As Nigerians anxiously await President Muhammadu Buhari to fine tune and transmit the list of his ministerial nominees to the Senate, which is vested with the constitutional responsibility of screening them, it is expedient to caution Mr President on the need to be wary of those that will join him to pilot the nation’s affairs in his next level government.
By virtue of Sections 147(3) and 151 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended) the President is mandated to “appoint at least one Minister from each of the 36 States” of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory who shall be an indigene of such State”.
However, the choice of who is to be appointed is solely and indisputably within the realm of the President’s personal discretion, which he may exercise probably in consultation with his key associates and party leaders.
It is a settled principle of law on the use of discretion that for the exercise of a discretionary power to be meaningful, effective and result-oriented, several collateral factors must be taken into consideration. Some of these include; team players to drive home logically the vision, mission and synergy of government and the ruling party, for those already enjoying an appointment, their ability to work with the state party and recognition of the supremacy of the national party and its leaders.
It is a fact that now that the presidential election has been won, nearly all APC elders/leaders in Bauchi state have gone into extensive lobbying for federal appointments to take Bauchi state slot with most of them accused of causing the defeat of the party at the gubernatorial election despite the commendable efforts put-in by Barrister M.A. Abubakar, the immediate past governor of the state.
I will wholeheartedly concede to Mr. President, the capacity/ability of those detractors to ceaselessly employ all manner of tactics, including blackmail, to lobby for positions/jobs, even when they know they have no capacity to perform creditably on those jobs.
It is, therefore, in realisation of this challenge, that one sounds this caution and to genuine APC leaders in Bauchi state who are the conscience of the party.
It is evident that having worked so hard to ensure the re-election of President Buhari in Bauchi as well as galvanise the APC in the state to remain a formidable force in the state, the immediate past governor of Bauchi state, Barrister MA Abubakar, possesses all the requisite qualifications and pedigree to be a ministerial nominee of Mr President.
It is on record that the former governor has done a lot to ensure not only the success of the APC in Bauchi state but has also been a die-hard loyalist of President Buhari, whose ideology and trajectory Abubakar has been fostering for decades. This singular pedigree of Barrister Abubakar is quite relevant in the desire for the Buhari government to succeed and also to address the multi-faceted development issues of the country.
However, it is disheartening to read the purported interview granted by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) through its long time ghost agents, Bauchi State Coalition Against Financial Crimes and Injustice (BACAFCI) and its acclaimed chairman, Alh. Bibi Dogo.
Dogo had reportedly urged President Buhari not to consider former Bauchi State Governor, Mohammed Abubakar, for any ministerial or political appointment. Let me preempt those who might have been misled by Dogo’s malicious allegations. I want to correct the misconception held by PDP that they cannot trigger President Buhari to appoint incompetent and unpopular people as ministers through undue influence.
It is rather curious that the campaign against the APC leader is becoming more stringent at the time the Presidency entreats him into mainstream national politics. The fact must be reinforced that despite the mischief and orchestrated campaign of calumny against his personality, Barrister Abubakar will not be deterred in his resolve to rescue Bauchi state from the hands of unscrupulous, over ambitious and corrupt-oriented politicians, whose bid is to ascend elective pinnacle by hook or crook. It is regrettable that the inordinate ambition of PDP to hold power has gone rather too far in its political mudslinging. I consider it most uncharitable for the party to use MA Abubakar as an alibi for its false promises.
It is quite appalling and nauseating that any group would seek to discredit Barrister Abubakar despite his overwhelming consensual endorsement for a ministerial position by various stakeholders in Bauchi state including the All Progressives Congress (APC) Elders Forum. The forum had called on President Buhari to disregard calls by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against the proposed appointment of ex-governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar as a minister. Addressing journalists in Bauchi recently, the chairman of the forum, Alhaji Bamanga Mohammed, and his secretary, Alhaji Mohammed Sani, urged President Buhari to consider people like former Bauchi governor, Abubakar, who stood by him and the party in the last election.
The elders said the ex-governor should be given the chance to serve the country in another capacity because of his loyalty to the party and the strategic role he played towards Mr President’s victory in the 2019 election.
“Any attempt to cause chaos or trouble in the state by any person or group of persons of whatever status or capacity will not be tolerated or condoned by us as elders of the state. Abubakar is the leader of APC in Bauchi state and is most qualified to represent the state as minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Those who want to scuttle his emergence as a member of Buhari’s second term cabinet do not mean the state well,” they said.
Meanwhile, a youth group, APC Youth Parliament, has called on President Buhari to nominate former Governor Abubakar as a minister. The Secretary General of the group, Comrade Nasiru Nuhu Cigari, at a press conference in Bauchi, urged President Buhari to ignore the calls against the appointment of Abubakar as a minister from Bauchi state. According to the group, the people making the calls against his appointment are out to denigrate him in the eyes of the public and divert attention from the real issues at stake in the state.
From the foregoing, therefore, it is pertinent to advise President Buhari to heed the voices of reason and nominate Barrister Abubakar as a minister of the Federal Republic in his next level government. It is a common saying that the voice of the people is the voice of God; this maxim is expressed in Latin as Vox Dei Vox Populi.
Yahaya writes from Bauchi, Bauchi state.