At the just concluded All Progressives Congress National Executive Committee meeting, President Muhammadu Buhari announced his intention to expand his cabinet as well as make appointments into boards. Some are in support while others think otherwise.
Dr. Ibrahim Bello Dauda is the national coordinator of Buhari Media Support Organisations (BSO)
How would you react to President Buhari’s plan to expand his cabinet?
If President Buhari was to run as an independent candidate today then he would have the freedom to do whatever he wishes to in terms of appointments but as he is where he is today based on the party structure that manages people, there is that responsibility and obligation to the party and above all, he needs his loyalists – people who believe in his philosophy and who believe in his vision.
If you appoint people into government who do not believe in your government, vision and philosophies, the tendencies are that they would either work against you or frustrate your vision because it is only people who believe in your vision that can actually work to get those visions fulfilled. So, there must be a connection between appointments, trust and loyalty to the principal.
Many party chieftains believe that the President has not had a good working relationship with the APC to the extent that the party does not make input into the government appointments, who should be blamed for that?
You see, this is the first time an opposition party is coming into government. PDP was there since 1999 and they succeeded themselves so many times. Now, ANPP, ACN or CPC had never been in power at the centre before, so you will discover that there is a lot of learning process and part of that learning process is the gaps you see in relationship.
When we came in, we came under the platform of ACN, CPC, ANPP, etc Now, those factors played a little while after 2015 even though we are APC but internally there were elements of going back to where l am coming from in us. The CPC, the ACN, ANPP cliques and the rest of them. That affected the internal structure. Those who have gotten themselves appointed got themselves inclined more to their traditional party before they were merged as the APC to the detriment of other groups.
If any person was appointed he got inclined to his first party colleagues. So it took time for everybody in real terms to look at all of us as APC and divorce our initial party affection. So, within that confusion, it affected the party.
Secondly, this issue of PDP people in APC government also affected the system. But like l said, when we came in the priority of the President was security because that was the issue that was in dire need of attention. Nobody in Nigeria cared for anything excerpt first to be secured. Bombs were going off everywhere and killings were going on rampantly. Nobody was safe and you didn’t know what would happen tomorrow. So, he devoted the first year of his government to manage security, which he did very well.
Was it like a learning process and consolidation for the President?
The President has his own fault, l cannot say he does not have a fault. The party has its own fault. So, it is a fifty-fifty blame scenario. Because when it comes to the board appointment you heard the President saying that he gave instructions since 2015 for the party to compile names and bring forward those names because he wanted fairness and recognized the party’s relationship.
If the President wanted to shut out the party out he would have just sat in the Villa and get 3 or 4 persons to do it for him but he said no that the party should come in and bring the people who have worked to bring the party into power and the party couldn’t do it. How was that the fault of the President? But as a leader he has to accept the blame. The party would not come out to tell you that we also had our problem because we refused to agree on who should be on the list and who shouldn’t be. But l am happy that with the last APC NEC these things have been brought to an end and we are going to move forward.