By Dr. Thomas Olusola
When Nigerians and in fact Kogi State as an entity is about to heave a sigh of relief following the nomination of Professor Stephen Ocheni by President Muhammadu Buhari to represent the state in the federal executive council, some handful mischief makers whose ambition is their stomach and what they will get in the state have decided to pull back the hands of the clock.
Under the leadership of the state chairman of the party, APC, Alhaji Hardy Ametuo, certain mischief makers wrote a petition to the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and copied the party leaders on why the Upper Chamber should disqualify Prof Ocheni and replace him with one Usman Maiyaga whom they claim is most suitable for ministerial position rather than the former.
The move sounds laughable as it defies every conceivable logic, it is a clear indication that the state chairman of the party is the architect of the crisis that had engulfed the state since the inception of the administration of Yahaya Bello as governor of the state.
To put the matter succinctly, the claim by the chairman and his infamous group of 40 others that because Prof Ocheni is not a card carrying member of APC and therefore not qualified for appointment as a cabinet member is such that speaks volume about the politics of self aggrandizement being played by prospective leaders at various levels in our country. At a time like this in the history of Nigeria when everyone needs to put hands on deck to get the nation out of recession, it is rather unfortunate that a party chairman who should understand better the pains on the neck of the administration, is bent on drawing back the moving train of President Buhari on ‘Change’ which is long over due.
The nomination of Prof Ocheni was done by President Buhari after proper consultation. It took the President a year of shopping before he could settle for the erudite scholar. All these while, the question that comes to mind is whether Maiyaga who is being flouted by Ametuo as a party man never existed to impress on President Buhari to nominate him as replacement for the late James Ocholi. It is time for the leadership of APC at the national level to put its feet firmly on ground in order to assert its influence over recalcitrant party members bent on capsizing the moving ship of the party.
The likes of Ametuo are the reason the ruling party has not been able to get it right in most states of the federation in terms of delivering real democracy dividends. The petition by these unruly party members in Kogi would have been worth the while if there was any dent in the choice of Ocheni or if he was considered academically unfit for the position.
Amazingly, not only has the petition shown Maiyaga as someone whose aim is to reap what is commonly referred to as ‘National Cake’ because of his contribution to the party in the past but has also failed to showcase his credentials as someone much more credible for the job than Prof Ocheni. The petition only shows him as someone being sponsored by some faceless individuals to ‘go there and bring our own loot’. Who bewitched us? Is that the kind of politics in the 21st century?.
Let me remind us once again that Prof Ocheni got the nomination without the usual politics of lobbying whereby he must always come home to bring ‘return’ to the king maker.
Mallam Nasir el Rufai within the week on the ongoing moves to resolve internal wrangling in the party said, “The time has come for the party to do away with people who cannot deliver”. According to the Kaduna State governor, everyone wants to reap from what is left for the party to develop the nation as if it is still business as usual. It was for this reason he had been in the news in recent times to remind the President about their social contract with the electorates. It is now clear that el Rufai had people like the party chairman in Kogi in mind and should be done away with.
The APC chairman should be advised to put his house in order, first by aligning himself with the leader of the party in the state, Gov Bello who has given his consent to the nomination of Prof Ocheni, describing him as a round peg in a round hole.
He should also be advised to stop fuelling crisis within the party in the state, especially the state assembly which had continuously been swimming in crisis for a year now.
It would also be instructive if he seeks the opinion of the state law makers serving both at the state and national levels in order to get their supports for his unpopular style of politics after then, his hands can be clean to speak on matters at the National level.
Nigeria needs men like Prof Ocheni, a technocrat, who knows that public service is first and foremost trust plus service delivery and not the way self styled politicians like Alhaji Ametuo and Usman Maiyaga and others see it.
– Olusola is a public analyst, he wrote from No, 48 Aminu Kano way, Abuja