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Media War Over Appointments of Buhari’s Critics Into Govt

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ElevateNews takes a look at the appointment of one of President Muhammadu Buhari’s critics, Seun Onigbinde and his consequent resignation.

The appointment of Mr. Seun Onigbinde, founder of BudIT in an advisory role by an international development agency for an initial period of six months has thrown up discuss in the media space.

Many of the supporters of President Muhammadu Buhari are not happy at all that one of the government’s critics has been invited to take a position in the administration.

Onigbinde was to be assisting Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba but had since resigned the appointment to hide his head from the media noise against his person.

The APC stalwarts are sad over this development just as they had earlier expressed their anger when Mr. Festus Adedayo was appointed as the Special Adviser, media to the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan.

They succeeded in the case of Adedayo because the prolific columnist eventually dropped from getting the appointment. They called for the removal of Onigbinde and they have also succeeded.

Some whose definition of being in government is about monetary compensation think Onigbinde accepted the appointment because of the pay and benefits. They think he is one of those who want to ‘reap where he didn’t sow’

I have read Onigbinde’s post on his engagement (below) and think his acceptance of the role given him is more of his willingness to help fix what he has always complained about than any other thing.

Being a critic does not mean that we should not be willing to help solve a problem we have suggestions for on our own terms like it is in this case.

Critics are not necessarily enemies of people or organizations they criticise. I would have been worried if Onigbinde had been appointed by President Buhari, in which case he may not have as much independence as he does under this terms of engagement.

Onigbinde is not a job seeker. He has more than enough to do and get paid for in his private capacity. The Ministry needs him, more than he needs to work with the ministry.

There are people you don’t like their guts but can’t do without their expertise. It’s like a surgeon who has the expertise in a particular field. If a life is at stake nobody cares the political camp he belongs. His services will be required. It is the same logic that plays out when PMB seeks medical intervention abroad. For all you care his doctors abroad may be his critic.

This Seun Onigbinde appointment is making me have some deep reflections. And this has to do with our perception of public appointments. I have read comments that seem to suggest that the appointment is a misnomer.

Some believe such a position to an acerbic government critic. For them, it’s like reaping where he did not sow more so that he had in the past said he will not take such an appointment. Whether he took the appointment or not for me is not the issue. My concern here is why do we always have this mindset that government offices are some form of compensation? When are we going to get to the point that people will see government appointments as an opportunity to render service?

By the way, the Onigbinde appointment is a sixmonth appointment for a start. The position is being funded by a foreign organisation. So it’s not a Nigeria government affair so to say. But it’s an intervention by a foreign body to help with our budgets. So even if he had said he would not take up such appointment and he ends up taking it, why will anybody think he is going there for food? Some of those raising dust are perhaps inflicted with the come and eat syndrome. Until we rid our ranks of this mindset we may not make any progress as a nation.

But even at that, why do we think an APC government will go for an avowed critic of PMB? That should bother the army of supporters of the govt. For me, it’s a subtle indictment. It simply tells us that it perhaps can’t find people of equal capacity within its rank. The truth be told. When the chips are down, nobody cares about your political and religious affiliations. Will a sick patient insist on being treated by his friends when he knows his friends don’t have the knowledge of his health condition? Seun Onigbinde has the technical know-how. It’s not time to play politics. Let those who feel he is not morally qualified present somebody of higher competence from within the APC rank.

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