Quite a relief that list of ministers has been sent to State Security Services for necessary clearance, with the hope that very soon, prospective ministers will be screened by the Senate. Even then, criticisms might not be entirely justified, especially in contrasting Nigerian situation with that of South Africa and Malawi or any other African country for that matter.
There is the question of different constitution for each African country. Nigerian constitution is quite inhibitive unlike that of United States which we copied foolishly and that of South Africa. For example, Nigeria’s elections were held in February and March. South Africa held it elections much later. Already, South Africans have their ministers. There lies the major difference.
South Africa, unlike Nigeria, does not operate a presidential system. In fact, Nigeria’s about the only country in Africa which operates the very rigid American presidential system, almost tighter than the American constitution. At any given time, United States has an operating Congress, to which a newly elected president could forward list of ministers (dubbed secretaries of state) for necessary screening.
An American President does not therefore have to wait for an incoming completely newly elected Congress to be inaugurated. Hence, every two years, tenure of half of members of Congress lapses and they seek new mandate while the other half of long ressmen maintain legislative functions, possibly including screening of new ministers (secretaries of state).
In Nigeria, tenure of National Assembly ends with that of the President and they all seek fresh mandate. Public anxiety for new ministers is understandable but the constitution must be strictly complied with.
Nigeria’s elections were held in February and March. But could a Nigerian President have forwarded list of ministers to an out-going National Assembly for screening?
Impossible. Ministers so screened could never have been VALIDLY screened. Only the newly-elected Senate could screen new ministers. Could new ministers ever be screened until the new National Assembly was inaugurated? Could the new National Assembly be inaugurated before the old National Assembly’s tenure expired? Or could Nigeria operate two National Assemblies simultaneously?
Despite the conclusion of elections in Nigeria in March, the 2015-2019 National Assembly legitimately remained in office till June 6, before which no list could be legally sent to that assembly even if Nigerians went to the polls as far back as December 2018. Outgoing ministers also remained in office till May 28. Nigeria could not have been run with two sets of cabinet.
The new National Assembly which was to screen the new ministers was inaugurated only on June 11 because the old National Assembly vacated office on June 6, strictly in line with Nigerian constitution. The following day, June 12, was a Democracy Day and public holiday. Only then could the public justifiably criticize for inaction. But the new National Assembly itself did not help matters by adjourning till July 2. Despite urgent public matters requiring instant action? In effect, even if Buhari’s list of ministers was ready, there would be no Senate to screen, ministers leaving Nigerias to blame an unserious National Assembly.
Meanwhile, it was absurd, indeed illiterate to be citing the South African situation in comparison to Nigerias. While it is constitutionally imperative for a Nigerian President to approach National Assembly for screening of his ministers, neither a South African President nor any other President of any African country is compelled their constitution to have ministers screened by the legislature. South African President could therefore have appointed new ministers one hour after being ministers one hour after being declared winner of elections. Ditto for any president of any African countries. Addressed as President, yes. All African president operate West minister ??
It must however be conceded that between May 28 and June 10, SSS screening of ministers should, or at least could have been concludend to make it possible to have been sent to the Senate on June 11 before the National Assembly adjourned all July 2nd.
In view of the unnecessary controversy over public expectation of list of ministers, Buhari must prompt the SSS to return his ministerial list soonest to enable him forward the list to the National Assembly within hours rather than days. SSS can return the list today if prompted. Pace of governance must heighten or be heightened if necessary.
ALTERNATIVE HEADLINE, if lead article
“Godot wait for ministers list.
Muhammed Ali of British politics
Remember Muhammed Ali, the world famous American boxer who dominated and aroused public interest in the game in the early ‘60s? he shot to fame with a sensational knockout victory over reigning world heavyweight boxing champion, Sony Liston. Avery short journey to world status a couple of years after winning the gold medal for United States at the 1960 Olympics.
If the United States could produce such a colourful and adored figure like Muhammed Ali, it seems Britain is being blessed on that score in politics with the imminent election of flamboyant Boris Johnson. The stark difference is that one was black and the other is white. There may end any notable difference. Otherwise, the similarities are remarkable in mannerism and public acclamation. Muhammed Ali’s re-incarnation in British politics? At least throughout United Kingdom.
He is Alexander Boris Johnson, an ex Foreign Secretary in the ruling Conservative Party, who may step into 10, Downing Street on July 24, as the next Prime Minister in succession to outgoing Thereza May. That would be only a few hours after she would have taken prime minister’s questions in the parliament, for the last time.
Boris Johnson, barely in his fifties, entered parliament in 2001, during which he was elected Mayor of London for eight consecutive years. From Eton College to Oxford, Boris Johnson’s background is standard measure for British aristocrats. He is not the only of that status among his generation but he (has) outshone colleagues with his meteoric rise. Since entering politics, Boris Johnson has never lost any election. His constituency is one of the safest for the ruling party. A typical journalist, when in doubt, Boris Johnson keeps off, like three years ago, when he might have lost the contest for prime minister ship through split votes. Boris Johnson, along with few colleagues, championed withdrawal of Britain from the European Union.
The resultant referendum ousted Prime Minister David Cameron and was to be succeeded by Boris Johnson. This was not to be as the then Justice Minister Michael Gove, in breach of his public pledge all along, not to contest for Prime Minister, changed his mind at the last minute to oppose Boris John. This was general considered throughout the country as a stab in the back by a close friend. Johnson tactically withdrew from the election, which after preliminary eliminations, returned Thereza May unopposed. Unfortunately, since 2016, it has been three years of political/electoral turbulence for out-going Prime Minister Thereza May. Not the least was the 2017 general election which, against all fore easts, wiped out the majority of the ruling party which, also, under Thereza May failed to effect the outcome of 2016 referendum compelling Britain’s exit from Europe.
Prior to that, Boris Johnson caused political/electoral sensation by ending the political career of erstwhile populist left wing Ken Livingstone, as Meyor of London (2000-2008). Before then, Livingstone was also Chairman of Greater London Council, (1981 to 1986). Could Boris Johnson’s defeat of incumbent Major of London Ken Livingstone in 2000 have been a temporary setback? He (Johnson) repeated that feat again in 2004 to establish his political strength beyond any doubt. Since then, Ken Livingstone, about the most ideological Labour party top notched, retired from politics.
In a way, Boris John is egged on as a man of the people, to regularly ride on bicycle around London for pleasure or physical exercise with head gear and tight outfit, stopping along the way to respond to questions on issues of the day from ordinary Londoners and chats. Like Muhammed Ali on hastings in those days, Boris Johnson is the darling of British media especially right-wing-leaning Daily Telegraph, Daily Express and half-heartedly, Daily Mail as well as indecisively SUN newspaper. Not unexpectedly, left-wing Daily Mirror never misses the opportunity to portray Boris Johnson in lurid colours, if only from the Labour party point of view.
Neither Britons nor the media could offer any reason adulating Boris Johnson as a super star or pop idol. Any perceived shortcomings are ever played down or reduced to some fun. At a critical stage during the campaigns for the election of a successor to the outgoing Prime Minister there was the embarrassment of Boris Johnson’s violent disagreement with his girl-friend. Despite wide media coverage and focus on the presence of police to ensure peace, the event which would have ruined the chances of any other aspirant, the episode eased off with Boris Johnson himself an entire campaign group completely refusing to deny or even saying a word The Public? They acquiesced in the convenience that it was a private affair which the police, at any rate confirmed that thee was no need or reason for any action.
In a rather deft move, even on the main issue of day for which two preceding successive Prime Ministers paid with their tenure – Britain’s withdrawal from Europe – Boris Johnson decided to explain himself directly to the people instead of engaging in series of public/television debates with his only rival, his successor as foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt.
Quite unusually, at least eleven aspirants including Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt tried their luck as new Prime Minister. Series of elimination contests were lost, learning only two for the final round. Between them, Boris Johnson is the more colourful. He displays a permanent smile or at least no frown on his face, even if or when provoked. So endeared to the people and the media, a former British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill is the only other figure who must have surpassed Boris Johnson’s acclamation among his people. With unsettled hair and slight haunch on the back, Boris Johnson feels flattered with any reference to Winton Churchill.
What really goes for Boris Johnson? He is set for 10, Downing Street, at a time Britain seems humiliated by the European Union over withdrawal from the economic group over withdrawal tactics on both sides. That is the revenge Boris Johnson is projected in his premiership bid, to inflict on the European adversaries. Winston churched similarly rebuffed and indeed, revenged Adolf Hitler’s humiliation and aggression against Britain in the events leading to the 1939-1945 second world war.
Indirectly, Boris Johnson’s rivals concede that his prospects of emerging Prime Minister on July 24 are higher and stronger. Hence the scare-mongering that if elected, Boris Johnson’s tenure as Prime Minister might be short, as, for various reasons including concessions to European Union, he might lose a no confidence vote in parliament. That, according Johnson’s opponents, would result in victory for Labour party leader, Jeremy Corbyn as the Prime Minister. As if Mr. Corbyn is a foreigner or non-Briton.
Until then. But the truth of modem day British politics, once defeated, they never come back. James Callaghan, Edward Health, Maggie Thatcher, John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and now Thereza May.