I congratulate the 9th Senate for the speed and record time it confirmed the Ministerial nominees submitted by Mr President to assist him in governance. Though I disagree with the process and outcomes of the proceedings the Senate must be commended.
May I also congratulate the Ministers even though I am doing so reluctantly but for the few good men and women that are worthy of recognition and many that are reprehensible and not fit to occupy public office.
I never wanted to comment on the Ministerial list until when I saw the Senior Special Assistant to the President on assembly matters Sen. Eta Iyang on NTA News commending the Senate for expeditiously confirming the nominees. He added by saying that the nominees were subjected to vetting and cleared by the various security agencies.
I was amazed by his statement that all the Ministerial nominees passed through security vetting. If this is true what sort of security vetting they went through? Was the vetting limited to only confirming their names and tribes, the school’s they attended, the local governments, states or geopolitical zone they came from.
Was the vetting limited to questions about their gender males or females, their religion, Moslems, Christians or Atheists and above all if they were asked which political party they belong?
If these were the types of questions the security agencies grilled them on, then I can’t agree more that all of them could pass the vetting processes.
But if the vetting’s were done on character, competence, integrity, morality, capacity, incorruptibility and past performances. I am afraid many of them will not pass the scrutiny.
For the SSA to say they were all cleared something must be wrong somewhere, the Nigerian People must know where the failure was.
The Nigerian security agencies have men and women of competence and this is the truth. I have passed through this type of vetting during my carrier, I have seen them work and how they conduct themselves. They do their job with thoroughness, diligence and professionalism, they pry in all aspects of one’s life without exceptions when conducting such exercise.
My amazement is how can some of those characters on the Ministerial list be given clean bill of health. It is nonsensical to say they had all gone through the processes of vetting and none of them was disqualified.
I am worried because the whole world is looking at us. This is a globalised society, information can not be concealed and swept under the carpet like before everything is in the open. It will haunt us as nation among friends and foes.
After all our President is the tsar for the African Union on anti- corruption. He is respected and seen by some as the epitome of integrity. He stands tall among his equals we can not afford to gamble away all this good will for some intrinsic reasons.
Anti- corruption is the hallmark upon which this government was built and we do not expect less.
The President recently told Nigerians that during his first four years he worked with Ministers and People whom he did not know, but this time he will turn the table round. Nigerians believed him, but what played out during the Ministerial nominations does give the citizens the comfort the President had his ways.
You remember the controversy over the confirmation of the Chairman of the EFCC during life of the 8th Senate. The leadership argued they had security report from one of the security agency that forced them to with hold their accent. It caused a lot of hiccups between the executive and the assembly and to date the Chairman remains in acting capacity in spite of the good work he has been doing.
When shall as a people begin to act in civilised manner, recently the US labor Secretary Alex Acosta had to resign his appointment because he was accused of being lenient over 2008 plea deal he cut with Jeffrey Epstein the billionaire financier charged with operating sex trafficking ring involving 14 girls.
In the list of Minister submitted by the President there was the Minister and Attorney General of the Federation who withdrew a corruption case involving billions against a former governor yet he was cleared and confirmed for reappointment.
We have on the list governors who have mismanaged, bankrupted and indebted their states, some could not even pay salaries to their workers for months. We have among them “Distinguished”
Senators who have cases with EFCC. There were also some former Ministers who have shown incompetence, in the conduct of public affairs. In spite of all this they were all cleared to take another oath as members of the Federal Executive Council. For God sake why are we deceiving ourselves.
In a civilized society simple suspicion or allegations disqualifies a person from holding public office. People of integrity and good conscience on their own withdraw themselves from considerations for public office on a mare allegation in order clear names.
But here we are glorifying the bad and ugly with clean bill of health and rewarding their inadequacies with public offices they ought to be barred from.
The allegations against some of them are so weighty some are under investigation, some are before the courts. What kind of messages are sending to our children? What kind of society are we? What is really going on? What is really wrong with us? Are the security agencies compromised? Are they no longer advising to the “power that be” correctly? Have they chicken out because they are afraid of consequences?
Could these be some of the reasons our international friends and partners are telling us to first put our house in order before they could listen and do business with us? Your guess is as good as mine.
As I was writing this article the US President withdrew the name of his nominee a Republican congressman, Ratcliffe, for the post of Director National Intelligence because there was general out cry from the people over his competence and past records. This is type of things we want Mr President to do.
Remember Mr President you told the Nigeria People that you worked with Ministers and People you don’t know are those whom you submitted to the Senate a reflection of the people you know?
Mr. President you must listen to the people, avoid falling into the trap of what some of your advisers are telling you, posterity will judge you alone not your advisers.
It is not too late to right the disconnect. Mr President please take a hard look at names again and do the needful.
God save the Federal Republic of Nigeria.