and religious coloured cabinet  
ANOTHER pitfall the president-elect must guard against is the possibility of running a government tainted with ethnic and religious sentiment. At a point under the outgoing administration, former President Olusegun Obasanjo accused Buhari of ‘Fulanising’ the entire country. Although the government denied the allegation, there are indications pointing towards the insinuation in the areas of lopsided appointments and the kid gloves with which the government treats the insecurity manifested in insurgency, killing, banditry and kidnapping that has ravaged the country.

Tinubu must also realise that he is now the president of Nigeria and not that of Yoruba ethnic group or that of the north that gave him majority votes. He must deliberately carry the Southeast region along. There is a need for him to deliberately talk with critical stakeholders in Ibo land with the aim to resolve the issue of insecurity in the region, attract federal presence there also. Already, the Southeast recently pointed to a flaw in Tinubu’s transition committee.

A chieftain of APC, in Lagos State, Joe Igbokwe, reacted to the exclusion of Igbos in the transition committee of the President-elect. The former spokesman of Lagos APC, Joe Igbokwe said he couldn’t believe the story was true.
A source within the party recently pointed out how many politicians across Yoruba land and Lagos particularly, have turned the Abuja residence of Tinubu to their new homes seeking recognition and relevance.
Also sharing what the incoming administration should watch out for, the Managing Director, Africa’s leading information and new technology, Tim Akano in a write sub titled: ‘10 +1 Commandments the President-elect’ warned against removing the remaining fuel subsidy until he must have substantially removed the pains Nigerian youths are experiencing.
He admonished the president-elect to embark on reconciliation, recalibration, rebirth, re-education, re-industrialisation, re-construction and rebranding of the nation as soon as he gets into office, just as he said Tinubu should not run a government of those that are his friends or colleagues. “Thou shall not fill your cabinet with recycled, corrupt political jobbers. Allow those ‘flying CVs’ to remain in the air forever. Those who can add great value and make Nigeria a peak performer are already too busy to be flying their CVs around.”
As Buhari’s administration progressed from 2015, Nigerians began to notice and complain about lopsided  appointments the president made, especially deliberately favouring people from his ethnic section.
Akano urged that Tinubu will need to prioritise meritocracy, saying, “Nothing is wrong in advertising certain critical cabinet positions such as Ministers of Finance, Education, ICT, Solid Minerals and Petroleum.”
Another fault of the redecessors, especially Obasanjo and Buhari that the president-elect should watch is the appointment of selves as Petroleum Ministers. Akano noted that of all the OPEC countries, Nigeria is the only one that does oil business at a loss. According to him, “Nigeria has the lowest per capita income and weakest national currency among the major oil exporting countries. Prosperity is a rule among OPEC countries except Nigeria. Out of 45 years, Nigeria recorded ‘rat profits’ only in two years.”

A former minister under the Obasanjo Administration, Olu Agunloye urged the president elect against appointing himself as minister of any ministry like some of his predecessors did.
According to him, “The president-elect appears to be the most prepared among those that have ruled Nigeria in the past. If you take a critical look, Tinubu has a background in the oil industry as a former staff of Mobil, he is a former Senator and Governor of Lagos. He has a wife who is a three term Senator. Tinubu has the strongest spread of political networking across the country, so he will have no excuse to fall into any pitfalls his predecessors fell into if he assumed office on May 29.”

A chieftain of APC from Ondo State, Jamiu Ekungba said the president-elect has the Lagos Template that can be improved upon and expanded to reflect national character, so, he is not moving in as a fresher but someone with deep experience of governance.
He expressed confidence that Tinubu is definitely not going to be an accidental leader and therefore may likely escape the dangerous landmines ahead. Still on the cabals, Akano cautioned Tinubu to immediately abolish such if it exists in ‘Aso Rock’ because it is unknown to the constitution.
According to him, “The ‘cabal’ engineered the annulment of June 12, 1993 election according to former Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida, Jonatan’s Cabal made him clueless, Umaru Yar’Adua’s cabal held the nation to ransom when he (Yar’Adua) was ill while Buhari’s Cabal held him hostage in the Villa according to Mr. President wife, Aisha.”
Akano said allowing his closest political and business associates, the vice president or wife or son or daughter to form a new cabal is like signing an irrevocable MoU with failure, because the ‘Cabal’ is not on record for positive contributions.”
Another source within the party who didn’t want his name in print said there is an already made cabal around Tinubu in Lagos State, allowing such ‘gang’ to take their operations to the national level will quickly finish Tinubu’s government.
“Trust the Yoruba and their pens, they will be the first to criticise Tinubu’s government if this occurs under his administration.”

Office of the First Lady
Nigerians may likely not take cognisance to what ‘Office of the First Lady’ will  look like for now but as time goes on, Tinubu’s wife, Oluremi may begin to arrogate such influence around herself.
One thing the president-elect needs to realise on time is the fact that he is going to parade probably the strongest wife in office considering the political background of Oluremi. There is no past president of the country that has paraded a wife with the kind of credentials the incumbent Senator representing Lagos Central has.

The party source said Tinubu must be careful not to give his wife too many opportunities to get involved in either administrative matters or constitutional issues, since the 1999 Constitution did not recognise the Office of the First Lady. “Allowing this will attract severe criticisms no matter how noble the intention may seem to be. But at the same time, Oluremi can do whatever to support her husband from the background especially she is expected to appropriately advise her husband on the election of leadership of the Senate being a three-term Senator.”
Chairman, CAN Kaduna State chapter, Joseph Hayab said the president-elect must be firm in handling the security challenges confronting Nigeria unlike what transpired in the sector close to eight years now.
According to Hayab, “The president-elect cannot afford to commit the error of handling security matters with a kids glove as we have witnessed under the outgoing government.”

Reports of various constitutional conferences and the ongoing amendments of 1999 Constitution

IN about 30 days, President Buhari will be leaving the stage as the leader who failed to fulfil the promises that are contained in his party Manifestos especially on the restructuring of the governance system.
The outgoing president fell into the ditch of refusing or displaying nonchalant gestures to the popular demand to restructure the country in spite of his party’s recommendation. He once said the 2014 National Conference reports are fit for the archives. Buhari can scale through with such statements and gestures because he is not known to be a democrat but Tinubu will not because he is a democrat. To pay less or no attention to police reform, constitution amendment, restructuring may make the incoming government unpopular.