Ahmed Williams: Buhari and his Northern Collaborators

Not few were the resenting reactions resulting from president Buhari’s recent political appointees, a sizeable majority of whom stem from the northern part of the polity, Nigeria. To consider that it took him this long before he was finally able to select his vital assistants gives credence to the scarcity of resources at his disposal.

The task facing Buhari transcends that of a mere president by decoration or business as usual. Likewise, the ‘change’ slogan on which his presidency was made possible matters more than a mere fancy catch-word, a good one, nonetheless. Nonetheless, the task before him has one important adjudicator in person of posterity. If indeed a majority of the electorate did decide on the lesser evil with their votes, it then becomes prevalent for the bearer of our collective responsibility to be allowed to perform his roles.

These roles will be keenly observed under the watchful eyes of those whose electoral mandate constitutionalized the crown on his head. A renowned blogger once reminded Mr. Buhari of such watchful eyes that the rod that befell his predecessor will not be spared from his administration.

A somewhat rejuvenated opposition role as seen in the watchful eyes of the erstwhile ruling party also ensures the president is ever on his toes. This microscopic observation and analysis takes no prisoners. Not even a subconscious ‘west germany’ faux pas was spared nor controversial tweets from a controversial twitter account of a family member. These in recent times were well reported and likewise received.

Buhari’s most arduous watchful eyes in my view lie in the office of the senate president, a rather seemingly silent observer. While one will hope to complete his presidential responsibility without any tarnish on his established (or rather widely acknowledged) integrity reputation; the other appears dedicated to his self-redemptive effort from all alleged financial inconsistencies in his previous political and professional capacities. This effort, perhaps, aims towards an even greater goal – the senate presidency possibly being a step in a strategic direction. It is neither a surprise he gave his all to attain the current seat nor his previous landmark senatorial efforts such as instigating the fuel subsidy probe. For himself and his colleague at the helm of executive affairs, the course ahead is plain – to perform to the best of their ability that which is their responsibility. The Nigerian political landscape is after all not an end but passage for some. Yet, the polity is, and will be as watchful as it currently appears to be.

As outrage on the sectional domination of these appointees continues, it might also have succeeded in accomplishing some good regarding the nature and structure of political parties in Nigeria. That political appointment is political only in the nature of their selection, but not in the actual sourcing for capable hands worthy of their delegated assignments. We as members of the polity have also constructively shown awareness of the importance of one’s shipmates.

When the immediate past administration appointed Mr. Hilaru Bello as its defense minister at the inception of the mandate in 2011, it didn’t make much sense considering a visible dearth of active military experience. But it sure does make compensating political sense in ‘those days’ given his incredible effort towards the election of Mr. Jonathan while also being acting National Chairman of the PDP at the time (and currently of the party’s BoT). The priorities were clear for all to behold in the face of growing insecurity.

As for president Buhari, his priorities appear to be moving away from a presidency of spectacle and compensations. But that of careful selection of a team he’s assured are as committed to his goals as he is regardless of their ethnic coloration, and of accomplishing results. Their collaborative success and/or failure will be acknowledged solely on them. Such as might be seen soon enough in the next general elections cycle.

And should any of these Buhari-collaborator exhibits a potential likened to ‘those who today are running from pillar to post’, it will take much more than their immediate employer to call them to order, but the entire polity itself whose eagle-eyed observation are fixated on his mandate, and for the sanity of the Polity. It will be his (Buhari’s) head and legacy whichever way this turns out in the end.

Ahmed Williams