Buhari And APC Members’ Cries For Rewards – By Ehichioya Ezomon
Are members and supporters of the All Progressives Congress about to be representatively rewarded for their labour in ensuring that Muhammadu Buhari, after three consecutive attempts, decisively secured the presidency in 2015?
The failure or reluctance of the president, to compensate the core members of the APC, has been attributed to the schism in the party, as it gears up for the 2019 general elections. It’s the reason the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), retired Colonel Hameed Ali, re-echoed the “monkey dey work, baboon dey chop” fable the other day.
Regretting that some, who played major roles for the APC to assume power, had not been appreciated, Ali propounded his own brand of democracy, which aligns with the principle of “winner-takes-all” thus: “When you come in (as the winning party), you shake off everybody and bring in your own. That is what democracy is all about… But today, we have members of PDP (Peoples Democratic Party) calling the shots. That is what we will begin to fight for. We will fight for our right position, our vision and our mission for this government.”
The Customs boss spoke in Abuja at the official commissioning of the national headquarters of the Buhari Support Organisations (BSO), whose National Coordinator, Dr. Ibrahim Bello Dauda, harped on appointments and gaining people’s trust because, “party business is a group business; it is a brotherhood; it is about people, and if you don’t compensate people, you will end up without people behind you.”
Many heavyweights that sweated for, and funded the APC and the Buhari campaign have continuously grumbled about being relegated in the president’s reckoning. Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar recently complained of being abandoned by President Buhari and the party.
The president’s wife, Aisha, was among the first to moan over her husband’s reported behaviour towards those that enabled his election. In a well-publicised interview on the BBC Hausa Service in Abuja in October 2016, Mrs. Buhari said, “The way things are going, I, too, I am not happy,” in reference to non-APC members populating the government.
According to her: “Firstly, it was people that brought the government into power. More than half of those people are not appointed into the government. Some people that are not politicians, not professionals were brought into the government. They don’t even know what we said we want and what we don’t during the campaign.
“They even come out and say to people, ‘We are not politicians,’ but they are occupying the offices meant for politicians… That is what I am saying: those that know they don’t have voters’ card, they should give chance to those that have; they are the ones that struggled and know what we want to do.”
Describing the outlook as “surprising; nobody thought it is going to be like this,” Mrs. Buhari affirmed that the president and herself did not know some of the appointed persons, who have allegedly “hijacked and are controlling the government.”
On Tuesday, November 14 in Abakaliki, during his official visit to Ebonyi State, President Buhari confirmed his wife’s assertion, saying, “Some of the people holding high positions in the government, like my ministers, will tell you that I didn’t know them from Adam. I just came across their names from the records and I worked with the records.”
Which is why Mrs. Buhari has urged the president to treat his supporters and APC members fairly, “because, in the future, whether he is going to contest or not, it is those same people that would vote for the APC.”
Well, President Buhari may have finally heard the cries of his people, and decided it was time to do the needful, by killing two birds with one stone, as he disclosed at the meeting of the National Executive Committee of the APC in Abuja on October 31.
His words: “Last year, I said we would re-constitute the boards of parastatals… Some of us in this meeting may know I had given instructions since October 2015 for this exercise to start. But there have been inordinate delays through several committees, in an attempt to get the balance right and to make sure all parts of the country are equitably represented.
“On the other hand, I am keenly aware that our supporters are very eager for these appointments to be announced. By the grace of God, these appointments will be announced soon. Especially now that the economy is improving, we will have the resources to cater for the appointees.
“By the same token, the compressed Federal Executive Council will be expanded to bring in more supporters at the federal level, with fresh ideas to be injected into the government.”
While it’s better late than never, the president should count it a blessing that his “instructions” to re-constitute the boards of parastatals had experienced “inordinate delays.” Perhaps, if carried out pronto, it would have been lopsided, as the previous ones under hammer lately, and thus, subject him to the charge of favouring his cronies, and people from a particular section of the country.
The hullaballoo that attended the publication of alleged 81 of 100 appointments going to Northerners, and government’s attempt at debunking the claim is a useful lesson for constituting the promised appointments with clinical efficiency that, indeed, “all parts of the country are equitably represented.” Anything short of this would be a huge letdown to all expectant APC members nationwide.
* Mr. Ezomon, Journalist and Media Consultant, writes from Lagos, Nigeria.
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