Buhari Ministers Are Puppets, Say PPP Boss, House Minority Leader | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Buhari Ministers Are Puppets, Say PPP Boss, House Minority Leader

Posted: Feb 29, 2016 at 5:08 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Tony Ezimakor, Abuja

The need to grow strong institutions as vehicle for change has again come to the fore, just as the elevation of personalities as cult heroes is being seen as undemocratic and could spell doom for the collective aspiration of the country.

Specifically, political watchers say the current elevation of President Muhammadu Buhari as a cult personality will bode ill for the country as he may want to pull the cart of development at his whim.

The growing consensus now sees Buhari increasingly appropriating a superman toga in his government, while his ministers are fast becoming mere puppets in the Villa.

Damian Ogbonna, the national chairman of Progressive Peoples Party (PPP) and Hon. Leo Ogor, minority leader in the House of Representatives have cautioned on the dangers of turning the president to a cult personality where it appears only him can do no wrong and he alone has solution to all of Nigeria’s problems.

Damian Ogbonna is of the view that the rigid disposition of the president will not bring out the best from his ministers, who otherwise are knowledgeable and tested to be able to make positive impact.

“If what we hear is anything to go by, the president decides everything. As far as I know, the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, when they hold, is no longer what people think it to be, it is window dressing”.

He maintained that the president was running a one-man show and that even ministers are afraid to trade their views in the open to avoid any backlash.

Leo Ogor shares the same opinion, noting that APC, as a party, has just come to realise the enormity of its electoral promises but instead of bracing up for solutions is seeking easy way out by blaming the immediate past administration.

“Today what we have are men and women of proven abilities who are being made to look like school children waiting for instructions from their head teacher before they move an inch. And for APC to justify its continuous failing, it has to resort to witch-hunting and harassment of the former president and his party members. If anybody coughs, it is Jonathan.

“If anyone has headache, it is Jonathan. I thought the body language of Mr President was the one that improves electricity. How come his body language has not been able to save the economy or rather bring the naira to a position we probably expect it to be – a naira to the dollar? We felt that there was a new sheriff in town and the sheriff was going to turn the economy around,” he sneered at the ruling party.

Immediate past National Secretary of Labour Party, Barrister Kayode Ajulo, is also not happy with the rigid stance of the president. According to him, President Buhari’s stance on national issues is anti-democratic, saying that even his ministers and aides have the tendency of being infested with the attitude of their principal.

Ajulo said: “The truth must be told, President Buhari is not providing the right leadership, his stance is anti-democracy and this is providing lead for his subordinates, ministers, aides and others.”

Stakeholders who, at the weekend, took a look at the slow pace of recovery of the nation’s economy and unending battering of the local currency despite policies initiated by the central bank to firm up the naira and stimulate growth, were of the opinion that the ramrod disposition of President Muhammadu Buhari was not helping matters.

They argued that the president’s unbending disposition in matters relating to the economy and lack of cohesive strategy to drive the change agenda of the APC government is stifling initiative of even members of the Federal Executive Council, with negative consequences for the economy.

For instance, Buhari has remained resolute in his stance against pressure to devalue the naira, on grounds that Nigeria is an import dependent economy. Sound as that argument is, stakeholders are cautious that the cult of infallibility being created around Buhari by the ruling party may in the end drive a wedge in decisions that should ordinarily benefit the masses.

According to Ajulo, the economy would continue to flounder unless President Buhari was ready to reassure the world that he would rule in accordance to the law.

“What is the essence of doing business with a country that doesn’t obey the law of the land?” Ajulo wondered. The former labour party scribe asked what had been done in bringing back the international financial institutions that withdrew from Nigeria at the inception of the Buhari administration?

Ajulo said: “When a war has selective injuries or casualties, it is no longer a war but assassination or lynching. And that’s what this Buhari’s so called war against corruption is all about, just aimed at the denigration and lynching of only Goodluck Jonathan and his political associates.

“The truth is any right thinking and objective person has long seen this anti-corruption posture of this regime as a total fraud, vendetta, and lacking any iota of credibility. On the whole, one is left to wonder if President Buhari, his good intentions notwithstanding, has taken upon himself a responsibility so huge to bear in his goal to fix Nigeria. That common saying ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’ is very instructive here, and the president would do well to take the agitations of the people to heart.

“The tell-tale signs are everywhere as there is growing discontent, even amongst his army of supporters and well-wishers. His own party chieftains appear befuddled by the president’s choices and actions daily. These signs are ominous, and we would do well to heed them.

“Let it be known, however, that a criticism of the president’s performance so far is no way an admission of angst against the person of the president. It is an incontrovertible fact that democracies need active opposition to thrive, and loyalty to one’s nation should always supersede loyalty to personalities. Indeed without an active opposition, the democratic system cannot work, citizens are robbed of choices and the government is less accountable to the people.

“It is the duty of every citizen to beam a searchlight on every step taken by government to ensure that the government delivers on its pledges and promises. Most critics of this administration are driven by a fierce love for the nation; for me, it is nothing personal, and my interventions are inspired by a desire to see President Buhari succeed thereby alleviating the sufferings of Nigerians across the land.” Saying that the failure of President Buhari would mean grievous set-back to this nation, he recalled the president’s current approach to leadership was bringing back the spectre of the August 1985 coup d’etat speech by General Joshua Nimyel Dongoyaro.

He said Dongoyaro’s coup speech had continued to haunt those who remember the events that led to the ouster of General Buhari as Head of State.

“Those who are free from the effects of self-imposed amnesia would remember that certain unbending postures displayed by the junta in power then were counted as reason for the coup,” he said, adding that it would require eternal vigilance on the part of Nigerian citizens to ensure that a re-enactment of that era is not thrust upon us again.