Political activist and former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank has said that the corrupt pedigree of some personalities that now populate President Muhammadu Buhari’s new cabinet shows that governance in the country has been officially and effectively handed over to looters and manifestly corrupt individuals.
He called on Nigerians to lower their expectations for true dividends of democracy but should rather expect unprecedented and astronomical rise in the level of corruption in the country during the period the current administration will remain in office.
Reacting to the inauguration of new Ministers and assignment of portfolios released on Wednesday, Frank, in a statement he signed and made available to newsmen in Abuja on Thursday, said nothing positive can come from the new Ministers because “70 to 80 per cent of them have at one time or the other been guests of the anti-corruption agencies with most of them still battling corruption charges in court.”
According to Frank, “there will be more corruption in this cabinet than in any other administration in the history of Nigeria as some of the Ministers purchased their slots and would want to recoup their investments at the detriment of Nigeria and Nigerians.
“Therefore, I urge Nigerians to brace up for more hardships as corruption and incompetence have been enthroned with corruption masters turned Ministers to run the affairs of government in Nigeria.
“Buhari told Nigerians in 2015 that he will cut his salary by 50 per cent, reduce the aircraft in the presidential fleet before he became President. He also said he would reduce the cars in the Presidential convoy.
“But Nigerians can testify that this was never done. He neither reduced his salary, aircraft in the presidential fleet nor cars in his convoy.
“With this therefore, it is clear to Nigerians that General Buhari is a product of lies who has continued to live and rule with falsehood. It is clear that Nigeria cannot move forward under this circumstances because darkness and light have nothing in common.”
Reacting to Buhari’s directive that ministers who want to see him must go through his Chief of Staff or the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Frank queried: “What is the President still doing in office? By this action, he has completely abdicated his responsibilities and declared himself unavailable and unfit to occupy the Office of President.
“To subordinate ministers to the whims and caprices of his aides represent a gross abuse of office and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“This is impunity of the highest order and a criminal alienation of the states of the federation that these ministers represent. Effectively, General Buhari’s misguided order means that the CoS and SGF are the de facto presidents.”
He said that another reason why Nigerians must not take Buhari and his cabinet serious is that he is not a man of integrity.
“In 2015, while campaigning, General Buhari promised to reduce the cost of governance if elected. After his election, he appointed 36 Ministers in apparent fulfilment of the promise. Why did he appoint 43 Ministers in 2019?
“We don’t need seer to know that ballooning of the cabinet would greatly increase government administrative cost and impact negatively on his ability to deliver on infrastructural development in the face of dwindling national revenue.
“Never in the history of Nigeria has any President appointed 43 Ministers. What has changed between 2015 and 2019 that led to this atrocious expansion of the cabinet?” Frank asked.