Buhari’s men are not working

March 20, 2017 OPINION/NEWS


Prince Charles Dickson

And finally the ministerial list was read on the floor of the Upper Chamber of Nigeria’s National Assembly, and in a few hours the nation was under the couch, the wailing wailers and the body language experts went into over drive. Timeline was October 2015, and I penned my thoughts…today a memo yet to be denounced by the small midget of Kaduna is flying around and I find it necessary to rehearse my thoughts again in this admonition.


Tony: So this was the list we waited four months for, where are the saints, this list is just full of ex-this, ex-that, same people, no young person. Rubbish!

Maduka: Very balanced list, these are technocrats, Ngige “worked” in Anambra, even so did Fashola, and Amaechi too, anybody saying otherwise is just not sincere.

Akin: I think otherwise, how could one bring back Audu Ogbeh, a man who was minister over 30 years ago. It is equally not fair, and against the corruption mantra of this government, to bring an Amaechi, whom, a commission of inquiry in his home state has just indicted.

Solomon: What are we talking about, none of these men we sing moral blues about have been found wanting in any competent court of law. Audu is a simple and honest man, not a looter, one of the few ministers that was not even picked up for corruption during Buhari’s first coming.

Ibrahim: I am a party man, no apologies, what do we expect from the list, these men worked for the party and what is wrong in rewarding them, we can only expect them to deliver and they would under “mai gaskiya”.

Aliyu: Deliver what, and how; with the exception of a few, all these men have been PDP at one point or the other. Was it not that Ngige that confessed with Chris Uba that they rigged elections few years ago? And how about Dambazu who practically was amongst those that defied constitutional requirements and smuggled the late Yar’adau during those dark periods before the law of necessity.

Kikelomo: For me, three women, no way, this is not what Buhari promised, Jonathan did better, maybe Aisha has no influence over him. I am hopefully though, that there will be women in the next batch.

Tony: Which batch, are we talking about; this list is just dancing “azonto” with common sense. I don’t see anything good from it. How, already Katsina would have two ministers.

Solomon: All is I see is bias, what else is performance, other than Fashola, whom at his height, the great Jagaban could not remove, or an Amaechi who against odd, stood for what he believed and fought his own to a standstill.

Tony: What bias, I even heard Fayemi of Ekiti say he was surprised, what “French” lie is that, when their CVs were collected and they were screened, what did he think, it was for?

Maduka: Listen to yourself, if they were screened by the DSS, police etc., and not found wanting, the more reason I stand by the list, and I believe they would perform. We must give them a chance, I know that anyone that refuses to do so, will be butted out.

Kikelomo: Another point for me is, why must Mr. President be Minister for Petroleum, is he saying in the entire nation, no one is qualified? And if we are talking diversification of the economy why would the President not man the agricultural ministry or be in charge of customs?

Solomon: You are standing logic on its head, look at the effect the President has had on the oil sector, and imagine how much he would just simply supervising the NNPC.




At a restaurant, a cockroach suddenly flew from somewhere and sat on a lady.

She started screaming out of fear. With a panic-stricken face and trembling voice, she started jumping, with both her hands desperately trying to get rid of the cockroach.

Her reaction was contagious, as everyone in her group also got panicky.

The lady finally managed to push the cockroach away but… it landed on another lady in the group. Now, it was the turn of the other lady in the group to continue the drama.

The waiter rushed forward to their rescue. In the relay of throwing, the cockroach next fell upon the waiter.

The waiter stood firm, composed himself and observed the behavior of the cockroach on his shirt. When he was confident enough, he grabbed it with his fingers and threw it out of the restaurant.

Sipping my coffee and watching the amusement, the antenna of my mind picked up a few thoughts and started wondering, was the cockroach responsible for their histrionic behavior?

If so, then why was the waiter not disturbed? He handled it near to perfection, without any chaos.

It is not the cockroach, but the inability of those people to handle the disturbance caused by the cockroach, that disturbed the ladies.




Tony: I do not see how these men and women that we already know before even Saraki read the list would perform. It is the same difference…

Solomon: I do not agree, we have to give them the benefit of doubt, which we gave the PDP, the last government, and if they do not, we have the ballot box. I am optimistic.

Aliyu: Well, the other half may as well be Mr. Buhari’s trump card. I recall during the era of late Dora in NAFDAC, she performed, even when we could not say same of the Health Ministry…so if for example our judiciary and legal system improves significantly under any of those 8 lawyers than we can shout “eureka”.

Maduka: There is hope, we are on the right path, pessimists, and wailers would wail, but I have hope.

Ibrahim: Thank you Maduka, people are not happy because the status quo is on change mechanism, there will be teething problems, we have forgotten how same Nigerians waited on Ngozi Iweala, Madam finance extra-ordinary. And what did we achieve.




Nigeria remains a great nation despite all its equally great shortcomings, again though we are being offered on a platter of gold, or rather change, another shot at true greatness.

I dare say with a sense of certainty that almost all of Buhari’s ministers have barely delivered as expected all we expect; on the contrary like the story used for the interlude, I realized that, it is not the shouting of Nigerians that disturbs our leaders, but it’s their inability to handle the disturbances caused by the shouting that disturbs them.

It’s not the traffic jams on the road that disturbs me, but my inability to handle the disturbance caused by the traffic jam that disturbs me.

More than the problem, it’s my reaction to the problem that creates chaos in my life.

So whether to date, the change mantra remains a mirage because we simply don’t get it, that if you are a mechanic, or you are a doctor at the local hospital, a driver or carpenter; you need to do your best. And even though you and I are not Ministers if we could muster a little of our best, the question of whether Mr. President got it right with his choices won’t matter so much, sadly these Buhari’s men and women fail, we all fail or is there a positive surprise somewhere—Only time will tell.











Prince Charles Dickson

Currently Prince Charles, is based out of Jos, Plateau State, and conducts field research and investigations in the Middle Belt Region of Nigeria with an extensive reach out to the entire North and other parts. Prince Charles worked on projects for UN Women, Search for Common Ground, and International Crisis Group, among others. He is an alumnus of the University of Jos and the prestigious Humanitarian Academy at Harvard and Knight Center For Journalism, University of Texas at Austin. A doctoral candidate of Georgetown University

Born in Lagos State (South West Nigeria), Prince Charles is proud of his Nigerian roots. He is a Henry Luce Fellow, Ford Foundation grantee and is proficient in English, French, Yoruba Ibo and Hausa. Married with two boys, and a few dogs and birds.


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