Highlights

WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO TELL MR. PRESIDENT

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I would like Buhari to instruct the chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal to derail from his troublesome and seemingly guided prosecution and alleged persecution of the senate president because his motive is suspect. It has created the impression that the president is settling scores with his senate president, landing Nigeria into a familiar quagmire where the president is now suspected to be using the war against corruption against those who may have provoked him. One may recall that there are those who have claimed even before the Saraki development that the president’s war against corruption was discriminatory. These diminish the public perception of Presidebt Buhari’s integrity. It encourages the perception that the country has fallen into the grip of yet another mean spirited general and causes one to wonder why the president can not see how these developments can overheat the polity and sunder the ruling party.It is really inconceivable that any officer of this government would have the effrontery to prosecute the senate president without the approval, tacit or otherwise of some higher power. Since the president has refused to express confidence in his senate president until the conclusion of his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, there is no further need to suppose that the docking of the senate president does not have his approval.
The president has also contradicted himself. Having released his list of ‘noise makers’, a definition he gave to ministers, he moved to charm legislators, granting the endangered senate president his first real meeting with the president, leaving the nation to wonder why the presidential stickler for no compromise with corruption will make such a sacrifice in order to get a soft landing for his ministerial niminees. Why stoop to conquer in order to influence the senate, why try to charm PDP senators if indeed Mr. President had spent the last three months searching for men and women with a clean record. Should he not have expressed his confidence in these nominees by abstaining from lobbying senators to provide a soft landing for his nominees. Good wine needs no bush. The list however shows that the president did not search as deeply as Nigerians were led to believe. The matter of a clean record must now be put aside.
There are no angels on the ministerial list. Does that mean that Buhari finally understands the need to be pragmatic? Why else did he in the first place decide to leave the dogs of Haliburton well alone? Former Senate President Ken Nnamani has a way of taking liberties, asking PMB to go after the Haliburton gang. Cheeky. Surely, Nnamani knows better than to disturb sleeping dogs. Perhaps, he suspects that Buhari has always been pragmatic but the political masters of his 2015 elecroral campaign chose to dress him in the borrowed robes of an avenging angel against corruption. No wonder the search for angelic ministers has met a brick wall. Please, this matter is for flesh and blood.
The president also needs to be proactive about diversifying the economy. He says so but does different by appropriating the petroleum ministory. Symbols matter. He should have appropriated the agriculture ministry to underline the importance of diversifying the economy. It should be critical. What is the priority for Mr. President, one may well ask ? Is the sharing of the crude-oiled national cake more important than the need for aggressive diversification of the economy? Should Nigeria cling cluelessly to the dwindling oil economy? Surely, there is no alternative to growing the economy by massive private sector driven industrialization. The sooner the better. The president’s towering strength of character alone can not bring Nigeria out. The administratuon needs a comprehensive economic plan. Perhaps, there is one but not yet quite publicised. When the minister of finance finally takes his seat, he may need a few more months to settle down.
I wish however to congratulate the President Muhammadu Buhari on his most important achievement so far. I think that most Nigerians would agree that bringing down the pump price of petrol to N87 has had the greatest impact in this car economy. Even the most hardened exploiters among gas stations are now humbly or fearfully selling at the magic price though I noted last week that a certain station had begun fiddling with their meter. Even as I enjoy this respite and hail PMB for it, I can’t help wondering how he will reconcile this smiling development with the feared removal of fuel subsidy still lurking in the agenda.I hear however that further fall in brent crude pricing will at once eliminate subsidy and impoverish Nigeria. The President must have a plan.

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