Buhari’s Ministerial List and Gubernatocracy
There are several former governors on the proposed President Muhammadu Buhari’s “ministerial list.” Most of these governors on the list are not in jail today largely due to the conditions of “hyper-impunity” in Nigeria for which those who are very visibly guilty of grand theft of public funds and vote stealing enjoy. If the published list is not a hoax, because it looks like one, then the wait for Buhari to pick a ‘squeaky clean cabinet’ of highly competent and incorruptible individuals has been a sore waste of the nation’s time.
Ministers have traditionally been academics and technocrats. However, such people do not have money to support a president significantly in a crucial election unless they have had access to state resources they way some figures (e.g. Funsho Kopulokun of NNPC notoriety did) who are on the ministerial list have. Femi Falana’s name on the list looks like an act of “moral concentration” i.e. using a genuinely super-clean individual’s image to launder filth.
The monies the All Progressives Congress (APC) governors stole recently and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) governors stashed away ages ago now constitute the ‘grease that oiled the wheels’ of Buhari’s election success. I call it “Gubernatocracy”. It is a new dimension in Nigerian politics and we should sincerely and thoroughly thank Buhari for its creation even though he appears captive to it.
From both simple observation and very reliable insider information, when Olusegun Obasanjo came to power in 1999, it was military men who had the tons of money to speculate in the Nigerian political economy especially on elections. That has “CHANGED.” A reasonable proportion of the people with such cash to throw around in politics nowadays are thieving ex-governors. Buhari accepted their stolen cash support with his eyes far wide open.
People in Nigeria and Diaspora vehemently swear by Buhari’s ‘precious integrity’ but for how much longer? You cannot fool everybody all the time, as Lincoln said. It is very surprising that ex-Governor James Ibori is not on the list. Buhari has the power to get Ibori released from prison in the United Kingdom and to serve in his cabinet immediately. Before anyone laughs at such a bizarre suggestion let us ask some questions.
How come Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the key influencer of the appointments in Buhari’s cabinet? What is Olagunsoye Oyinlola’s name doing on the ministerial list? What is Donald Duke’s name doing on the ministerial list? What is Babatunde Fashola’s name doing on the ministerial list? What is Chibuike Amaechi’s doing on the ministerial list? What is Rabiu Kwankwanso’s name doing on the ministerial list?
Money!!! Pound for pound, are any of these former governors who made the list lesser thieves of public funds or lesser thieves of votes than James Ibori? And which of these ex-governors has a better rating of ‘integrity’ or ‘conscientious service’ than James Ibori? And which of these ex-governors if prosecuted for their tenures in government by the “standards” Buhari “sold” to Nigerians at election time would not spend a live-long time in jail?
Other former governors who made Buhari’s lists are Segun Oni and Kayode Fayemi, both of Ekiti State, might be cleaner men but we have figured out why Buhari is so keen to have ex-Governors in his cabinet. Money. Alas, money from the same types of corruption he wants to stop. Titi Meme Koko!
Some of these former governors who made the ministerial list are major figures in the contemporary “Cross-Carpeters for Power” movement in Nigeria. They migrated to PDP now they have migrated again to APC. If a new dominant party emerges they shall all migrate to it as if it is a habit. Power and access to lucrative state resources is all that motivates these gubernatocrats who made the list in politics not the people, public interest or service. These are ruthless political entrepreneurs after all.
Some of these former governors were “ran out of office” by the courts because of the very criminal ways by which they stole elections. Among them were governors who actually had the temerity to go to court to get injunctions to prevent investigations into their many acts of grand corruption.
Yet, Buhari has to work with these ex-governors because they now call the tune. Someone quipped that Buhari is still thinking like military ruler at a time when there was a revolving door between being minister and governor. And Nigerians are expected to hope for a better and less corrupt Nigeria? Now you can laugh.
If Buhari’s alleged rhetoric of forgiving thieves of public funds and other corrupt acts in their past is to be taken seriously even by a minority of Nigerians, he should start by forgiving Sambo Dasuki to show how far he will go in his righteousness. We all know the story. Nigeria is not short of good men and women who will serve Nigeria selflessly and conscientiously; the current shape of gubernatocracy is a bad choice for Nigeria.
All in all, if the ministerial list as revealed is true, Buhari has by his own doing or by compromise lost most of his legitimacy. The only way his legitimacy can survive is if the list is a hoax.
- Dr. Nane is an errant scholar and economist. Follow him on twitter: @Grimot
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