Super Ministers and other stories

buhari-and-new-ministersHAVE you congratulated our new Ministers?”
“I am still thinking about it, actually. I don’t know whether to congratulate them or to commiserate or to pity some of them. They have merged Ministries that need not be merged. Some Perm Secs are now floating. Six months and this is it?”
“What kind of talk is that? You have come again oh”.
“I wonder too. At least you can see that round pegs have been put in round holes, and shame on all you doubting Thomases, our government is good to go.”
“”Who is talking politics? Can we discuss Nigeria and leave politics out of it? And please, leave that thing about pegs. Some pegs are neither round nor square, they are misshaped.”
“Everything is political.”
“I know. Very soon, you will also insist that that funny walking stick Ngige was carrying about, like the rod of Moses, is also political.”
“Okay, what is your point?”
“I have said it before and I repeat it again. I still think whenever Ministers are to be screened by the Senate, their portfolios should be attached. It helps to prepare the prospective Minister mentally. It deepens the screening process, and makes it even more participatory.”

“There is no such Constitutional requirement.”
“Everything doesn’t have to be in the Constitution.”
“Okay we have heard. You have said it before. When next we are appointing Ministers, we will disclose their portfolios”.
“What do you mean we?”
“Na we, now”
“See, I usually don’t vote. But this last election, I got my PVC and I voted. Those PDP people already had their cup full. I voted for change.”
“Me too.”
“But the campaign is over, and I see too many of you still locked in an election mode.”
“Na so e be. As I dey sef, I dey wait for 2019. Na for Baba side I dey.”
“This Baba syndrome is a problem. It is breeding a culture of mass sycophancy, hypnotism and amnesia.”

“When you elevate a government to a semi-divine status, you lose sight of your responsibility to hold government accountable. The ascribed, contrived, or self-imposed divinity of elected officials is a threat to democracy.”
“I think you should be holding this conversation with your brother, Patrick Obahiagbon, I beg. Simple matter, you want to give somebody headache. One of these days, I will arrange a meeting between you and the Igodomigodo. Any little talk, somebody must look for dictionary. You too dey show. Na only you?”
“Leave am make e dey yarn. People who have become Ministers have become Ministers.”
“Look at it this way, I know one of those old Ministers. The day he was given a portfolio, a very important one at that, the guy said he didn’t know what the Ministry was all about. I was shocked.”
“Well, I am not shocked.”
“He ended up creating problems.”
“We know.”

“So, what usually happens is that when a man takes a Ministry, he had no prior knowledge of, he spends the next six months trying to figure it out.”
“That’s why Baba has chosen experienced people who have been in government at senior levels.”
“But one of them has said he is there to learn”
“Who is that?”
“You go and find out.”

“If I may play the Devil’s advocate, I think what the man means is that he is open to ideas. As human beings, we are always learning. At the retreat, the point was made clear that this is not a cabinet of learners, but drivers. People who are ready to move things forward.”

“Were you there? Suppose they can’t move anything.”
“Someone told me. I have my contacts.”
“You are just a bloody gossip. The truth is that some Ministers spend the whole time learning and moving nothing”
“I see noise-making has started already”.
“We don’t need noise. I want to see the change I asked for with my PVC.”
“Fashola is the luckiest guy.”
“Baba meta, himself.”
“What is that?”
“Power, Works, Housing.  The Holy Trinity of Government.”
“E remain make dem add Finance.”
“Fashola is mai mhe-en.”
“I don’t envy him. I actually sympathise with him. I hope he has not been set up for demystification and disambulation.”

“Why don’t you speak like a normal human being?”
“Those three key portfolios make him a Super Minister.”
“They should just have named him Co-ordinating Minister of the Economy.”
“No. We don’t need that. Every Minister is important.”
“Fashola in that assignment, I tell you, will need the services of a doctor, a massager, and prayer warriors”
“Don’t worry yourself. The man will do it. He performed in Lagos. The moment he left, Lagos shut down. See how Ambode is struggling with Fashola’s big shoes. It is just Fashola’s wife that I pity.”
“What has his wife got to do with this? Please.”
“You don’t know? This one that they have made him a Baba Meta; I swear, when next the man shoots straight, his wife go born triplets! One for Power, one for Works, and the other for …”
“Amaechi wife, na twins that one go born.”

“Are you guys alright?”
“Wait oh, e be like say na only one Baba give Amaechi. Transportation.”
“Na two. Transport not Transportation. Baba has added …ation for Aviation. Amaechi is in charge of Transport. He is in charge of Aviation, add the two: Transportation. Him na Baba Ibeji.”
“With control over 15 parastatals/agencies. God! You have his phone number?”
“No. I no get. But Baba didn’t treat our brother, JFK well”
“He is in charge of Solid Minerals. That is a very strategic Ministry. It is like Agriculture. A developed Solid Minerals sector will further diversify the economy and increase non-oil revenue.”
“But na only one they give am.”
“Me, I thank God that he has a portfolio. I think PMB gave him Solid Minerals deliberately to please Fayose.”
“What has Fayose got to do with this now?”
“Everything. You know he was the one who begged President Buhari to give Ekiti State, a solid ministry. He said Ekiti people don’t want any yebuyebu Ministry but a very solid one.”

“So, the President has shown that he listens, and he has given the people of Ekiti State, the Ministry of Solid Minerals!”
“You are not okay.”
“Ekiti is solid. Whatever Fayemi is able to do in that Ministry, his efforts will be appreciated.  But as for Amaechi and Fashola, well…”
“Who is in charge of Niger Delta? That is another strategic Ministry”
“Na Pastor they put there oh. Pastor Uguru.”
“Me, I just hope the man knows that that is not a Ministry where you go and chop guguru oh.  It is an important portfolio.”
“If Uguru likes, let him chop guguru. As long as he does not chop alone, and the people of the Niger Delta get enough popcorn too.”
“But wait a moment, is that not the same Pastor who during the Ministerial screening swore that God forbids him having anything to do with PDP members?”

“He didn’t swear. He said it.”
“He will probably need a one-on-one retreat with President Buhari. This is a government of nobody and a government of everybody.”
“Hey! Even our critics are beginning to quote us as if they are quoting the Bible. Patapata we go win again o, winner! ”
“Just tell your Uguru that he is not an APC Minister, but a Minister of the Federal Republic, whose doors must be open to everyone.”
“Hen, hen. Are you looking for contract already, or a consultancy? Do I give you the man’s number?”
“I don’t need his number. I am making commonsense.”
“Oh, you want to become another Ben Bruce, the commonsense Senator? He goes about saying he is making commonsense.”
“He is right. We need commonsense”
“We don’t need commonsense. Too much commonsense caused all our problems. What we need is uncommon sense, to get rid of common nonsense. Tell him.”

“Who is in charge of Finance?”
“That’s the Ogun State Ministry.”
“What do you mean Ogun State Ministry? I am asking you who is the new Super Minister in charge of our money?”
“She is from Ogun State. Kemi Adeosun; she speaks fone.”

“I hope she won’t become a Madame No.”
“Madam what?”
“Madam No Money.
“Nobody will try that with us. We will tell that person what to do.”
“This is part of the problem with governance; too many people claiming to know what should be done. I don’t remember PMB making you a Minister, adviser or errand boy. When these Ministers start failing, we will talk again.”
“Leave us alone, I beg. It is our turn…”

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  • Meeday

    Now this is the Reuben Abati i always know..
    Welcome back
    Nice piece of meaningful “dramarie”

    • NonPartisanElder

      Obviously, you meant this is the Reuben Abati we used to know. But we cannot welcome him back with open arms until he comes clean about the circumstances that made him continue as cheer leader and spinner under the most corrupt government and not having the courage to quit. We must let people like Abati know that they cannot take people and even the leaders they were supposed to advise for a ride, in pursuit of personal gains.

      • amador kester

        Try and welcome him back to give him interractive opportunity for penitential reflection on the fundamental difference between national service and quitting with integrity.. You kmow anyone who served any corrupt administration is bound to look queerly like someone under spiritual attack

  • Osazee Samuels

    And reuben abati is back.
    It is a shame really that your time in D GEJ administeration has demystified you and put your objectivity in question. If you could not criticise the administeration you were part of, what right do you have to criticise the present one?
    Still a nice piece

    • Highflyer

      Which story did you read? Where have you seen criticism?

      • Emeka

        Highflyer, thank you for taking time to correct all the comments by those in election mode. Reuben was employed by GEJ and he served in that capacity, very simple and now he is back to his profession. I love Reuben’s writing style, very conversational and we must not direct our thoughts, comments and energy to cow this great writer into retreating into his shell. Enough of dissipating our energy criticizing the past administration. Let us leave every action for Buhari and his team going forward. I particularly love the appointment of Fashola and the portfolios assigned to him. In all sincerity, none of the ministers can boast of being corrupt free including Fashola but i can score him 80% on a scale of 1 to 100% corrupt free assessment. That means, the man is an excellent man. Please Reuben, you are welcome back. We really want to read more of your write ups.

        • Highflyer

          One vote up for you. I’m not allowed to rig the disqus voting system otherwise I may have been tempted to do so.

  • #Ayp

    Feeble attempts at comedy. Try harder. I presume your mouth was shut for over 4 years when you guys were in power. You have no moral justification to criticise or condemn another government no matter how terribly such government performs. It couldn’t be any worse than your track record anyways. Your attempts at remaining relevant are duly noted, albeit, too late. Please take a nap.

    • Highflyer

      You can’t take away his rights as a free citizen of Nigeria from him. No matter how hard you try.

  • Abass Olisa

    Nice one sir, but i was so disappointed with your role in GEJ govt. Looked like you never even offered advice at all. What i would like to read about is your experience with thr govt.

    • Highflyer

      You are one of those people who are still in election mode. What, can’t you take a joke?

  • adebayo

    It’s so pathetic that we can not appreciate people of indisputable quality and intelligence whom God has given uncommon sense to administer. He still carries the syndrome that truncate the nation’s economy believing no one has the capacity to make things right which the past administrations failed. He’s such an embittered man. SMH!

    • Eagle Eye

      Guy relax, at least he said it in a comical way, laugh at least and look at the bright side; they will succeed because God will help them.

  • christopher

    Thats the Ogun State Ministry.. and she speaks fone’ LOL……………

  • Paul Graham

    Sorry oh my before before friend Ali Baba!

  • Highflyer

    Now reading newspaper is more fun. Welcome back Reuben. You ve never disappointed. Ooooooooooshe.

  • Ayo Faleti

    Welcome back Reuben.
    Methinks you should not have gone in the first place. Now, your objectivity
    will always be questioned and people (cynics) will, rightly, rubbish the
    message and the messenger…

    • Kehinde Lawal

      Who reads a journalist who has betrayed their trust; Abati only writes for meal ticket sake not for objectivity. When another Jonathan comes along he (Abati) shall betray you twice!

  • New Nigerian

    To Reuben – Even you have become a round peg in round hole, again. You were definitely cast in the wrong geometry in your foray into public service… Now you’ve learnt – Stick with what you were born to do. Marvelous piece!

  • Chuma Iwuanyanwu

    Some of you can insult Reuben all you want; he is a first class holder at University of Calabar and topped with a Ph.D. If you think it is easy, just try it. Great treatise, Dr. Abati

  • amador kester

    Sound advice in your potential novel to attach portofolios to senate ministerial screening. However that could make cabinet reshuffle a bit harder and moreover you need a constitutional court to impute and interprete that as a constitutional provision for senatorial confirmation. Or until you write a better constitution

  • Yahaya Balogun

    Dr. Abati, do you remember this article?

    Come back to us Dr. Abati
    User Rating: / 1 
    The Guardian Newspaper.

    SIR: The Punch newspaper back page column of August 1, 2012 titled: “Abati should consider resigning his appointment” authored by Sabella Abidde made an interesting soul searching for Dr. Reuben Abati. I believe strongly in the infallibility of human beings. We are bound to make mistakes, whether by commission or omission at a particular point in time in our existence.

    That is why we are mortals. But ability to atone for our sins and mistakes and quickly come back to normal life is crucial to us being forgiven of those mistakes. Though, Reuben Abati has regrettably hurt our feelings by being on the wrong path and defending the indefensible, but as aptly elucidated by Sabella Abidde in his exposition, it is not too late for our stolen Reuben to come back to us.

    We miss his artful gymnastic and skillfulness. We also still believe in his exceptional natural capacity of intellect, especially as shown in his creative and original works in art. Please, Reuben! come back to us as you do not belong at this period to that constituency of soulless politicians. Please come back….!

    • Yahaya Balogun,

    Arizona, USA.