Sai Baba’s newly reconstituted cabinet is the real anti-corruption council. Some old wine preserve better in new wineskins. Jesus wasn’t a brewer; he was a carpenter’s son! Evidently, there are different versions of Naija. The Naija of General Buhari’s first term vision is completely different from the reality painted by the ‘pressboys’. This is Buhari’s own verdict: “We have exited the country from recession, restored economic growth, curbed inflation and shored up our external reserves (sic). As a result, we have witnessed eight quarters of consistent growth over the past two-and-a-half years, providing more opportunities for Nigerians.”
As I listened to the speech, I kept wailing – Hallelujah. I didn’t read the Punch titles accusing Canada of ‘stealing’ Naija’s lazy youths and the retort from those youths loudly saying they are happy to be ‘stolen’. Caveat emptor, Canadian prairies could be scenic in summer, they are brutally cold in winter!
Babatunde Raji Fashola, the Lagos miracle man who lost the Midas touch after overflying the lagoon is back with reduced responsibility and a promise to submit a budget in two weeks. Ground no level after February’s contestable elections. In the weeks between the lapse of BRF’s old mandate and its renewal, government has tinkered with buying back or is it selling its power shares? Fashola doesn’t have to take the flak for reversing religion and science in letting darkness overcome the light. That honour is now transferred to Sale Mamman and Jedi-Agba as his sidekick.
As returnee science and technology minister, Ogbonnaya Onu would soon unveil the Naija super-pencil. I understand it is laser-guided and would visibly write in the skies. If anyone reads Mene, Mene Tekel Upharsin in the clear blue sky, they should not panic – Onu’s pencil, promised since 2015 would be the numbered uncounted wonder of Bubu’s second term.
As promised, Buhari retained some old faces, rehabilitated those once written off and hired some newbies.
You would have sworn that Rauf Aregbesola’s religious hands can’t handle grease but he has promised to soil the fingers of staff at the interior ministry as he addresses insecurity. Expect a greasy template from the new minister of public holidays! Disappointed that people loved London pizza more than Benue yams, Audu Ogbeh took a bow. His brief falls in the hands of Sabo Nanono who studied business administration but having no industry to administer ended up as a farmer.
Our good friend, Adamu Adamu is back in education or is it the lack of it? This time around, he won’t be negotiating with ASUU, NASU and NAMU, the brief goes to Chris Ngige who packs the potency of a negotiating dynamite as he tackles labour matters. Gbemisola Saraki is in charge of transportation, long live the Chinese construction company.
To the brand new old hands – Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo rises from the ashes of a write-off since serving Ekiti between 1999-2005. This comeback kid now handles trade and investment. He’ll have his hands full as global investors prefer trading where electricity is a pipedream. The Otunba has beautiful Mariam Katagum for inspiration if he ever needed one.
Not many people would forget the duo of Godswill Akpabio and Timipre Silva. At a time his political enemies would want him buried in the avalanche of criticism for the things he did and didn’t do, Godswill crossed the floor of the sinnate and became the president and the ruining party’s favourite. Subsequently, the corruption charges against him dropped like ripened mangoes in a windstorm. Having washed in the party’s Pool of Siloam, he is now sent to oversee the entire Niger-Delta, the home of oil. Akpabio is unlikely to change priests soon – seeing his first name works. His enemies have lived to see him become a minister of the feral republic. He is in good company with mercurial Festus Keyamo whose loyalty to Pa Bubu is unrivalled anywhere in the Niger-Delta. Somebody shout hallelujah!
Only the image of Sadam Hussein holed up in his attic matches that of Timipre Sylva when the old EFCC called at his Abuja home years ago ago. The hard-working ex-governor of Bayelsa lost several houses (some counted 48) and was written off by his foes. Out of the APC pool he regained his houses and what the palmerworm and caterpillars had eaten. As the snail laps the earth with the same mouth with which it insults the gods, Silva’s enemies would now have to call him Honourable Minister. He is closest to Muhammadu Buhari’s heart in the petroleum ministry.
My own colleague, Sunday Dare is the new Baba Ewe of Naija as Youths minister. Dare dresses and speaks well. Sadiya Umar Farouk is pioneer boss in the new ministry of disaster management and humanitarian affairs. Paulen Talen is out of rehab. Rotimi Amaechi, the only minister who doesn’t like money is back, so is Hadi Sirika, the man who created a paper airline and flew it in London. Lai is back in his base.
A cabinet like this instils hope in James Ibori’s big return to national limelight. It tells Diezani Alison-Madueke to never give up. Sinners become saints rising from the APC Pool of Siloam. Masha Allah! In the abracadabra world of Naija politrics, only Alamieyeseigha’s hope of redemption is buried until the day of resurrection. If you live long enough, find the road to APC, being written off as ‘finished’ is nothing, in the same place where you were called ‘not my own,’ you’ll be pronounced as ‘beloved’.