Personal Memo to President Muhammadu Buhari – by Frank Ofili162 views
After a particularly difficult four-year term characterized by low oil revenue, economic sabotage, rampaging killer-herdsmen, high-stake subversive political conspiracy never seen in our land before and a life-threatening health challenged which you faced early in your administration, I think congratulations are in order. So, while we are at it, permit me to join millions of well-wishers around the world to thank the good Lord for sparing your life, and to congratulate you on your well-deserved victory at the polls.
That you survived your first term against all odds, and in spite of the booby traps deliberately put your way, is a testimony to your abiding date with destiny. That you did not just survive these challenges, but also won a second term is as historic as it is miraculous. Your reelection confirms that majority of Nigerians appreciate the honesty and sincerity of purpose you have brought to governance in Nigeria.
It is these attributes, coupled with your unnerving simplicity and spartan disposition, that attracted some of us to you in the first place, even without being members of your party, the APC. You showed that regardless of how the whole world has come to stereotype Nigerians, there are still some who can be trusted with public purse. Which is why in spite of some obvious missteps in your first term, vis-a-viz the harsh economy reality, Nigerians were willing to trust you enough to hand you a second term.
But while we clink Champagne glasses and raise the victory sign, I would be derelict if I do not tell you that there is a lot more work to be done in your second term. In a way, your second term should be a time to correct all that was wrong in your first term as well as build and consolidate on your successes. I do not mince words if I tell you that it is a herculean task and it is not yet Uhuru.
I opine – and I do not shy away from throwing this as a challenge to you sir – that to signal the nature and texture of your second term and the seriousness you attach to it – it is imperative you name your cabinet at Inauguration on May 29, 2019. I need not tell you that nobody wants a repeat of four years ago when it took you six months to name your cabinet members. In the end, most of them were familiar faces who had over the years bestrode the national political landscape like a colossus. You must ensure, sir, that same scenario does not repeat this time.
You must therefore begin now, sir, to search and reach out to new but credible faces wherever they may be, who can help you consolidate on your administration’s successes. Suffice to say, that many members of your current team, some of whom at best were lethargic, must not make the list. The logic of having some truly new faces is the fact that they would bring new thinking and new approach to governance.
As you know very well, sir, the National Assembly (NASS) is the ultimate political battleground. It is where all sorts of political conspiracies are cooked and served. Therefore, you must ensure that you show more than a passing interest in who becomes leader of that august body – specifically, Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives.
At all costs, you must avoid the mistake you made in this regard in your first term – a mistake that inadvertently aided the emergence of Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara as Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives respectively. If need be sir, you must play the politics of picking the National Assembly leaders. Both must be men you trust implicitly.
Regardless of what anyone may say to the contrary, ensuring your trusted men emerge leaders of the National Assembly is not in any way interference with legislative business; it is realpolitik, because both have the capacity to make or mar your government. You and I know that Saraki and Dogara almost torpedoed your government.
Next after ensuring your trusted men emerge leaders of the National Assembly, is the need to appoint as your National Assembly liaison someone grounded in legislative matters; someone who understands the intricate relationship between the Executive and the Legislature and is able to skillfully navigate the morass, and lubricate the labyrinthine relationship without compromising on the integrity of your administration’s fight against corruption. If I am to recommend such a person,sir, it would be a man or woman who would command the respect of NASS members. Either Senator Olorunimbe Mamora , or former Senate President Ken Nnamadi would be my pick.
Mr. President sir, I would be deceiving you if I told you that the country has not become more divided in recent years. To be fair, the division did not start with you. Inter-ethnic mutual suspicion has been with us a long time. Still, it is not entirely a lie that a section of the country, particularly the south-east, feels it has not been fairly represented in your cabinet. Whether this is so is a matter of opinion.
Nevertheless, I do think nothing would be lost if a deliberate effort is made to prove to them that you hold nothing against them. I personally would love to see someone from that region serve as your Secretary to Government of the Federation, Finance Minister or even National Security Adviser.
Let me end this piece Mr. President, by advising on the imperative of having professional PR persons as your media/communication team. You need a media team that will be proactive (not reactive) sell your achievements to Nigerians and the international community as well as connect with the people without an air of over-bloated importance.
In my next piece I shall be x-raying what I feel should form your economic agenda. Until then, enjoy your day, Mr. President, congratulations once again.