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These final hours of “Mai gaskiya’s” Kakistocracy



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By Tunde Olusunle

The title of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s account of his stewardship as Nigeria’s President kept plodding in my mind as I thought through a heading for this piece. Nigeria’s third President of the Fourth Republic authored My Transition Hours, which was published in 2018. It captures the breathtaking frenzy and flurry of activities and developments preceding, and immediately following his contest with the outgoing President, Muhammadu Buhari, at the 2015 presidential poll. The mean-spirited theatrics, confounding shenanigans, spontaneous alliance-switches and cross-carpeting, blatant betrayals, in the aftermath of his loss at the election are encapsulated in the book.

The two terms of four years each totalling eight years during which Buhari superintended over Nigeria, have gradually but assuredly diminished. Years, thinned down to months, months into weeks, weeks into days, the countdown has come down to hours, practically. Effectively, Buhari’s dispensation is in its final hours even if he conveys the timing of his exit, as imperative in “a few days.” Buhari indeed creates the impression that his job has been a pressure cooker which has exceeded boiling point and he cannot wait to return to his ranch in Daura and the annex in Maradi.

The last few days have been action-packed for Buhari. He has been busy with the commissioning of a harvest of projects initiated and driven by the private sector, and his administration, respectively. The $19 Billion Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical Plant in Lekki, Lagos, headlined the final hours of tape-cutting, Monday May 22, 2023. Aliko Dangote, President of the Dangote Group, is perhaps Nigeria’s most committed, Africa-centric and adventurous investor whose hands are in many pies in the nation’s socioeconomic development. His interests among others include manufacturing, construction, commerce and agriculture. The Dangote Refinery may be Africa’s single largest investment in petroleum development in a long time. It is yet another private sector-led initiative to boost the nation’s economy.

Tuesday May 23, 2023, Buhari commissioned eight major infrastructural projects across the country. Seven of them handled by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, received louder amplification than the eighth. The Second Niger bridge, christened after Buhari; the Loko-Owetto bridge linking Nasarawa, Benue and states in the South East and South South, and the Ikom bridge in Cross River State, were all commissioned. New federal secretariats in Anambra, Bayelsa and Zamfara states, and the Kaduna-Kano segment of the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano roads, were similarly commissioned. Buhari opted to commission the brand new “Customs House” located in Abuja on the same day, as information technology allowed for his virtual, simultaneous, real-time opening of the non-Abuja domiciled projects.

This rash of valedictory ceremonials are proceeding parri passu with various events scheduled for the Commander-in-Chief by his primordial constituency, the military, these last days, these final hours. The goal is to reengineer our collective consciousness to actually think that Buhari, has been a rare breed conscientiously committed leader, who should be eternally venerated for heroic exploits in statecraft and national development. We must not allow ourselves to be distracted from the reality that Buhari has presided over a debilitating kakistocracy over the last eight years. Buhari rode into power after three previous unsuccessful attempts in 2015, on the crest of presumed integrity, assumed frugality and touted believability. He earned the sobriquet of Mai Gaskiya, the honest one. He was profiled as that desired transformational leader who will turn things around in the fractious polity and discombobulated economy.

Buhari’s suspect capacity, however, was first gleaned from his tentativeness in assembling a team to work with him. Elected in March 2015 and inaugurated in May of the same year, it was not until November that year that Buhari began piecemeal submission of the names of his prospective ministers to the National Assembly for processing. Indeed, in the course of Buhari’s prevarication, the nation’s economy took a southward descent into depression, the first of at least two such negative economic growths under his jurisdiction. Public expectations about the impeccably qualified and ultra-competent Nigerians Buhari assured he will integrate into his administration, waned immediately the “usual suspects” emerged on his A list.

Governments before Buhari purposefully headhunted and deployed the Ngozi Okonjo-Iwealas, Chukwuma Soludos, Magnus Kpakols, Amina Mohammeds, Arunma Otehs, Akinwumi Adesinas, and so on in nation building and economic reconstruction. It is testament to their impeccable competencies, that many of them have moved up to higher responsibilities in global organisations. There were, however, no surprises when Buhari constituted his cabinet with many of the least suitable and competent operators, thus engendering a veritable kakistocracy, populated in the main by mediocres. There is perhaps no better validation of this assertion than the manner the country has fumbled and floundered over the past eight years, sometimes tethering on the brink.

A post on the social media by one Sanusi Dantata which has been trending for a few days now, almost summarises the epochal dysfunction of the Buhari government. This is in stark counterpoint to the facade of “landmark and legacy” achievements the regime serenades itself with. Says Sanusi Dantata: “If wishes were horses, I’d wish Muhammadu Buhari would drive from Abuja to Daura on Monday the 29th of May, instead of flying! He’d have the chance to see the infrastructure he has built, the insecurity he has addressed, the economy he has revamped and the youths he has provided opportunities for!” Dantata in this singular sentence effectively puts a pin on the helium balloon of the Buhari dispensation’s penchant for narcissism. Nigeria has never had it so bad.

Buhari’s government put a deliberate knife through our institutions such that standards, processes and best practices have been thrown to the hounds. We have a servile and complicit legislature whose members queue like school children for photo opportunities with the president, in a parliament which rubber-stamps any and every request from the president. The judiciary is wholly subservient in a Buhari era which sanctions the Gestapo-style nighttime invasion of the homes of forthright judges and justices, and intentionally sets up a Chief Justice for compulsory retirement. The Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), is anything but independent. It takes orders from extraneous authorities about who to give a ticket, who to disqualify from a contest, where to simulate “inconclusive elections,” and who to gift with “Certificates of Return.”

It is common knowledge that the level of pilferage of public funds under Buhari, has long surpassed whatever was alleged to have taken place in preceding governments constituted by the Peoples’ Democratic Party, (PDP). Buhari legitimised a sadaka poverty alleviation strategy, under which money is virtually thrown into the streets for the needy to pick up. Where on earth is the precedent to Buhari’s tradermoni example, where government officials go around distributing N10,000 to select traders in marketplaces in the name of economic revamp? Where is the precursor to the Special Works Programme, (SPW), powered by the Labour ministry, where names of youths from across the country were compiled and they were each paid N20,000 per month for three months, for doing absolutely nothing, in the name of job creation? The COVID-19 pandemic which spilled well into 2020, precipitated large-scale stealing of public funds under the dubious cover of palliatives procured for the generality of the people. Accounts say that Sadiya Umar Farouq’s Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, received funds in excess of N500 Billion for the palliatives, which never reached “the people” and which was not accounted for.

Aviation and Aerospace Minister, Hadi Sirika recently launched 10 firefighting vehicles distributed to various airports in the country, each costing a whopping N1.2 Billion! The same Sirika has just hurriedly concessioned the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, (NAIA), Abuja, and the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, (MAKIA), Kano, for periods of 20 and 30 years respectively. According to reports, about $800 Million will accrue to the nation’s coffers from the deal, even as many have queried the secrecy which attended the transaction and why it was left till the final hours of the Buhari era. The National Population Commission, (NPC), recently reported that a staggering N200 Billion had been spent preparing for the recently postponed national headcount. Should the incoming administration be keen on a national census, it may have to begin from the scratch despite the previous investment of N200 Billion in the exercise.

These Buhari’s final hours, government expenses totalling N22 Trillion, hitherto financed through “ways and means” by the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN), were approved by the National Assembly. There’s been disquiet in the lower parliament, however, because its leadership was said to have received $15 Million “to ensure smooth sail” for the approval granted the executive branch of government. This is happening in Buhari’s final hours. Days ago, Buhari presented a request for the approval of a loan of $800 Million, to finance public intervention strategies for the poor and vulnerable, in the event of the removal of fuel subsidy. The departing president has also shifted the responsibility for the removal of the subsidy to the incoming government. You then wonder why he is nonetheless insistent on procuring the facility.

The much disparaged Jonathan administration increased electricity power generation beyond 5000 megawatts in 2015. It has plummeted below 3000 megawatts under Buhari which at its inception, promised to fix power within six months. Notably, the receding government has supposedly expended $7.5 Billion within the period, a practical waste against the backdrop that the sector remains comatose. This is just as this government
continually castigates the Olusegun Obasanjo Jonathan/Umaru Yar’Adua governments for deploying a fictional $16 Billion on the same infrastructure. It came to public knowledge days ago, that senior civil servants in the power sector, had arranged a “send-off party for themselves, these final hours of Buhari’s sojourn. A dozen of them colluded to misappropriate tens of billions of naira, allocated to revamp the troubled infrastructure. In one instance, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), tracked N23 Billion to the bank account of a bureau de change operator, who was requested to convert the loot into foreign currency.

Wednesday May 24, 2023, Buhari wrote to the National Assembly seeking approval to pay “judgment debts” to the tune of N226 Billion; $556 Million, and £98.5 Million, respectively! The hawks and hounds around Buhari, are better schooled and skilled in street wisdom, than their principal. They know he has long lost touch with contemporaneity in many ways and resides predominantly in the recesses of time. They have since invented sustainable tricks and tactics to keep him eternally comfortable and contented, savouring flavoured, floral breeze in the Disney land glamour of State House. There, he routinely picks his teeth in visible satisfaction as is captured in that very iconic photograph of him which keeps making the rounds in the social media. This knowledge of their boss, liberates them to run scams and schemes, rackets and veiled robberies behind his back. In the more recent incident, some state official(s) deliberately and studiously watched the contentious “judgment debts” if any, spiral beyond 12- digit commitments. They chose when to strike by stalling until the final hours of Buhari’s visitation, before placing the request before him. Their slices of the pie of course, are safe and secure in the hands of their offshore collaborators.

Waking up on Tuesday May 30, 2023 to the reality that Buhari has finally proceeded to his hometown, will come as welcome relief to several millions of Nigerians. Typically ingenious Nigerians have suggested that all our countrymen who go through the Buhari scourge unscathed, should deservedly be awarded “Certificates of Survival!” That would seem imperative given the unsparing furnaces of hunger, poverty, stagnation, insecurity, kidnappings, killings, near-deaths, helplessness, hopelessness and despair Nigerians have passed through these past eight years. Characteristically, Buhari is a blame-passer who seldom accepts responsibility for official misconduct and minimum governance. In this instance, however, he will have no option but to live with the reality that he posted an aggregate score far below public expectation. The endeavours and failures of his government, all bear his imprimatur as the leader of this better forgotten epoch.

So long for Buhari’s kakistocratic dispensation.

Tunde Olusunle, PhD, poet, journalist, scholar and author is a Member of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, (NGE)

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Tinubu’s Cabinet Of Controversy




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By Zainab Suleiman Okino

In all ramifications, it appears the euphoria and excitement that greeted President Bola Tinubu’s assumption of office are gradually ebbing away. Quite expectedly, having started with the tough decisions of fuel subsidy removal and floating of the forex, the President now needs to do more and urgently too.

Both policies have since worsened the woes of the Naira and Nigerians. From accusation of being surrounded by “Lagos boys”, (his cabinet as Lagos State Governor between 1999 to 2003), to policy somersaults to somehow nepotistic appointments (and vengeful dismissal of some CEOs), questions are being asked about Tinubu’s pro-people and pan-Nigerian credentials.

He started with politically correct appointments. The geographical spread of his service chiefs was received positively. His swift policy statements, though criticized, were timely, compared with the sordid silence of his predecessor.

The misnomer became apparent during ministerial nominations flip-flopping into high-wire politics that led to a ministerial nominee in person of former Governor Nasir El-Rufai being dropped at the last minute over a so-called security report after screening. We also witnessed how a nominee from Kano State, Maryam Shetty was refused screening by the senators after she was already seated at the National Assembly lobby, which showed clearly a scene from the playbook of Ganduje’s dirty politics under Tinubu’s government.

Two former governors were appointed to man the Ministry of Defence; former Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State, was downgraded to serve as a junior minister under his colleague, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, former governor of Jigawa state. Looks so incongruous. Some MDAs were “reorganized”, and we expected a more compact arrangement. But what did we get? Some ministries were boosted and some downgraded. To which end, except to favour some ministers and appoint others to less juicy or relegated ministries, just to satisfy constitutional provision. Tokenism? Maybe.

The result was a boosted aviation sector renamed Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development under the supervision of an equally controversial figure, Festus Keyamo, while the Ministry of Transportation was debased and can safely be called ministry of railway, after the removal of everything maritime like NIMASA, NPA, Shippers’ Council etc now under the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy.

Indeed, inconsistency in pronouncements came too early in this administration. Tinubu made history when he reshuffled a cabinet that was yet to be inaugurated. Engineer Abubakar Momoh was redeployed from Ministry of Youth to Ministry of Niger Delta that the president hitherto ignored.

Imagine the embarrassment that followed the declaration by the UAE government, that they are yet to resolve and reverse their visa ban on Nigerians, after the President’s spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale went to town to announce same. Propaganda should have limits. Why the hurry? To impress who? The disinformation has since taken the shine off the president’s diplomatic engagement with his UAE counterpart. So, after the UAE denunciation, where exactly are we now?

Tinubu does not seem bothered about over-bloated personnel costs or reducing the cost of governance. For the first time, Nigeria now has almost 50 ministers under its low per capital income of 5,200 PPP dollars in 2021 compared to USA’s 25 ministers and per capita income of 70,480 PPP dollars as at 2021.

Consequently, Nigerians have resigned to fate that they may never have pro-people government in their lifetime, since most of the policy initiatives of the new government favour only the rich, the haves, high-end businesses and high class of people and interests. It is obvious that the president must have made many commitments to friends and associates, who in his own estimation must be fixed, regardless of an ailing economy like ours.

Still smarting from all these came the issue of lopsided appointments, which we thought we had seen the last of after Buhari. The protests over Tinubu’s skewed appointments started from “home”, when a group from the Southwest accused him of appointing only people from Lagos contrary to the notion that Yorubas had an edge in his government.

Last weekend, evidence of such slanted appointments went viral. Critics reeled out at least 20 consequential appointments from the Southwest including MDAs like Justice, Finance, Customs, Police, FIRS, Immigration, NIMC, CBN, Power, Digital Economy, COAS, Maritime, Interior and Communications in the president’s kitchen cabinet. Muslim groups like MURIC have also cried out complaining that Christians hold key economic positions. The cry of marginalization has always been part of governance and politics in our clime, and Tinubu is not in a hurry to end it.

In addition to his hard-to-swallow economic direction, Tinubu’s choice of appointees is somehow causing concerns among the elite too. Without a semblance of inclusion and symbolism, the people feel let down by a president they thought was going to be pan-Nigerian, gradually becoming provincial, in deeds, even though appointments only enrich the beneficiaries while the conditions of ordinary people remain unchanged.

I believe competence and capacity should be uppermost in considering people for appointments, but I also know that all regions or ethnic groups harbour such competent people among them. Going forward, the president should be more circumspect, and look elsewhere instead of his “household” in a delicate balancing act that Nigeria needs, and which will surely give him (Tinubu) more support and goodwill. No matter how inconsequential he thinks these issues are, they have already got tongues wagging. As a minority myself, I can’t help but notice this potentially damaging and divisive subject in our polity.

Already an internal revolt is brewing in APC over Tinubu’s style of leadership and appointments. In what a group called “yorubanization of the current APC government”, the “APC members in Coalition for a United Nigeria (CUN)”, said “86% of the critical appointments made so far have been people from your (Tinubu) geopolitical zone, the Southwest.

Moreso, to our greater bewilderment is the fact that 90% of these people are your “Lagos boys”, imploring the president to “drastically balance this prejudice by giving attention to other regions outside the Southwest”. If members of the party are disappointed in their government, what do you expect from the rest of the country?

Okino, is the chairperson of Blueprint Editorial Board, a fellow of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (FNGE), her syndicated column appears on News Point Nigeria newspaper on Thursdays. She can be reached via:

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Essentials of institutional effectiveness, transparency and accountability as panacea for good governance




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Why would I think I can PROFFER A CURE FOR the ailing systems in the governance of our great nation? At least a good man can try, I have for over period of time now perused the thought —consistently- of the possibility of good governance, at least good governance, not great or excellent governance- even though that is easily achievable using the same principles for good governance- but at least we would do well to appreciate good governance in our good homeland of Nigeria, before I go on ranting about my thoughts, my people let me be quick to return to the subject of our discuss; “the essentials of institutional effectiveness, transparency and accountability as a panacea for good governance”.

Let take a deep breadth as we explore this topic, the irony of the truth is that The Panacea for good government is good governance, there is no hard and fast route about it, here we have a few of its components in institutional effectiveness, transparency and accountability, Good governance is like the proverbial good deed you give it and it comes right back at you, what is governance? Governance is simply the manner or style of government practiced in a particular location; in this case (our case) it is democratic government, which is a government of the people for the people by the people so good governance would be a complete cycle of the being a government elected by the people and then the delivery of the goods of its governance for the people (who duly elected the ones in governance), which would have to take us back to an even more important question for good governance to be anticipated, are the people in government democratically elected?

This question alone helps us to see that institutional effectiveness is first of all key in attaining good governance, as the question poised above is in reference to institution the Electoral Body, in our case INEC.

So what are the essentials of effectiveness for institutions to live up to expectation?

  1. Key and Competent Personnel: – not just getting the competent people but getting the right people for the right places.
  2. Policy Guided operations according to the institutions’ founding principles.
  3. Ethical interpretation of Law and legal processes
  4. Ethical Operations, Management and of all activities
  5. Optimization of standards with International acceptable modus operandi
    In addition to the above with the afore mentioned virtues of Accountability and transparency, good governance is left from aspirations to affirmative reality; Accountability is the act of being held responsible for your actions this helps to hold good governance players responsible for their actions in tandem with institutions, which is why the first factor is very important, and finally being transparent, being frank, firm and open, saying exactly what one means and meaning what one says, this when institutions and people in them say what they mean and mean what they say, not with hidden motives or agenda.

When all the factors described above are bundled to form a complete system of governance; good governance is sure to thrive.

Finally in addition to all these my personal opinion rests upon the afore discussed as already known factors and processes needed for good governance, especially by the Nigerian institutions and people in governance, as we have notable institutions, what i think is that the Nigerian institutions and people in governance should ‘Take Action’ in doing the right thing!

All Nigerian institutions, people in government have knowledge of all this factors, or at least moral inclination to do the right thing, but what we lack is the actual DOING, and if we as Nigerians, can cultivate the habit of DOING; then all our ideas, ideologies institutional effectiveness, transparency and accountability as well as every other factors that contribute to good governance would then become a conscious cultural norm of the Nigerian people which will necessitate the birth and practice of good governance in our nation.


Peter Ameh

-2019 Presidential Candidate

  • Former National Chairman Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC)
    -National Secretary CUPP
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Tinubu cannot remove a CBN governor without 2/3rd senate majority




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By Frank Tietie

The recently announced removal of the embattled Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emiefele and the Deputy Governors of the Bank by the fiat of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is not in compliance with the provisions of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007. Therefore, it is illegal!

Whereas Section 11 of the CBN Act provides for several grounds for the removal of the CBN Governor or Deputy Governors, whenever such removal is based on the decision of the President, as in this reported case of Emiefele and his deputies, it can only have effect where the President has first sought and obtained the approval of a two-thirds Senate majority.

Clearly, there is no evidence that the President indeed sought and obtained the required two-thirds majority of the Nigerian Senate before announcing the formal removal of Governor Emiefele with his deputies and the appointment of a new Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Consequently, the president is in error, and all his recent actions in removal and appointment of a Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria can be set aside by the courts.

According to the Court Appeal in the case of Olotu v. President of Federal Republic of Nigeria & ors, it held that:
It is a trite point of law that when a statute dictates a certain mode of doing something, then that method and no other must be employed in the performance of that act. Put differently, where a legislation lays down a procedure for a thing, there should be no other method of doing it

Nigeria operates a Presidential-Federalist system of government with a high concentration of political and executive powers in the person of the President. Therefore, this infraction of the CBN Act by the President on the removal of the CBN Governor may pass without any censure of the National Assembly or review by the Judiciary. But it is such disregard for plain provisions of the law by the President who is supposed to set the example of legal compliance, that creates the usual incipient negative impact on constitutional democracy which rests on the rule of law.

Therefore whenever an administration starts glossing over express provisions of the law that serve to guarantee order, peace, good governance and economic prosperity of Nigeria, the culture of disregard for court order and widespread violation of human rights begins to cascade down the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government together with all the other strata of government across the states and local governments. This has been the bane of Nigeria’s stable development in all spheres and the recipe for corrupt abuse of political power and violation of human rights. That’s why military junta often truncated national democracies. May that be far from us!

The Nigerian state spends huge financial and human resources to maintain its democratic structures. Therefore, the National Assembly and its leadership must stand up at all times to live up to their responsibilities in upholding the principles of democracy and separation of powers to avoid tyrannical acts of the executive by requiring strict compliance to every law that mandates its approval on such matters the President is required to apply for.

Therefore, when the National Assembly indeed discharges its roles in the political equation of checks and balances with the President and the Judiciary, there will be less of interventions by self styled but well-meaning activists and civil society organisations who are often referred to as busybodies but are determined to seek judicial review of executive actions to ensure the rule of law and a stable Nigerian society.

Frank Tietie,
Lawyer, Social Commentator & Executive Director of Citizens Advocacy for Social & Economic Rights (CASER), writes from Abuja, Nigria

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