By Wale Adedayo
A leader ought to be decisive. Tardiness in terms of decision making is not different from indecision. And, ordinarily, a military leader should never be associated with either tardiness or indecision. Beyond his ‘war’ against corruption as military Head of State, prompt decision-making was Gen. Muhammadu Buhari’s major strength. Today, he is a politician. But that does not mean time-wasting and a certain disregard for the ego of key leaders should become a habit for him.
Of course, in politics, you need to consult widely. But that should not take an eternity. Besides, there are key leaders, whose influence should count. Such leaders ought to be carried along in taking decisions or in formulating policies, as long as you remain in the same boat, politically. Buhari, since 29 May 2015, has failed serially in this regard. He does not care. And he has a kitchen cabinet that encourages him along this disastrous path.
You do not have to always do the bidding of your party leaders. But it is important to notify them in advance about your moves. That is giving them respect. That is letting them know that they matter too. Once decisions are taken ‘behind the back of key leaders’, it is like telling such persons they do not matter anymore. It is the same thing with policy formulation. And Buhari did both serially in the early months of this Administration.
The first fault-line was the appointment of ministers. Mr. President knew that the former Governors of Lagos and Ekiti states (Babatunde Fashola and Kayode Fayemi) are at loggerheads with the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Not only did Buhari appoint them as ministers, he did so outside of Tinubu’s knowledge. Yet, Mr. President continually defer to Tinubu as South-West leader of the ruling party.
It is not as if Tinubu will veto Buhari’s choice. But courtesy in politics is key. What if Buhari had told Tinubu earlier, “I know you have issues with these guys. But I want them to be on my team, and I can assure you both of them will come and see you before their names are announced to ‘beg’ you for forgiveness.” That is politics. That is political correctness. Instead, it was direct announcement. And those opposed to Tinubu in his base were jubilant the old man had been cowed.
It was the same with the serial policy inconsistencies of the current administration. A kitchen cabinet consisting of ethnic and religious paddies of Mr. President believed Tinubu will display an overbearing attitude if given much latitude in an administration he helped to birth. Their decision was to shut him out of policy formulation in a country left prostrate by an inept former President Goodluck Jonathan. Meanwhile, Buhari’s kitchen cabinet hardly have ideas that could turn things around, relying instead on minions that Asiwaju used to change the fortunes of Lagos State.
Not until Nigeria’s problems ballooned under an administration that promised a positive change did they turn to the rejected stone, again. Even at that, it was a minor degree turn. If it was an Obasanjo, the Ebora Owu would have left them alone. Not just that, the former president would have taken to the media to let Nigerians know that he was not part of those who promised change and refused to implement policies that would have brought same about. Tinubu allowed political maturity to rule him instead of certain anger. He acted like a wounded quality military leader and refused to cry out as opponents jubilate about his being ‘cut down to size’ by a ‘no-nonsense Buhari’.
The trending crisis today has to do with the gubernatorial primary of the APC in Ondo State, which majority of the national leadership of the party believed was fraudulently rigged in favour of Rotimi Akeredolu. But APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has already thrown out a decision by his colleagues to ensure a re-run, prompting a vitriolic press statement by Tinubu, who believes pecuniary inducement is responsible for Oyegun’s decision. The same allegations abound in Edo State, where key stakeholders fear Oyegun is working for the victory of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate.
Multiple sources confirmed the APC National Chairman was until recently a ‘dependant’ of the Igbinedion family, beginning from Lucky Igbinedion’s tenure as Governor of Edo State. No big deal about it at all. But when it comes to subtly supporting a PDP governorship candidate over that of his party, Mr. President should have asked questions. And in doing so, Buhari should have brought Tinubu and Oyegun together and open the books. If wrong information was supplied to simply nail Oyegun, Aso Rock Villa can easily verify that through the Political Section of the Department of State Security (DSS). It is very simple.
But wringing your hands in silence and hoping/praying that the issues will eventually resolve themselves is not only wrong, but will also encourage the cancer of destruction to wreck havoc from within the APC as mutual trust would have been destroyed. As the Yorubas would say, “Bi o ri owo mi, oo ri inu mi; Demo ni mo wa!” That is a Tom and Jerry game of perfidy, which might eventually do to APC what happened between Obasanjo and Jonathan.
For me, it is, “Pansa o fura, Pansa ja si inu ina. Aja o fura, Aja jin. Onile ti ko ba fura, armed robbers lo maa ko o!” And PDP is waiting, desperately !!!