The appointment of a new deputy governor for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has got the tongues wagging, for different reasons though. 39-year-old Aishah Ahmad has advantage of age and many positive qualities going for her but mischief makers are not questioning her credentials but the politics of President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointments generally, which have been described as lopsided, elitist and sectional, in addition to his inability to fill over 2000 board vacancies in over two years. Those appointed by the previous government, are still sitting pretty while those who worked for the president’s emergence are licking their wounds. This may not be a bad administrative strategy but in a country where politicians hinge their support for a candidate, on what comes to them after the government comes to power, this is worrisome to the APC apparatchiks, just as the war of words raging over support for or against Ibe Kachikwu and MK Baru over the soul of NNPC. But for many of us who have joined in the fray, what do we stand to gain or lose from a government that does not care about public opinions or weight of office?
Aisha Ahmad has been into investment and retail banking, wealth management, consulting and financial advice having started her career in NAL Bank PLC, Stanbic IBTC, Zenith Bank, and Manstructs Group. A Master of Science degree holder in Finance and Management from Cranfield School of Management in the UK, Master of Business Administration from University of Lagos and a graduate of Accounting from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Aishah’s academic heights, career progression, hard work and work ethics are perhaps, unassailable. I’m elated that once again, another woman has broken the glass ceiling, despite the barriers of being from an educationally disadvantaged area and what some people call ‘the conservative North’ and a ‘Muslim woman’ at that
However, in her appointment, critics say Buhari’s lack of due diligence and marginalisation of some sections once again manifested, as only a few privileged elites come under his radar when it comes to appointments, such that Aishah was elevated to the position of Executive Director in Diamond Bank (a statutory requirement for such an appointment in CBN) the same day she was appointed by the president as CBN deputy governor designate. In this dispensation some have double and triple appointments, while many are gnawing their teeth in anger, resentment, and complaints of marginalisation leading to the slippery slope in the popularity of this government. Recall that Hadiza Bala Usman was Chief of Staff to Governor Nasir El-Rufai, the most powerful unconstitutional position in our clime, when she was appointed the Director General of Nigeria Ports Authority after a weekend of high-wired political shuttle by the President’s men between Abuja and Kaduna. In this country, and in Buhari’s cabinet where two ministers—Chris Ngige and Prof Stephen Ocheni (appointed after almost two years of denying Kogi state a slot in the Federal Executive Council (FEC) scramble for relevance in a not too ‘juicy’ Ministry of Labour and Productivity, one superhuman, all powerful, know-it-all and workaholic Minister Babatunde Raji Fashola is controlling three ministries in one as Ministry of Power, Works and Housing; his ministers of state are largely unknown, while other politicians struggle for the crumbs, if any.
Hadi Sirika, Minister of State for Aviation has no substantive minister. This is solely Buhari’s creation just to distract attention from his seeming nepotistic approach to governance. So Senator Sirika holds sway, appropriates, acts and works like a substantive Minister of Aviation. Against the spirit of the constitution the all-powerful substantive ministers like Fashola, Adamu Adamu, Audu Ogbe etc now see themselves as firsts among equals. And there is the incongruous case of the president serving as Minister of Petroleum, while the Minister of State, Dr Ibe Kachikwu going by the friction and feud between him and the NNPC GMD, has been rendered redundant. For the Buhari presidency it is chaos and confusion all the way.
Although, it is abnormal to think that some ministers are junior to the others; the constitution envisages and says all states shall have representations at the FEC, but the flagrant disregard of this provision by this government in the categorisation and treatment of some ministers is a violation of that principle. It also means that states are not equal, and some are not represented at the FEC or represented in name only. Invariably, states like Borno (represented by Mustapha Baba Shehuri as Minister of State in Fashola’s vineyard), Bayelsa ( Heinekan Lopkobiri as Minister of State for Agric), Delta represented by Minister of State (Ibe Kachikwu), Kogi, (Prof Stephen Ocheni, Minister of state for Labour and Productivity) , Ibrahim Jibrin (Nasarawa), Minister of State for Environment, Suleiman Hassan (Gombe) another Fashola minister and a whole lot of others are technically figure heads in the cabinet. The skewed appointments, the lacklustre performance of the government and the way and manner ministers are designated and shoved aside, ala Kachkiwu are sure recipe for chaos; and is part of the reason why this government is losing the enormous goodwill it had.
Notwithstanding the monumental failure of the government and the internal wrangling within the inner caucus, collectively there will always be an avenue for them to reconcile and iron out their differences, while the rest of us continue to wallow in the throes of woes. Call it crying more than the bereaved, that is really who we are in this war among the self-serving, elitist political class.