- Exclusive insight into the incoming government’s unusual leadership styles
By Maryam Musa
In barely four weeks from now a change of guard will be witnessed across Nigeria. Precisely on May 29tha historic transfer of power will take place. On that day 16 odd years of unbroken rulership by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will cease, with a brand new administration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) mounting the saddle for the next four years.
Ahead of the inauguration of the new administration led by president – elect General Mohammed Buhari, many have been itching to have an inkling of what the government of the former Head of State would do and wouldn’t do. What for instance, will be the Buhari administration’s policies on agriculture, the graft-riddled oil sector, education, the security challenges confronting the country, the hydra-headed monster called corruption, and so on?
So far, not much has been revealed by the retired Army General – turned – politician. But from the few facts that have filtered out so far, and based on the exclusive insight provided by some of the new president’s closest lieutenants and party insiders, DESERT HERALD has been able to piece together a comprehensive ‘dossier’ on how Buhari plans to run his government.
“The first and foremost thing will be an emphasis on due process and the rule of law in the truest sense of these words”, a long – standing lieutenant of the new president informed this medium during our Board of Editor’s recent visit to Buhari in his Daura, Katsina State residence. “Having learnt quite a lot from the charges of alleged high – handedness leveled against him (during his stint as Head of State) he has resolved that if nothing else his incoming administration would stand out as one that operates within the ambits of the law”.
So passionate is Buhari about this particular plank of his incoming government, we gathered, that a code of conduct of sorts is being prepared for his would-be Ministers and other political appointees. Aside from obliging them to stick to due process and rule of law in the discharge of their responsibilities, the code, among others, also reportedly bars them from frivolous foreign trips and from accepting awards, titles and the like during their tenure. This is in addition to compelling them to publicly disclose their assets before and immediately after leaving office. Furthermore, any of his political appointees who is called to account either by the Federal legislators or the judiciary must come clean (rather than resort to legal Shenanigans), according to a source familiar with the said code of conduct.
The need to wage an unrelenting war against corruption – one of the rallying cries of his election campaign – “would be demonstrated from the very beginning by virtue of the sort of persons he intends to make his Attorney General and Minister of Justice on the one hand, and the heads of the anti – corruption agencies on the other,” disclosed another lieutenant who asked not to be named as he was not authorized to speak on the matter.
According to him, the anti-graft crusade under Buhari’s watch will be fought primarily by strengthening the institutions already in place. “He (Buhari) is of the belief that with a strong institution – he specifically emphasizes what he calls ‘strong and unfettered anti-corruption institutions’ – the rest would be easier. So much so that as part of the template for his would – be appointees, any of them who is indicted for graft or such crimes at any time during his tenure, must first of all resign in order to clear his name, before any other thing”.
Beyond the anti-corruption campaign, Buhari’s principal preoccupation now is reportedly how to pick is “dream team” from the myriad of recommendations flooding his desks in Daura, Kaduna and Abuja. Although he has conceded to his party (APC) and other stakeholders the privilege to nominate those that want him to appoint as ministers and heads of agencies, the General has made it very clear that such persons must be credible and competent technocrats, another source informed this medium.
Keenly aware that his political appointees could go on a long way in making or destroying his government, Buhari has reportedly emphasized transparency, integrity and competence as the essential qualifications which all his would-be appointees must possess. Among those being considered for sensitive cabinet positions, we gathered, are the former education minister, Oby Ezekwesili, ex-minister of communication and former PDP chairman, Audu Innocent Ogbeh, and Kano State Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso, to mention just a few.
One area that desperately needs the incoming president’s intervention is the North-east .devastated by many years of Boko Haram’s scorched- earth terrorism. This region yearns for a “Marshal plan” to get back on its feet. Addressing a group of the region’s leaders penultimate weeks Buhari said his administration would, for a start, ensure a speedy and decisive defeat of the insurgents.
Aside from doing that the entire new government will do everything to revive the region’s prostrate economy, he will also re-activate the Lake Chad Basin and deploy sizeable resource to resume the search for crude oil along the Chad Basin, particularly in parts of Borno State.
One particularly agenda that may become source of pride to majority of Nigerians is the new president’s determination to end the culture of impunity and “business as usual.” In line with this resolve, Buhari’s soon- to-be- installed government is expected to put an end to the unprecedented looting of this country’s oil resources (as epitomized by the scandalous corruption in NNPC), and block the industrial – scale wastage and extravagance by government officials in general and political appointees in particular, thereby significantly reducing the cost of governance, among other far-reaching policies.