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 Daniel Akerejah -
a capacity building and international education expert was Manager for Africa at the influential Institute of International Education, New York and the 1999 AD gubernatorial flag bearer in Edo State. Currently lives in Lagos.

Olodi Apapa, Lagos
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Welcome President-Elect Buhari: HopeRekindled

by Daniel Akerejah
 
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In addition to declaring their assets publicly, all appointees must be required to sign undatedletters of resignation in advance. These could be actuated at any time should the need arise to relieve anyone of responsibilities on issues bordering on performance and character.  This will be a clear signal that no position is sacred and everyone serves at the pleasure of the president and are sworn to uphold the constitution in service to the country. There must be no room for anyone to carve out a corrupt and untouchable fiefdom at the expense of the people. The following is my hunble suggestion ofpersons who could be members of the ‘team Nigeria’ of President Muhammadu Buhari. Space does not permit me to write a brief about each individualbut they have all been part of our public space in politics and other areas at some point in our recenthistory.

“In a country as diverse as ours, there will always be passionate arguments about how we draw the line when it comes to government action. That is how our democracy works. But our democracy might work a bit better if we recognized that all of us possess values that are worthy of respect” ---------- Barack Obama in The Audacity of Hope

 

One of my recent favorite books is Barack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope. Of course yes, Mr Obama, a former junior Senator from the State of Illinois, became the 44th President of the United States in 2008. He was reelected to a second term in 2012.  The relevance of this is the diversity of Nigeria and the hope in a greater Nigerian nation that propelled President Elect Muhammadu Buhari to try a fourth time for the Presidency of Nigeria. It is truly the audacity of hope that he would dream of one day governing this country as an elected civilian leader even after trying three previous times. It’s a new day indeed. Welcome President Muhammadu Buhari as a nation’s hope for development is rekindled. Aside from the generality of the Nigerian people who trooped out and waited patiently to cast their votes, special tribute must be paid to Professor Attahiru Jega’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for conducting a largely acceptable and credible election.  While there is much room for improvement, the foundation for a respectable process may have finally been established for future elections.   INEC must continue to explore and deploy ground breaking technology to build on the foundations of credible, free and fair elections, while building human capacity for a truly independent election umpire.

An important historic element is the defeat of an incumbent president, a first in Nigeria’s long quest for democracy. Similarly, the defeat of incumbents at various levels further puts to rest any previous banking on the almost absolute advantage of incumbency. The clamour for voter empowerment as the true determinant of elections is now a reality.  The formation of the APC with the merger of significant opposition parties made it possible to dislodge the PDP and prevent any further boast of 6o-year rule by one underperforming political party.  I give due respect and recognition to all those who laboured in the trenches to shepherd this formidable party that is now poised to rescue Nigeria from the evils of a corrupt one party state.  The real deal now is to gather the knots and bolts for giving Nigerians the change that they have voted to enthrone.  We must commend all those who have made this historic period possible in our time especially after all the dire predictions that preceded the 2015 elections.  My optimism for the viability and success of the Nigerian nation project is further confirmed.

There is general acceptance in the country that this polity badly needs to be cleansed. We need to have a cleansing of the current rotten system we have been operating for decades. Nigerians are counting on a President Buhari not to let us down as he had never been one to condone the rottenness in the system. His opponents and colleagues know that he was never part of the rottenness. Enter President Buhari with the uncommon integrity and moral authority to clean up the country.  As I had written elsewhere, he must come galloping out of Daura like a victorious warrior prince to slay the corruption dragon that has been threatening to suffocate the Nigeria dream.

 

It is said that success has many fathers while failure is an orphan.Indeed, this is a ferocious season of defections to the new winning party by many of those who have propagated all sorts of negative views and worked against the APC even up to the elections in March and April.What with the spate of defections from the PDP? This must be handled by the APC hierarchyso as not to allow these new comers after the elections to have any ascendancy thereby sidetracking the true progressives and APC faithfuls who have laboured all through the years in the progressives’ wilderness while these new opportunists championed and clawed for a perpetuation of the status quo under the PDP.  I am waiting for the mother of all defections to take place soon with little Fani ‘Power’ Kayode, Reuben Abati, and ‘Bastard’Okupe and other PDP operatives still reeling from the defeat of March 28. Nigerians are the winners and hope is rekindled with the spirit of March 28, 2015.  I have so much disdainfor this unprincipled‘after the ball game’ decamping bylatter day converts to the progressives’ranks. Is this ideological or chop chop conversion? Why the defections just before and immediately following the elections? It is easy to conclude that this is nothing short of the same old chop chop political opportunism. I make bold to say that such defections in the past have proven to be detrimental to any disciplined organization. Some of the defectors are actual moles intent on surreptitiouslysabotaging and fomenting trouble the moment they are given a foothold of any significance in the new party. These fair weather politicians are seeking political relevance and personal repositioning in a winning party that they disparaged from its formation. They must not be allowed any lateral movements that would place them ahead of the party faithfuls. It is only fair that all these defectors must not be given undue recognition and promotions at the expense of the old members of the party.

The defectors are welcomed in affirmation of the right to freedom of association and the right of any Nigerian to join any political party of their choice. However, they must take their rightful and deserving places as new comers at the back of the line for any APC tickets and positions. The political landscape since 1999 is replete with these tendencies and we must now take a stand.It is gratifying that no other than Chief John Oyegun, the national chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), has said that the gale of defections by politicians was not good for Nigeria’s political development. I agree.Also, President-elect Buhari recently told Sahara TV during an interviewthatlast-minute defectors would not be given appointments in his government.  Departing Niger state governor Mu’azuBabangida Aliyu was also recently quoted as saying thatpoliticians defecting from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) are “suffering from poverty of integrity, morality and principle . . . members of the APC . . . will soon have problems of political profiteers in their hands”

Upon inauguration, President Buhari must immediately offer a few policy directions for Nigerians to cheer about on the perennial issues of Power, Education, Agriculture, Crime control and Healthcare.  I would refer simply to this with the acronym PEACH. He must continue to stand tall and live up to thetrue meaning of his credentials as one who has an unequaled record of not defiling himself with wealth from the people’s public wealth as most are known to have done. The effectiveness and impact of an administration certainly begins with the persons selected to implement the vision and mission of the Chief Executive, in consonant with the manifesto of the party. For a start,a new office in the Executive office of the President should be created forthwith to be known as the office of Presidential Envoy of the Republic. The incumbent will be reporting directly to the President of the Federal Republic.  The person will function at the direct instance of the president for any lawful purposes deem necessary by the President.  As an example, the President receives a slew of invitations to visit other nations big and small.  The Presidential Envoy of the Republic will be on hand for honoring some of these invitations to take the load off the president.

 

I am sure that the big question by many Nigerians is:what role for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the Buhari administration?  While so many wild speculations abound, I would suggest that in recognition of the pivotal role played by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in the formation of the APC against all the odds and naysayings, including the successful prosecution of the elections by the APC, he should be convinced to accept the newly created position of Presidential Envoy of the Republic. President Buhari will have full time access to a trusted strategist and committed stakeholder in the party and the APC administration. There are those who would cast aspersions and undue dimwitted vew of such a position in line with their pre election propaganda against the working relationship among the ranks, but the president must focus on this drive for a truly new Nigeria far from what we had known before. Thinking outside the drum or the box is badly needed at this critical time in the land. President Buhari must not be beholden to any special or group interests. Heshould constitute a screening and personel committee comprising 90 per cent APC members and 10 percent professionals from all National professional institutions such as the Nigerian Institution of Surveyors (NIS), the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA}, etc. regardless of party affiliation. He must begin the arduous task of rebuilding Nigeria.

In addition to declaring their assets publicly, all appointees must be required to sign undatedletters of resignation in advance. These could be actuated at any time should the need arise to relieve anyone of responsibilities on issues bordering on performance and character.  This will be a clear signal that no position is sacred and everyone serves at the pleasure of the president and are sworn to uphold the constitution in service to the country. There must be no room for anyone to carve out a corrupt and untouchable fiefdom at the expense of the people. The following is my hunble suggestion ofpersons who could be members of the ‘team Nigeria’ of President Muhammadu Buhari. Space does not permit me to write a brief about each individualbut they have all been part of our public space in politics and other areas at some point in our recenthistory.

Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu – PRESIDENTIAL ENVOY OF THE REPUBLIC*

Ogbonaiya Onu – SECRETARY TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

Babatunde Raji Fasola - MINISTRY OF JUSTICE

Gen. Alani Akinrinade – MINISTRY OF DEFENCE

Audu Ogbe - MINISTRY OF INTERNALAFFAIRS

John Odigie Oyegun  -MINISTRY OF NIGER DELTA

Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi - MINISTRY OF PETROLEUM RESOURCES

Bisi Akande – MINISTRY OF WORKS

Odey Ochicha- MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT

Lt Gen Danbazau-NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER

Ibrahim Coomassie  - STATE SECURITY

Aisha Alhassan - EFCC

Chris Ngige –   MINISTRY OF HEALTH

Garba Shehu -   MINISTRY OF INFORMATION 

Olusegun Adeyemi/Tunji Lardner -MEDIA & PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESMEN

*A proposed newly created office 

Bern Omo Akhigbe – MIN  OF SOLID MINERALS Oby Ezekwesili   - MINISTRY OFCOMMERCE

ProfRemi Sonaiya  -MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

George Moghalu - MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT 

Tunde Bakare -           MINISTRY OF POWER & STEEL 

Lai Mohammed -    FCTMINISTRY


MINISTRY OF FINANCE

Pat Utomi - MINISTRY OF INDUSTRIES


Itse Sagay - MINISTRY OF LABOURAND PRODUCTIVITY


 Prof. Oyewale Tomori - MINISTRY OF SCIENCEAND TECHNOLOGY


MINISTRY OF WATERRESOURCES & RURAL DEVELOPMENT

 

MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE


 Lawrence Onoja - MINISTRY OF AVIATION

MINISTRY OF EDUCATION

Abubakar Umar - MINISTRY OF YOUTH & SPORT

 

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