Saturday, 17 May 2008

Nigeria: Ali denies lobbying for post

Ali back in the news

It would appear the hot coals and spitting fires of dissent and disdain have been roasting the backside of Dr. Ahmadu Ali.

After media reports of his rejection of the ambassadorial posting to South Africa where sources have it that it was only South Africa of all the possible host countries that was willing to receive his credentials and the President’s decision to consider a more qualified career diplomat, the doctor might have been at a loss.

By coincidence, because of the problematic Federal Character profile required to appoint human vessels from each region in Nigeria rather than then best people in Nigeria; the erstwhile Minister of State in the Ministry of Health – Mr. Gabriel Aduku – hails from the same state as Dr. Ali, this being Kogi State, the President might have a bit of a challenge.

Ali denies lobbying for post

Obviously, one would expect that balancing the Federal Character of the Federal Executive Council can include a reshuffle and the selection of other qualified Kogi State technocrats who have a desire to serve rather than a demand to be rewarded and respected – that would hopefully provide the President with great opportunities.

Dr. Ahmadu Ali strenuously denies that he is lobbying for a ministerial appointment; that can only be very good news, I would also hope that no consideration whatsoever is being taken to advance his name for any federal appointment – he has done his time and he should give way to others.

Of service and possible disservice

For argument sake, we can agree that Dr. Ahmadu Ali has served his country as a Minister of Education in the 70s and consequently a Senator, I do not however believe that the chairmanship of a ruling party constitutes service to ones country.

I think that political position within a party structure confers too much authority and power to that personality who has no electoral mandate but exercises undue influence usually inimical to good governance and geared mainly to entrenching party influence and sometimes beclouding what should be transparent processes.

Undue influence of ruling party chairmen

The case of A.M.A. Akinloye as the Chairman of the ruling National Party of Nigeria between 1979 – 1983 and the influence he wielded on a national scale, the statements coming from the current Chairman of the ruling PDP – Chief Vincent Ogbulafor – indicate that we need a reform of the kind of public profile of these chairmen – they should merely be administrators of the party system, their continuous appearance on the national scene pronouncing policy and influencing government decisions must be curbed through constitutional restraint.

As private citizens they have every right to contribute to the debate about good governance but as party chairman, they should and must keep a low profile.

They were not elected to public office and they are not accountable to the electorate, so they should not be so visible as to be implicated in why there are serious conflicts of interest between self-interested party policy and good governance of Nigeria as desired by the electorate.

Meanwhile, if Dr. Ahmadu Ali is beginning to settle into inevitable retirement from “National Service”, I can only bid him Godspeed; however, if he is up to some mischief, he would be a man of questionable character – such an one is not needed in the Nigeria of today.

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