By Kunle Oyatomi
As expected by most Nigerians, we are beginning to feel some movements in the polity. For those who know, all movement has a melody that could either irritate or please. It all depends on where you are coming from, different movements could evoke different responses that is what the two critical moves from the seat of power in Abuja this week have done.
The first big motion in time to beat all expectations was the cabinet list, presented in two instalments.Â The first list pulled a surprise because of what it omitted, while the second punched a hole in our joy because of what it contained. In the former, names we had high expectations would make the list was surprisingly not there, but melodramatically surfaced in the second list. However, the latter list made a lot of Nigerians startle with disbelief.
Names we had thought were already rested in the governance of Nigeria resonated from the new list and made a lot of people feel very disappointed. This reaction was due primarily to the general feelings of Nigerians that this country can do better than recycling old handsÂ that have not added up to any significant difference in the governance of Nigeria.
All the same a couple of new faces did appear whose antecedents hold some promise. That is only a cause for muted joy. Muted because the unexpected had happened that brought to an anti-climax popular expectation that the Acting President could well make a break with the past. He didnâ€™t.
The point of concern though is, what strength could such a motley of overused hands, (some of them already slowing down), and fresh-from-the-mint materials have to make a strong team? Not a spectacular prospect, a lot of people would argue, but one can only put the whole thing down to the charisma of the Acting PresidentÂ to fashion a strong team out of this â€œmixed blessingsâ€ of a cabinet that has been putÂ together.
It is early days yet to make any serious assessment of how this would impact on public opinion. However, what is not in dispute is that weâ€™ve got to wait to laugh.
While The Senate is Already Making some scream
Perhaps the worst of the screaming came from the â€œNEXTâ€ newspaper which on Thursday in alarm wrote; â€œÂ Criminals can contest !!â€ This was in response to the proposed amendment being made by the senate on Section 182 sub section 1 of the constitution to the effect that regardless of aÂ person having been indicted by a Judicial commission of enquiry (amongst others), such a person should be allowed to contest an election into public office.
That section had originally barred any such indicted person from taking part in the election. If that is not a kill-joy to public expectations, I do not know what else it is.
That what we will eventually get from this Constitutional Review exercised will be a mish-mash of bitter-sweet, concoction is already manifesting in what we now know of aspects of this review. Take the case of Section 160 of the constitution where senate is suggesting a powerful INEC with freedom to self regulate and make rules for the election process, independent of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
But on the other hand the SenateÂ also wants a situation in which the President also appoints the INEC chairman.
Some may say thatâ€™s fair enough. But we know this country well enough as well to doubt that political manipulation and outright fraud would not be employed to abuse that simpleÂ clause. Wouldnâ€™t it be safest for our fledgling democracy for the politician President to completely hands off a process in which he is an interested party? Thatâ€™s what the electoral process is; and it must be TOTALLY devoid of any political interference from both the Executive and the Legislature.
Without that, the process will still be open to corruption â€“ that is not what the Nigerian public, and friends of the country from the international community expects, and are demanding from the law-makers.
We will accept nothing less the best. No half measures, please.
No Early-Warning System Here?
In most countries of the world today, the question of developing and operating an early-warning system has become part of their preparedness for handling natural disasters. But here we are still leafing around and not taking the question of natural disaster seriously. Which is why, in spite of the fact that the authorities were aware long before now about our current weather condition, the whole country was caught in it before we knew anything of it.
The nation can ill-afford this lazy attitude of officials in sensitive institutions whose operations affect millions of lives-like the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET).
The guys there should wake up to their responsibilities and fashion aÂ robust public information unit that will ring the alarm bells (the early warning signals) ahead of natural occurrences, like our current weather condition, so that we can avoid the near panic that almost set in because of activities in the rumour mill in various parts of the country.
Wake-up NIMET, Wake-up!!