The resurgence of endless fights among appointees of President Muhammadu Buhari, especially ministers and heads of departments and agencies, have become a regular feature in recent time.
The orgy of internal strife among the appointees was equally recorded during President Buhari’s first term between 2015 and 2019.
Daily Trust Saturday has catalogued some of the unending in-fighting among these appointees which have not only constituted a distraction to governance but also elicited reactions from critical stakeholders in the country who are worried about the development.
Pantami Vs Dabiri-Erewa
A cold war between the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, and the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ibrahim Pantami, escalated again in May this year over who has the right to the office located at Mbora District, on the Airport Road, Jabi, Abuja.
Dabiri-Erewa had publicly accused Dr Pantami of ejecting her staff from an office given to her by the Federal Government.
Reacting, the minister, in a tweet on May 24, 2020, described Dabiri-Erewa’s allegation as “a big fat lie”.
Magu Vs Malami
The endless tussle between the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, and the suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, came back to the fore following the former’s reported recommendation to President Buhari that the latter should be sacked over “weighty” allegations, including the diversion of recovered loot.
Magu is currently appearing before Justice Ayo Salami-led presidential panel investigating corruption allegations against him, following petitions by Malami and the Department of State Service (DSS). Malami’s memo allegedly accused Magu of diversion of recovered loot.
Before the latest saga, Malami and Magu have been disagreeing on issues. Malami had once blamed Magu for causing the suspension of Nigeria from the Egmont Group, an international anti-corruption body with over 135 member countries.
The AGF had also accused the EFCC boss of breaching Section 10 (1) of the EFCC Act which states that the EFCC must send complex cases to the AGF for better cooperation and prosecution.
Akpabio Vs Nunieh
The case between the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, and the former Acting Managing Director, Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Ms. Gbene Joi Nunieh, has equally joined the long list of fighters in the corridors of power.
Ms. Nunieh, who was relieved of her job early this year, had accused the minister of corruption, sexual and workplace harassment, pipelines bombings, secret cult activities, abuse of office, amongst others, in an interview she granted recently.
However, the minister, in a statement issued Wednesday in Abuja by Anietie Ekong, his media aide, said the allegations were “litany of lies”.
Ahmed Vs Mamman
There is also a case of internal strife between the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed and the Minister of Power, Saleh Mamman, over the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET), Marilyn Amobi.
Hajiya Zainab had reinstated Ms Marylin Amobi, as the Chief Executive Officer of the NBET and inaugurated the board of the agency recently moved to her ministry by President Buhari.
The reinstatement was seen as an affront against her counterpart in the ministry of power, Mamman, who had on two separate occasions recommended Amobi’s sack.
NBET was under the power ministry before the President moved it to the ministry of finance, budget and national planning after a face-off between Mamman and Amobi on December 24, 2019.
Monguno Vs late Kyari
Another scenario of silent tussle among appointees of President Buhari came to the forefront when the National Security Adviser, retired Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno, alleged that undue interference by the late Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, on matters of national security, had slowed down meaningful gains that Buhari had sought to achieve.
Kachikwu Vs Baru
During the first tenure, there was supremacy battle between the former Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, and the late Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru. The former minister had released a letter to President Buhari, accusing the NNPC boss of flagrant violation of due process in the award of contracts and acts of insubordination.
After maintaining initial silence at the time, the NNPC later responded, describing the allegations by Kachikwu against its late Group Managing Director, Baru, as baseless even as it accused the minister of exaggerating and concocting figures to give vent to his claims.
Magu Vs DSS
The suspended EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Magu, has been having issues with the DSS since the first tenure of Mr President.
The Senate had declined to confirm Magu as substantive chairman of the EFCC on December 15, 2016 based on an incriminating report by the DSS.
Though he was presented again to the upper chamber in January 2017 after an alleged executive inquest absolved him of wrongdoing, Magu was rejected for the second time by the Senate on March 15 during its confirmation hearing.
Hameed Vs Kemi Adeosun
There was also the war of attrition between the Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC), Colonel Hameed Ibrahim Ali (retd), and the former Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, who took different positions on the revenue accruing into the money spinning para-military government agency.
Although signs that all were not well in the relationship between the duo were initially under wraps as no one was willing to speak publicly about it, the rift came to public awareness when Ali promoted and demoted some men and officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) without recourse to the former finance minister.
Matters came to a head in the National Assembly when the duo appeared to defend their 2016 budget before the Senate Committee on Finance. The rift was obvious when Ali and Adeosun gave divergent figures and positions on items and figures in their budgets.
NHIS boss Vs Health Minister
The enduring rift in the corridors of power was also revealed when the former Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Usman Yusuf, was given a marching order by then Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, to proceed on suspension for three months, following mounting petitions against alleged fraudulent practices and nepotism by concerned groups.
The letter suspending Yusuf was given to him on July 6, 2017, directing him to go on three months suspension to pave the way for an independent probe of the mountains of petitions against him.
However, in a daring tone, Prof Yusuf fired back at the Health Minister on July 12, telling him to his face that he could not proceed on the suspension as the minister lacks the power to sanction him.
Usman was finally sacked after the exit of the former minister of health in 2019.
Amaechi Vs Sirika
During the first tenure, there was also a silent cold war between the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, and the incumbent Minister of Aviation, Alhaji Hadi Sirika, when the latter was under the former in the same ministry.
The cold war between the two ministers was said to have reached a crescendo when the Aviation minister undertook several programmes in the sector without involving Amaechi. The rift was settled when the president split the ministry of aviation from that of transportation during his current second tenure.
Buhari should show leadership – CSOs
Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have reacted to the unending clashes between presidential aides and the ministers.
The Executive Director CLEEN Foundation, Dr Benson Olugbuo, said the expectation was that government officials and agencies would work together for good governance in Nigeria within the provisions of the 1999 constitution.
On his part, the Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, said that the various clashes were the result of the absence of control and leadership.
Equally, the Convener, Good Governance Team (GGT), Mr Tunde Salman, told Daily Trust Saturday that the issue of dirty bickering among top government functionaries is not good for the image of the presidency they are working for.