Waiting For The ‘Noisemakers’ | Independent Newspapers Limited
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COLUMNIST, Inside the Presidency

Waiting For The ‘Noisemakers’

Posted: Sep 20, 2015 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Inside The Presidency

While President Muhammadu Buhari was in France for the better part of last week, the Aso Rock Villa was relatively and understandably quiet. Since after the stormy days of Atiku Abubakar as the nation’s Number Two citizen in Nigeria’s recent political past, Vice-Presidents in the Villa have chosen to play the second fiddle very aptly. So, with the big fish away, the small fish had to play by the shores of the village stream.

 Even against such background, President Muhammadu Buhari still made waves while in France. Apart from telling the world he was negotiating with Boko Haram over the release of the Chibok girls, the President unveiled the heartache and frustration that had been bothering him, the constitutional requirement of him to appoint some ‘noisemakers’ in his cabinet disguised as Ministers.

 We all witnessed how he had been quite comfortable grilling Permanent Secretaries and Directors of various government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as they lined up the corridors of the Villa to brief him on the activities of their respective institutions. This has gone on for the past two months and the President concluded that these persons and other civil servants have been helping him run the country in the absence of Ministers, something he would gladly continue with if not for the Constitutional requirement to appoint a minimum of 36 noisemakers to increase the din at the Villa.

The President, in an interview with a French news agency, said; “the ministers are there, I think, to make a lot of noise; for the politicians to make a lot of noise. But the work is being done by the technocrats. They are there; they have to provide the continuity, dig into the records and then guide us who are just coming in.”

 With this kind of confession from the President, the anticipation and anxiety surrounding the nomination of ministers have certainly heightened. Who would these noisemakers be? It would be interesting to eventually unwrap these saints whose jobs have probably now been defined for them well ahead of time. Since those who ‘make noise’ are not generally known to be engaged in particularly edifying roles anywhere, wouldn’t they see themselves as walking on a board of broken bottles throughout their expected stay in the Villa? And this is after a lengthy and rigorous search for ministerial nominees.

 It can be unnerving working with a Buhari in the first instance, as you have to watch your every step. How more disconcerting can it be when you have already been identified as very dispensable! Notwithstanding this, I believe things can still go well. Afterall, it is reminiscent of the time former President Olusegun Obasanjo declared that he was not at all bound to take the advice of his numerous special advisers; and ex-President Goodluck Jonathan inferring that special advisers in government mostly blow hot air. Yet, both former leaders had to live with the fact they had to be part of his government. So, Buhari’s noisemakers are being eagerly awaited. 

 Although many have queried the President’s knack for loosening his tongue a little bit more to make big policy statements outside the shores of Nigeria, the important thing is that at least, we get to know what he is thinking. With his own end of September deadline approaching fast, I’m suspecting that the President is now wishing he had promised to unveil his cabinet in January and not this month. That would have extended the 100 days of honeymoon Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu expected Nigerians to give Buhari. Too late. We are eagerly waiting for the anointed ones who will come to showcase ‘change’ and make some ‘joyful noise’ around the Villa and the country.