For those who might not have taken note of the Women Affairs Minister, Aisha Al-Hassan since becoming a member of the Muhammadu Buhari cabinet, she shot herself into reckoning on Wednesday September 6th, 2017.
Oftentimes, you need to do the unthinkable, break the norm and upset the ‘system’ for you to be given a space and attention. I doubt if her employer, President Buhari had shown much interests in her ministry since appointing her. But from now on and till she quits that ministry, (which is predictable anyway), Baba is more likely to assign an eye to watch the steps, the moves, the comments and associations of this lady of courage.
But what did the Minister for Women Affairs say? Or and what did she not?
First, I am of the opinion that the minister has said that a man must be bound by his words. And for a president whose USP (Unique Selling Point) in the estimation of Nigerians is integrity and who rode to power on the strength of that sentiment, if indeed President Buhari and his loyalists still remember he committed himself to only one term in office to clear the mess of the past regime, it is not only incumbent on Buhari to respect that pledge, it is germane for his loyalists to help him realize that.
Second, Aisha Al-Hassan appears to have also hit the nail on its head by reminding Nigerians that when a president, out of his four years, goes in and out of hospitals for three months at a stretch, it does not appear that the occupier of that office possesses the vigour required to cope with that office.
In a way, the minister has also said that regardless of the perks of office, loyalty should rule in political gaming. When enjoying the perks of office, how many Nigerian politicians can display the courage to remain loyal to the very source of their political relevance in the first instance? In a very courageous manner, Al-Hassan has put it succinctly that Atiku remains the source of her political relevance and she intends to keep that loyalty to him. This is commendable!
For the presidency, rather than be rattled and unsettled by the truth of her comments and the veracity of her claims, the development offers both the party, the All Progressives Congress and the Presidency fresh opportunity to begin the process of the search for a replacement for the President, who obviously has shown well enough that he lacks the capacity to carry on with the rigors of this assignment.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo might emerge the busiest vice president to have emerged from Nigeria. Forget about his hectic schedules while the president was away in a United Kingdom hospital, what really has changed since the return of the President two weeks ago? Since the President returned, Osinbajo has criss-crossed the Nigerian space assessing the flood in Benue; commissioning a farm project in Taraba and other places; performing exactly the functions of the president.
Let the truth be told, Nigerians do not need a president whose strength would only be demonstrated by his ability to watch the Super Eagles in his bedroom and photo ops with former secondary school mates in Katsina.
Nigerians do not need a President who lacks the capacity to deal with issues of the state with the alacrity and swiftness required. Today, it is on record that more than half of federal appointments which ought to have been due to his party members are still curiously in the hands of members of the Peoples Democratic Party which his party the APC ousted since May 2015. Other state matters have suffered unimaginably slow attention and the evidences abound everywhere.
This is not to say Buhari is incompetent or insincere. Indeed, there is no indictment of whatever form here. Under the present circumstances however, it is not the sincerity that counts but the ability to mobilise all that is required for effective governance and delivery of promises made. The present obvious frail and fragile looks of the President do not assure Nigerians they have a president who can push for their good.
And that is one of the things that the minister did not say. Aisha Al-Hassan has cast no aspersion on the person of the president or even the presidency. The minister has not said that she is not ready to continue her assignment as laid out to her. All she has said is that given the assurances she had from the president prior his election, she has no qualms queuing behind her godfather when the race begins for the 2019 replacement. Now, her audacity has set the stage for the 2019 race to begin in ernest.
Since she dropped what many now see as a bombshell, I have listened to those questioning the morality to continue to serve in her capacity. The arguments have been as funny as ludicrous. The minister belongs in the APC. And need we be reminded that the ruling party today was, in the determination to wrest power from the Goodluck Jonathan-led PDP regime, a convergence of different political tendencies including of course the one to which the minister’s godfather belongs to?
What if she has even been an opposition element but appointed into the cabinet on the merit of a supposed quality that she can bring to bear for Nigeria’s sake?
Whether her antagonists like it or not, the minister has opened a chapter that will fill our book of 2019. For months to come, discourse about her courageous comment and declaration would fill the air.
The tempo has changed. Even if this is the only role that woman would play in the political engine room of 2019, she has ignited it and if the heat gets too much for her exit from the cabinet, that wont alter anything. Madam Minister can take a bow.