[OPINION] Change: One Month On; The Big Issues By Ogundana Michael Rotimi

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Ogundana Michael Rotimi

Today, 29th June 2015, makes it exactly a month since President Muhammad Buhari became the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Since then, you cannot categorically say that he has not hit the ground running. It might not just be at the rate that you have anticipated. He has been here and there in search of solutions to the Boko Haram menace. Everywhere he goes; it`s been about finding a lasting solution to this scourge that has plundered our land for far too long.

With terrorism out of the way and with the new commitment against corruption, one can practically say that the President is on the right track towards giving Nigerians a sustainable change.

Although, one cannot shy away from the delay in key appointments, I really hope that the President is taking this into full consideration. With his cabinet readily on the ground, it is expected that the synergies will boost his achievements.

However, over the past one month, it has been from one issue to another. While some Nigerians are still in high expectation of the “Change” to come, some assumed the change has begun and others believe there can`t be any change.

This article will be looking at the big issues since President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in a month ago;

Asset Declaration

During his campaign President Buhari promised to publicly declare his assets and liabilities and to encourage his political appointees to also do same. Although, he has declared his assets as stipulated by the Constitution, but he`s yet to make it public. Some have tried to defend him over the delay, suggesting that the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) needs to verify his claim before it`s then being made public. Unfortunately, the CCB have announced that they do not have the legal backing to make the asset declaration of the president public. It is now left to President Buhari to keep his words or not to. Constitutionally he has done the right thing. But morally he has not, because he promised Nigerians to make it known to them.

President Buhari must as a matter of integrity declare his assets publicly. This is the first litmus test of his integrity and it`s too early for him to fail. The moment Nigerians lose trust in him, all the goodwill he enjoys is over. Nigerians have not forgotten, Nigerians are still waiting.

Senate Presidency and Speakership

President Buhari apparently decided from the first day that he was not going to interfere in the leadership affairs of the legislative arm of government and was ready to work with anyone that emerged as their leader. His party tried to weigh in and influence the process but it turned out not to be in their favour. And against the wishes of the ruling party, Senator Bukola Saraki and Honorable Yakubu Dogara, emerged the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representative respectively.

To some, it was good the president did not intervene in the leadership contest of the National Assembly but the recent show of shame displayed by members of the 8th National Assembly has proven that wrong. President Buhari is the leader of the party, either directly and indirectly. Whatsoever happens within his party has a large influence on his performance. If his party members are not at peace with one another, they might sabotage one another`s efforts including his own efforts to bring that desired change that the people expect from him. Hence, he must as a matter of urgency put his party in order. It is not a constitutional issue, it is an obligation. You can`t talk about change where there is no peace and unity.

Dissolution of NNPC Board

Also, President Muhammadu Buhari within his first month dissolves the Board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Barr. Danladi Kifasi, announced the dissolution in a statement issued by his Director of Communications, Alhaji Haruna Imrana, in Abuja.

This is probably the biggest and most commendable action the President has taken since he was sworn in. As the NNPC over the years, have been alleged of massive corruption and wastages of the country resources, with the dissolution of its board, one can practically say that the President is on the right track in repositioning the Corporation for efficient delivery. Meanwhile, as much as the dissolution is appreciable, accountability is also key. It is important that the dissolved board is probed accordingly while those found guilty should be made to face the wrath of the law.

Ministerial Appointments

There was no week since President Buhari became the president that there was no speculation that he was going to name his cabinet. It is now obvious that he might not be doing that sooner as expected. Reasons best known to him. But whatsoever reason that might be responsible for the delay; President Buhari must understand that every second of his administration counts and he cannot do this alone. The sooner he gets his cabinet together, the better for him and the better for the country.

The Big Match

Shame to the Honorable Members of the 8th National Assembly that turned both chambers of the National Assembly complex into a “MGM boxing arena and a WWE ring”. When I mean honorable members, I do that out of the tradition and respect for the position they occupied. However, this shouldn’t be taken literally. Because the truth is, these men are not honorable. Their action during the past week has confirmed that there is nothing honorable about them.

Their action showed that they are not there to represent the interest of the people but the interest of themselves and just themselves alone. Their action is a ridicule to the nation and a disgrace to their respective mandate.

All being said, the world is watching closely the President Muhammadu Buhari`s administration and his party- All Progressives Congress (APC). Every step matters, all actions count and he cannot afford to fail. It is much more important for President Muhammad Buhari to capitalize on the goodwill he enjoys from the people now in taking some tough decisions that will have a lasting benefit on the people before it is too late


God Bless Nigeria

Ogundana Michael Rotimi is a Nigerian Biochemist, Socio-economic & Political Commentator, and Public Speaker. He tweets @MickeySunny

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