The Buhari administration has been accused severally of being slow, many even say it is overwhelmed by the problems on ground. Whereas I will agree that the magnitude of problems left behind by the past administration is indeed enormous, I will want to disagree with the notion that this administration is incapable of solving these problems.
President Buhari comes across as a meticulous leader who would prefer things are done properly rather than hurriedly. This meticulous nature reflects also in the appointments he has made so far. One of such appointment is that of Engr Babachir David Lawal as secretary to the government of the federation(SGF).
Babachir is a 1979 graduate of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. He is a seasoned professional who has distinguished himself both in the public and the private sector. Some schools of thought believe he actually got the appointment based on the testimony of his incorruptible nature.
His approach to work just like that of the president is not about noise making but about efficiency and results. Since Babachirs’ appointment I have been a keen follower of his actions, those within the presidency will attest to the changes he has brought to the office of the SGF since being appointed.
As soon as he was appointed one of his very first tasks was to preside over the smooth transition of permanent secretaries manning miniseries to the on boarding of minister plus the streamlining of ministries, departments and agencies(MDAs) in the federal government. This on paper may sound very easy but in actual practice without much noise yet achieve such seamlessly is a proof of the capacity of Babachir to superintend the office of the SGF .
A lot of work is being done to streamline operations in parastatals within the presidency and work has been ongoing on this successfully however quietly. I believe the office of the SGF requires a man with deep maturity, calmness and the integrity, these three attributes cannot be taken away from Babachir.
Though a lot of people have different ideas of who they think the SGF should be, I have heard several people say it should have this person or that person, no matter how valid they think their arguments for whoever they support are , one thing you can’t take away from Engr Lawal Babachir is the fact that his profile matches the job title adequately.
Whereas I would have preferred not to talk about them, but from past experience where in this country where people sat in the comfort of their bedroom cook up fairytale like lies and dish it out to the public, and most often they don’t need everyone to believe it, just a few will do, the few helps in spreading it and before we know it what may initially look like a joke that will go away become a topic of serious discussion.
Recently some compromised media organizations have gone ahead to sponsor allegations of graft against the person of the SGF without substantiating it, all just to discredit him. I laughed when I read one of such articles. Those who know Lawal Babachir well in his days in the private sector and also public service will attest to his integrity and how morally upright he is. He has been a friend of president Buhari for a while now, there is a popular saying that goes “show me your friend and I can tell who you are” President Buhari is very choosy about his friends, had Babachir any trace of what this detractors are alleging, I personally can assure you Buhari will not touch him with a long pole.
I could smell raw malice and mischief in the publications. If anyone really has a substance of evidence against the SGF why not approach the anti-corruption agencies with your proof, why hide behind faceless publications to discredit a man putting his utmost best into his work to deliver the change the president has promised Nigerians.
It is amazing that one of the issues his detractors raised is the issue of his cordiality with the opposition. Babachir understands his role as SGF very clearly, he knows he is not just the Secretary for APC alone but for the federal government of Nigeria as a whole, this is very clear to him. So whether you are PDP or APC , he continues to relate with everyone as a bridge builder that he is, which explains the popular support he has with key stakeholders across the country.
It was this bridge building character that worked for the SGF when he led the delegation that waded into the proposed strike by labour unions over the fuel price hike and I must say that his demeanor throughout the process was quite commendable. He navigated the process quite naturedly without raising much dust. I know a few people may still be aggrieved that their preferred candidates where not appointed, I do not think spreading falsehood to discredit the chosen one is the correct approach.
The position of Secretary to the government of the federation is always critical to the success or otherwise of any administration, Since democracy returned in 1999, The office of the SGF have wielded so much powers, from Uffot Ekaette, to Babagana Kingibe, to Yayale Ahmed, to Pius Anyim you will agree that this men wielded enormous powers within the presidency, some of them where even nicknamed prime ministers. Lawal Babachirs humility in this position is therefore uncommon in this position. He is a man with a very balanced attitude toward life and work.
I think we need a man of wisdom and maturity like Lawal Babachir to manage the proposed change and reforms that the government plans to deploy to the operations of the presidency. Very soon government will be constituting the boards of several agencies and parastatals, new heads will be appointed, this entire task will majorly be spearheaded by the office of the SGF. I those throwing Mud on his white garment will now for the sake of Nigeria sheath their swords and let him concentrate on the enormous task ahead.
Abiodun is a public affairs commentator and writes from Ibadan, Nigeria.