A fellow female minister has now stepped into Adeosun’s position in an acting capacity. Altogether the number of women ministers in this administration is two short of the original number.
Victoria Ngozi Ikeano
One can say without any fear of contradiction that things have not happened with such speed in life of this administration as they did in just one weekend. Over the weekend, former Finance Minister, ‘Kemi Adeosun suddenly resigned from her position, her resignation was immediately accepted by President Muhammadu Buhari, a replacement announced pronto, the new finance minister promptly assumed office and Adeosun herself was already back to the United Kingdom where she was born and bred before, as the Nigerian cliché goes, accepting the call to come and serve her country as Commissioner and minister. Madam Adeosun worked for a notable international finance firm in the United Kingdom (UK) before being appointed finance commissioner in Ogun state. It was from there that she was appointed finance minister for the federation.
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The two environments are different in comparison. Ogun State is more homogenous with invariably a common language and same culture generally. The political environment there is also more stable, with the governor, his cabinet, state House of Assembly and even judiciary working harmoniously together, in tandem, with a unity of purpose. Then she was catapulted to Abuja so to speak, a bigger stage in a heterogeneous environment, working with diverse people with diverse interests; an environment characterised with political intrigues where the three arms of government appear to be working at cross purposes, where there seems to be a ‘government within a government’ as the number three citizen put it or a cabal as outsiders call it; where cabinet members sing different tunes (examples: whereas the vice president says the Amaju Pinnick-led Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) board is the one recognised by the federal government itself, Sports Minister Dalung says it is illegal, not recognised by the court; a minister publicly said that if presented with a choice she would cast her vote for her mentor rather than for Mr. President, etc.).
In brief Madam Adeosun though apparently glad to take up a higher position (as would any Nigerian) found herself in a totally different stage in Abuja – at variance with what obtained in Ogun, her home state and the UK where she was coming from and of which she is a citizen by birth. It is a big river swirling with hawks and sharks ready to pounce on their victims at the slightest faux pas and pull him/ her down to the abyss. Madam Adeosun is one of the few technocrats in a cabinet bristling with politicians who apparently understand the Nigerian terrain and how to navigate their ways therein. She is also politically naïve. This is understandable as she had not really dabbled into the murky Nigerian political waters. And in the United Kingdom where she had lived for most of her adult life, politics there is decent.
In Ogun State, Governor, Ibikunle Amosun was fully and firmly in charge so she faced no distractions and focussed squarely on her job as Finance commissioner, discharging her duties creditably. Her finance portfolio in Ogun was bigger encompassing budget et al. In contrast the Federal Ministry of Finance has shrunk as the budget arm of it has been carved out with a separate minister in charge of budget and planning. The Customs, a big agency to all intents and purposes appears not to be under the belt of the finance ministry any longer. Still, it remains a ‘powerful’ ministry in so far as it deals with approving disbursement of monies. It is in the Nigerian parlance, a juicy portfolio.
Coming from a civilised country as the UK, where she was born and bred, Madam Adeosun would have somehow imbibed or rather been acquainted with the core values of honesty and trustfulness.
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According to reports, Madam Adeosun on coming home to Nigeria and being over 30 years old, applied for exemption from the compulsory one-year service and asked someone to get the NYSC discharge certificate for her. It turned out that that NYSC certificate was forged, fake. I guess it did not occur to her that someone could do such a dishonest thing, not least someone she trusted, particularly as she was coming from a European environment where trust is held in high esteem. The point to be noted is that she did not forge the certificate; rather somebody procured a fake NYSC certificate for her which she innocently and naively believed to be genuine. Perhaps if she was born and brought up in Nigeria she would have been less trustful as we generally distrust one another. She has no doubt learnt a lesson from this mistake.
This does not concern her academic certificates. She is eminently suited and qualified for the job in that regard. Now she did the right thing as those from the civilised clime where she came from would have done – resign their appointments even on mere accusation. She has set a record as the first person to resign from a public post upon allegation that she herself later found out to be true. She did not wait to be suspended first or sacked from office as Nigerian officials are wont to do. In this she, a woman nay women, have set an example and marker for future conduct of public officials.
Feminists will consider this as a minus for women representation especially at a time they are clamouring for appointment/election of more women into public offices. So far two women have left the cabinet. Former Environment Minister, Amina Mohammed, left to become deputy United Nations secretary- general. It took a long while for her replacement to come from her state and it was a man!
A fellow female minister has now stepped into Adeosun’s position in an acting capacity. Altogether the number of women ministers in this administration is two short of the original number. In this administration female ministers are grossly inadequate and they do not occupy any ‘powerful’ posts as such. In the last administration a woman was the minister of finance in addition to being the coordinating minister of finance. In fact she was considered the de facto prime minister. The then First Lady was seen in many quarters as being even more powerful than her husband, the president. Now, Mrs. Aisha Buhari is officially ‘wife of the president’ not ‘First Lady’ and she is not as influential as her predecessor under current dispensation.
Ikeano writes via [email protected]