A weird current of political discourse emerged in the last one week or so. Though the idea has been canvassed by regime supporters with varying degrees of emotion, its connotation has remained largely imprecise.
Comptroller-General of Nigerian Customs, Hameed Ali fired the first shot when he claimed more than 50 per cent of positions in Buhari’s government were handed over to members of the PDP who fought against the actualization of his regime. Hear him: “But I must confess here that we have been infused by people who were not part of this journey and these people are the ones that call the shots today. That is why we are derailing”.
Other key personages have publicly talked along the same line. And in the heat generated by the embarrassing reinstatement of former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abulrasheed Maina, the presidency claimed loyalists of the former regime in government were responsible for that mess.
Such is the new dimension the blame game has taken. Before now, it was a fad for the Buhari regime to blame the previous government for the mismanagement of the economy, looting of the nation’s treasury, mindboggling corruption in the land and virtually all that is bad with the country. But with two and a half years gone, people are increasingly losing patience with such drab, irritating and escapist antics.
Those who voted in Buhari did so in the hope that he will make the needed difference. Having voted for the change which the APC promised, the social contract they entered into is for the government to take immediate steps to make the needed difference. What they have been getting instead has been a bundle of excuses, buck-passing and blame game.
Having overstretched the limits of these excuses and sensing public cynicism to its aversion to assuming responsibility for its actions, the same government has found a new window for doing the same old thing. This time, the strategy is to blame those in Buhari’s government dubbed PDP members for the policy summersaults and scandals that cast serious slur on the integrity of the regime especially, its much touted war against corruption.
That was the reading of the claim by his media aides that loyalists of Jonathan regime in government were responsible for Maina’s reinstatement. That was also the purport of Ali’s claim and others who spoke in the same vein. With the leaked correspondence from the Head of Service of the federation, we now know better. It is clear the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami who issued three letters in three months to stampede the Civil Service Commission into that unwholesome action was appointed by Jonathan and works for him. What of the president himself who was reported to have been briefed on the backlash of the action on the overall credibility and success of the war against corruption but apparently chose to ignore it?
As the truth is in public domain, there are attempts to harass and intimidate Oyo-Ita for the leakage of her response to the query issued her. There is an attempt to make her a scapegoat for saying all she knew about the Maina mess. And the convenient angle is to accuse her of leaking her reply. And who says the Chief of Staff Abba Kyari’s office could not have leaked the letter? So why issue her query in the first instance when it is clear that the powers that be were privy to that development?
It is confounding that the same president who brushed aside protocol to order the sack of Maina when the lid to the scandal was blown open is reported to be in the know of the reinstatement. Evidence of complicity by his government in the Maina scandal is not in doubt. Not with the disclosure by the family that he was lobbied by the government to return and be part of its change agenda. Not with the revelation that the DSS provided him security. The processes that smuggled the fugitive into the country and to the civil service are responsible for wherever he is hiding today. So nobody should sacrifice Oyo-Ita for doing her job very well. In a clime that rewards merit and hard work, she would have been highly rewarded for seeing the future.
It is a sad commentary that a government which seeks to justify its legitimacy by fighting corruption is being serially ensnared in covert moves to cover the same manifestations by its functionaries. The Maina incident is one embarrassment, too many. The war against corruption has sadly lost traction. Not with the tepid handling of allegations of corruption against the former SGF, Babachir Lawal and DG of NIA, Ayo Oke. It took too long for the president to sack the two men.
Ironically, key functionaries of this regime accused of one corruption infraction or the other increase by the day. The impression we get is that many of the current office holders are not on the page with Buhari on the war against corruption. Not only have many been entangled in one corruption allegation or the other, it strikes as a verity of corrupt people fighting corruption. It is left to be imagined what will be left in a situation where corruption is left to fight itself. Unless urgent and very credible measures are taken to reeve up the momentum and credibility of the campaign, the battle is as good as lost.
If current office holders cannot key into the anti-corruption crusade; if attitudes, orientations and dispositions of the public still predispose them to corruption, it shows how detached and artificial the current strategy for fighting corruption is. Above all, it indicates clearly that we are yet to get at the root of the objective conditions that reinforce and sustain corruption in a plural society. That has been the missing link.
Perhaps, having realized the wide gap between its preachments on corruption and facts on the ground, regime supporters have now invented a new technology that seeks to hold PDP members in government liable for the failures of the Buhari government.
It is unclear what those who canvass this view want to achieve. It is also cloudy what they mean by PDP members in Buhari’s government. In the face of this definitional ambiguity, the first temptation is to assume that the reference is to former PDP members who coalesced into the APC during the 2015 elections. Amongst them were former governors some of who are serving as ministers now, former legislators and key politicians with considerable war chest et al. These were the people that made it possible for the APC to defeat an incumbent president. Could it be the group Ali is fingering for not sharing in the ideals of the party that will disappear when it comes to blame sharing for the failure of the regime? Could it be they that occupy more than 50 per cent of the positions in the current regime?
If the reference is to this category of people, then those who canvass that idea are being very selfish and unserious. Didn’t they know they were of the PDP stock when they were lobbying them to decamp? You cannot use them to scale into power only to turn round and accuse them of capturing most of the offices. It makes no sense at all. Even then, the APC was a marriage of strange bedfellows and has largely remained so years after it secured victory. What is expected of a serious political party; a party of the future is conscious efforts to wild together the diverse orientations and tendencies to the amalgam into a cohesive body sharing in a common ideology. That is yet to happen.
The other assumption is that the reference is to all those in government-civil and public servants. This is further reinforced in the absence of evidence that Buhari appointed members of the PDP into his government. There is no evidence of any PDP member in all his political appointments to talk of 50 per cent. So we are left with career men and women as the possible targets. If that assumption is correct, Ali and his supporters would want civil/public servants to be replaced with APC members. What a dangerous and impracticable idea!
It is difficult to comprehend the logic of this new political language. And unless its foot soldiers come clear with facts and figures of the PDP members stalling the progress of this government, their claims add up to nothing. It is a cheap tactics in buck-passing that signposts how low the government has descended.
This news has been published by title Buhari���s Policy Summersaults
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