May 29: Buhari Under Pressure To Sack Ministers, Aides



Against the back drop of the bickering among ministers of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration alongside performance evaluation reports confidentially carried out by a select committee, the president is reportedly under pressure to “reorganise his cabinet” even as he was said to have rounded up consultations on the matter.

According to presidency sources who opened up to Nigerian pilot last weekend, Buhari is said to have been miffed by reports of feud among his appointees, non-performance of many of them and allegations of corrupt practices against some of his aides and cabinet members.

“He is really pained that persons recommended by his party and friends of the government are not performing.

They are self-serving and some of them have corruption allegations hanging around their necks that the whole scenario has become an embarrassment to the president and his administration,” said a top presidency official weekend.

The official who hails from one of the northern states, added that though Buhari managed the well publicized description of Britain’s Prime minister, David Cameron of Nigeria as “fantastically corrupt,” it was a huge embarrassment that was akin to a slap on the face.

“Yes, the president managed the embarrassment with diplomatic equanimity. But it did not mean that it was not an embarrassment to him, his government and the country.

As a statesman who knows his onions he managed the fallouts very well. But it just will not end there. He saw it as a challenge to clean the dirty stable. The needful has to be done,” the source further told Nigerian Pilot.

Feuding ministers

It was gathered that some ministers openly disagree with the administration’s position on critical national issues.

Mention was made of remarks by some appointees on policy issues which are not in tandem with the policy direction of government.

In such cases, the government had been made to “go the extra mile to issue statements to correct such bungling, thereby casting our confidence in doubts in the mind of the Nigerian public.

Also, many of them work at cross purposes with mandated direction as if they were not well briefed on their schedules before they assumed duty,” Nigerian Pilot was told.

“President Buhari cannot watch as his cabinet, the government and his party, consciously and unconsciously bungle APC’s success at polls. He has to stop the bitterness and hostilities among his appointees,” the source said.

Only recently, but for the timely intervention of their respective aides, a minister and the minister of state reportedly almost engaged each other in fisticuffs over allegations of insubordination by the latter for the former.

Non-performing aides

It was learnt that following the brief each appointee got on assumption of office, Buhari expected them to dutifully deliver on their assigned schedules.

But he is said to be worried that given the loads of complaints from the Nigerian public and the international community, not a few appointees are failing on this note.

“They lack initiative and are always waiting for the president to direct them before they are jolted to act.

There is the belief that there is too much eye service around here. The president does not want to see their faces as often as they wish.

All he needs is for them to work and deliver. Some of them even claim they are scared not to make mistakes that would offend the president.

But they have not been seen to be trying to perform in the first case,” another source in a critical ministry revealed.

Corrupt aides

With allegations of corruption hanging over the heads of some appointees of the president alongside petitions and in some cases, officially confirmed fraudulent acts, Buhari is said to be decided on relieving affected persons of their appointment if his anti-corruption war must still be taken seriously.

This category according to Nigerian Pilot’s findings cuts across cabinet members and non-cabinet aides of the president.

Apart from financial corruption, it further learnt that appointees who politicise virtually every policy and agenda of the administration may be categorized as failing in the foregoing respect.

Last night, it was gathered that ahead the first year anniversary of the administration and speculation of a looming cabinet overhaul, most appointees of the president are jittery as they have nothing on the score card to show as their modest achievements in furtherance of the administration’s agenda.

“Some of them hold the last signing of the 2016 budget as excuse for non-performance.

That was expected. But is that a tenable excuse when they have not been able to streamline operations in their respective ministries and the parastatals under them?” one presidential aide asked.


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