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Buhari’s ministers and jostle for presidency

By Linus Aleke
The ancient axiom that “reward for hard work is more work,” aptly captured an “immutable truth,” that Nigeria must take seriously in her leadership recruitment process.

This is because hard work begets promotion and promotion begets better remuneration or more pay.

However, the reward for indolence, ineptitude, and arrogance of power, is permanent confinement to obscurity.

Regrettably, the reverse is the case in the world’s most populated black nation, Nigeria, where leaders who are perceived to have demonstrated poor leadership skills and lack of capacity in handling their statutory duties are in some instances elevated to a higher office or even allowed to seek the highest office in the land.

It is heart-breaking, to note that citizens in Nigeria and some other African countries often sit and watch, while this aberration is perpetrated by political actors in the name of party politics and political patronage.

In protest against this kind of anomaly, the famous Greek philosopher, Plato posited, “If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools.”

This, of course, elicits a very important and necessary question, Are Nigerians doomed to live under the rule of fools as the famous Greek philosopher forecasted? Your guess is as good as mine.

Nevertheless, while pontificating on the negative consequences of the above-painted scenario, Plato further opined, “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors”.

Giving credence to the views of Plato, the German-born theoretical physicist, and one of the greatest and most influential physicists of all time, Albert Einstein, also posited that, “the world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything”.

It is, however, curious that those who had contributed in no small measures to destroying every facet of the Nigerian economy are now queueing up as presidential aspirants on the platform of the two major political parties – the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

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The majority of these aspirants are former State Governors who left their states worse than they met, after completion of their eight years of legally guaranteed tenure as governors.

Some of them were even sent to jail following their conviction by the anti-graft agencies, while a sizable number were appointed ministers.

This system of reward for mediocrity, and indolent has plugged many ministries, under the control of these former indolent governors into a crisis of monumental proportion.

To add salt to injury, the same ministers are now jostling to contest for the number one seat in the country to continue to plunder the resources of the country.

For instance, the ministries of transportation, labour and employment, petroleum, and education are in crisis, while the ministers are busy with the politics of 2023. They all want to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari, while their sectors need a surgical operation. Their actions are akin to a man whose house is on fire and he is busy chasing rats instead of trying to move out some of his valuables from the house.

Lamenting the ongoing irresponsible misplacement of priority by ministers of the above-mentioned sectors, a Public Affairs analyst, Dr Peterson Ukpo, said the aspiration of some ministers to contest the highest office in the land does not only insult the sensibility of Nigerians but also amounts to misplacement of priority.

“Rather than resign based on their failure and gross inability to move their sectors forward, these shameless ministers are now resigning in line with the new electoral Act as amended, to seek elective offices.

How wicked are these crops of political appointees in the Buhari government? Since April, the university students in Nigeria have been at home due to the ongoing strike, yet the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba is not bothered, and instead, he is preoccupied with the 2023 presidential ambition.

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“But why would the strike bother him when his children are in foreign universities? His number one priority is how to succeed President Buhari. He cares less about his record of service. But what does a man who could not handle the ministry of education do as a president if given the opportunity? A

“Another, minister whose duties, it is to mediate between the university academic union and the Federal Government is the minister of labour and employment, Dr. Chris Ngige. He has also failed woefully in resolving this intractable and incessant ASUU strike in the country. A man who cannot resolve simple agreement issues is presenting himself for the plum office in the land.

“Fortunately, he has shown his true intentions by imprisoning his presidential ambition so as not to lose his ministerial position. Thanks to the new electoral Act as amended which makes it compulsory for every political appointee nursing political ambition to resign thirty days before the primary elections.”

On his part, a veteran journalist who did not want his name in print said the fact that fuel queues are persistently resurfacing in major cities in Nigeria is enough for the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, to perish his ambition to govern Nigeria as a Present because he has failed comprehensively as the junior minister of petroleum.

He also queried, why on earth will the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, by presenting himself for a presidential contest?

“I cannot place a finger on anything that Amaechi has achieved since he was appointed the Minister of Transportation, other than completion and commissioning of projects initiated and executed up to 90 per cent completion by former President Goodluck Jonathan’s minister.

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“I don’t know about you, can you mention any project the Minister initiated and completed? These are not the kind of characters that Nigeria needs at this precarious time in her history. These sets of ministers are not just unprincipled but lazy and incompetent.

“Unfortunately, they are not even ashamed of their failure, and that explains why they are all signposting themselves to succeed President Buhari. Nigeria is already in the woods and needs a visionary, focused, competent, intelligent, and hardworking leader that will move the country out of the wood and reposition it to brace up with 21st-century developmental projections. If any of these incompetent ministers are forced down the throats of citizens by the power that is in 2023, the country will sink further into the abyss.

“Currently, we have one of the worst unemployment rates in the world, life expectancy is abysmal, infant and maternal mortality are very high and we are the world poverty capital. Social basic amenities are almost non-existent, and the few existing ones are deplorable and dilapidated.

“Reign of terror is commonplace as farmers can no longer go to their farms because of terrorism and banditry. Kidnapping for ransom is now more lucrative than any all the legitimate businesses in the country put together. The roads are very unsafe, and the rail transport that the incumbent administration laboured to take credit for has become a death trap.

“The victims of the Abuja-Kaduna train attack are still in captivity. People are now scared of travelling by rail. The only safe transportation system in Nigeria today is the aviation sector. Regrettably, it is beyond the reach of over 90 percent of our population,” the journalist lamented.

Another energy correspondent who spoke to ThisNigeria exclusively disagrees with the views of the veteran journalist, arguing that there is nothing the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources can do, judging by the fact that the President doubles as the Minister of Petroleum.

He argued that the President and not the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources should take the blame for failure in the sector and the buck stops at his table.

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He likened the Minister of State for Petroleum to a house boy or a maid in a household who only carries out the instructions of his or her master.

It is, however, on the premise of these ugly scenarios in every sector of the nation’s economy that one would be compelled to ask if the postulation of a French economist, writer, and parliamentarian, Frédéric Bastiat, “When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, with time they create for themselves a legal system that authorises it and a moral code that glorifies it, is already ingrained in the Nigerian society?”

Unless, these evil men are rejected at the poll in 2023, critical minds in Nigeria will be tempted to believe that Nigerian society is already swimming inside the Bastiat’s postulation.

At this juncture, it is important to conclude this discourse with the word of a renowned Austrian-born historian and sociologist, Ludwig von Mises, who posited that, “there is no more dangerous menace to civilization than a government of incompetent, corrupt, or vile men.”

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