They individuals served in past administrations, but not much has been heard about them long after they left their respective public positions. ELEOJO IDACHABA in this piece asks where they could be now.
Mohammed Abba Gana
Mohammed Abba Gana is the former minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) under Chief Olusegun Obasanjo between 2001 and 2003. He was the immediate predecessor of Malam Nasir El Rufai, the minister who spearheaded the restoration of Abuja Master Plan leading to demolition of several structures contrary to the plan of the city. After Chief Obasanjo dropped him from the cabinet in 2003, his deputy, Atiku Ibrahim, picked Gana as his personal adviser on civil society matters. He occupied that position for a while, but following the frosty relationship between Atiku and Obasanjo during their second tenure, he was again sacked by Obasanjo, on the ground that the presidency wanted to prune down the number of employees attached to the number two citizen’s office in order to reduce the cost of governance.”
However, he remained a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after then. It was under this Borno state-born politician as FCT minister that a lot of existing edifices in the nation’s capital were erected. Such include the second phase of the Federal Secretariat Complex, otherwise known as Bullet building, the second phase of the National Assembly building, Abuja National Stadium, Games Village, opening of new districts, Millennium Park, among others. Analysts say the blueprints for all that El Rufai did were actually drafted by Gana as minister of the territory. Gana, while reflecting on his days as minister and his working relationship with Obasanjo, said, “I never had any sour relationship while working with Obasanjo. I actually liked working with him because he gave me all the opportunities and I gave him respect being an elder to me. The reason he remains relevant up till now is that he is intelligent and diligent. He pays attention to details and he reads too. You know that reading improves the soul and cures the mind. During Ramadan, he fasted with us. His government was not all PDP; he brought Bola Ige from Alliance for Democracy (AD) and so many others from the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) as ministers, special assistants and chairmen; it was an inclusive government.”
This former minister who is now almost 78 years old says he spent the bulk of his life time working in the public service. While marking his 73 birthday few years back, he said, “I have been in the public service most of my life. Life in itself is meaningless unless you relate with people because God did not create us to be on our own. It is for us to live together, so do well whenever you can; make peace and avoid bitterness and anger. Know that the world would end and we would be accountable to God.’ There was no record of his defection from the PDP up till now that he appeared to have finally retired, but no one knows what he is doing now especially as he ‘claimed’ in one of his interviews during his 73 birthday that he would ever remain strong on national discourse. This is especially so as his region is about the most insecure in the country.
Musa Elayo is the minister of state for justice in the administration of late President Musa Yar’Adua. Former President Goodluck Jonathan inherited him when Yar’Adua died in office. Elayo from Nasarawa state was a member of the Peoples Democratic Party when he won election to represent his state in the House of Representatives, a position he occupied before he was nominated to join the cabinet of President Yar’Adua. As former justice minister, he led a team from the country to The Hague over the land and maritime border dispute between Nigeria and Cameroun in which Nigeria lost to Cameroun in 2012. On assuming office, he led a powerful delegation from the ministry to the family of the former slain minister of justice, Chief Bola Ige, where he condoled with them over his death with a firm promise that he would continue in the legacy project of the former minister. However, he was not allowed in office to do that as Jonathan removed him in a cabinet reshuffle. Elayo was a member of what the PDP called Front Runner Group in 2011 when Jonathan just came on board in acting capacity while preparing for the general election of that year. Speaking about that group and the likelihood of candidates success vying for the various elective positions, Elayo said, “The reform group believes that the delegates that are being made to elect our leaders are heavily tainted towards the people who occupy the positions of governor currently. Therefore, if you are standing for election as a member of the House of Assembly of a state or the National Assembly, the governors decide whether you can win the primary or not.” Long after this man left office, not much has been heard about him again, and it’s not clear whether he has left politics or joined the All Progressives Congress (APC) as was the practice.
Chief Dan Chuke was the minister of state for defence (Nigeria Air Force) in the administration of Chief Obasanjo’s first tenure. This was one of those portfolios created by that administration in order to reflect federal character principle and also satisfy the political leaning of the presidency then. He was earlier a minister in the Ministry of Special Duties before reassigned to defence. For Chuke who is from Anambra state, serving as junior minister under an iconic Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (retd.) as defence minister, not much was accomplished while he was there other than the fact that he was regular in the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meetings. For him as a trained engineer, it’s all about loyalty to the constituted authority; more so as the portfolio assigned to him was a strange terrain.
He, no doubt, left few legacies behind, for example, during the opening of NAF year 2002 annual shooting classification exercise which was held from June 12 to 14 in Keffi, Nasarawa state, he made it clear to the officers to be careful in the way they handle personal weapons while on official duties. This was when accidental discharge was in vogue within the ranks of the military brass and police. He left service following the end of that administration and since then has not returned to political limelight any longer. Besides, it is not clear if he is still a member of the PDP since his state (Anambra) has been controlled by the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) for years now.