As vocal and voluble as he has been about the affairs of Nigeria, Pastor Tunde Bakare of the Latter Rain Assembly Church still commands rapt attention when he makes any political pronouncement. Not just among Nigerians, but even with President Mohammadu Buhari who made him his running mate in the 2011 presidential election.
In spite of their avowed friendship, Bakare never shies from openly telling the president some home truths. He has done so again. Speaking with Channels TV on Easter Monday, Pastor Bakare passed a vote of no confidence in the education sector. “We have neglected the greatest asset of any nation, human capital. Our educational system has gone down the drain; we need to revive all that. Our universities are glorified secondary schools; let us solidify the ones we have. It’s okay to start a university, but let us maintain a standard,” he said.
Pastor Bakare said further that it is in the best interest of Nigeria to ensure that there is a future for her children, ensure good health care delivery and a transportation system that is flawless, adding that the effects of failing to provide jobs and education lead to insecurity. Earlier, Bakare had told the media that he wants Buhari to appoint the best, the brightest and the fittest men and women to move the nation forward. “The president knows what kind of cabinet he wants to constitute.
It is not necessarily the function of my expectation, it is my hope, my desire, and I trust God that that will happen because it is the only way our nation can truly improve and the majority of our people can truly take advantage of the dividends of democracy. We trust that he will choose the best, the brightest and the fittest to move Nigeria forward.”
Despite that it took the president about six months to constitute his cabinet, a cross-section of Nigerians feel the appointees do not represent the best of Nigeria in terms of experience, expertise and excitement for the growth of the country. Incidentally, the educational sector has been one of the most pilloried under the minister, Adamu Adamu.
A successful accountant cum public affairs commentator, Adamu’s stewardship at the education ministry has been widely viewed to be below par, the very sentiment echoed by Bakare. He was in the saddle when the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, embarked on a strike action that lasted eight months. He has also not introduced any novel approach to funding education, the main cause of the incessant ASUU strike.
Because of his longstanding relationship with the president, however, sources have told The Capital that Adamu may likely be moved to the presidency or completely eased out in the new administration. If Adamu got lucky eventually, the likes of Chris Ngige (Minister of Labour and Employment), Adebayo Shittu (Minister of Communications), Ogbonnaya Onu (Minister of Science and Technology), Okechukwu Enelamah (Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment), Dr Ibe Kachikwu (Minister of State for Petroleum Resources) and Geoffrey Onyeama (Minister of Foreign Affairs) might not. They are already on their way out. Others that would get the chop are Solomon Dalung (Minister of Youth and Sports), Lai Mohammed (Minister of Information) and Usani Uguru Usani (Minister of Niger Delta). Shittu’s offence is that he has spent more time politicking (he vied for and lost the governorship ticket of the All Progressives Congress in Oyo State) and bickering with the Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi. Little or no achievements have been traced to his ministry since 2015.
Between Ngige and Onu, two of the most prominent south-eastern appointees in the Buhari administration, they were all bluster at the outset without corresponding action. In 2016, Onu, particularly, said that Nigeria would start producing its own pencils in another two years, as part of a wholesale production-sector revamp to be witnessed in the regime of President Buhari, while assuringthat the plan would have a ‘meaningful impact’ on the economy because the aim is to “commercialise developed ideas and research findings to principal levels.”
Onu’s touted pencil has not seen the light of day. For Enelamah, the recent allegation of budget padding may be his final undoing. About two weeks ago, during the budget defence of his ministry by the Senate Committee on Industry, Trade and Investment, N42billion was discovered to have been appropriated for the Nigeria Special Economic Zone which is not known to be one of the 17 agencies under the ministry. In spite of spirited attempts to explain away the fund, the minister’s defence was punctured at every point. Kachikwu wasn’t caught padding budget but he has been ostracised in the power equation since a letter he sent to the president on the alleged malfeasances of Dr Maikanti Baru, Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, was leaked to the media.
In the letter, Kachikwu expressed in no uncertain terms his frustration at attempts to see the president. It also contained an allegation of Baru’s alleged multi-billion dollar contracts without due process. Aside from this, Kachikwu has found the presidency impervious and the president coldly apathetic about him and his ministry. Among the other ministers that would not have a look-in again, Dalung’s case may be the worst.
Regarded by Nigerians at home and abroad as an anathema of a public official, the Plateau State-born lawyer and academic has not done himself any good by his public appearances and jejune utterances. While Uguru Usani has been more concerned about his disputed governorship run in Cross River State with little time left for activities in the Niger Delta ministry, the use for rambunctious Lai Mohammed has simply run its course and he has seen the handwriting on the wall. Good enough for him, he has a respite in the fact that his candidate, Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq, won the governorship election in Kwara State ending the decades-long monopoly of power in the state by the Sarakis. So, even if he is not made a minister, he stands to get a juicy portfolio.
Source : The Capital