‘First Lady’s comment timely, commendable’
Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State yesterday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to heed the advice of his wife, Aisha, and other Nigerians to rejig his cabinet.
According to the governor, there is need to bring in people who would help to actualise the vision of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Nigeria.
Aisha, while speaking to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) last week about some appointments made by her husband, cautioned that she might not support his re-election in 2019 if the president failed to shake up his cabinet.
Her words: “Not only me in person, because after receiving complaints upon complaints, I decided to tell him. But all the same, a lot of people have been coming on their own and also collectively to tell him that things are not going the way it should when it comes to putting people in certain positions.
“Because most of those that are occupying positions in agencies, nobody knows them and they themselves don’t know our party manifesto, what we campaigned for. They were not part of us completely. People were sitting down in their houses, folding their arms only for them to be called to come and head an agency or take a ministerial position. They don’t have a mission or vision of our APC.”
Speaking with State House correspondents in Abuja yesterday, Okorocha, the chairman, Progressive Governors’ Forum, who returned with Buhari from Germany at the weekend, urged the president to harken to the voice of the people.
He remarked: “Quite frankly, I am a governor and I know where the shoe pinches most. It is like somebody in the game and those who are outside seem to see more. So it’s natural. I think for any reason, if there is a clarion call on Mr. President to look into his cabinet and bring in more people, there is nothing wrong in taking note of the comments from Nigerians.
“If everyone keeps saying the same thing, there must be a sense in what they are saying. But that is not really the situation that should create a big hullabaloo like this big thing we are all attaching to it.
“Most people in the APC feel they are not carried along, so many people who worked for the party are complaining everyday. They want appointment, the people in the south-east are saying that they have not been appointed, some people from the north east are saying they have not been appointed, even some people in the north-west where the president comes from. Some people at local government are saying they have not been remembered. So at what point do we draw this line. But there is always room for amendment.”
Okorocha dismissed the allegation that Buhari used the opportunity of the visit to seek medical attention in Germany.
He said: “The president never went for any medical check-up. At least I was with him till 1 a.m. after dinner before I left him and he went to bed, and the following day I came out to see him in the morning.
“He didn’t go to any hospital. The only hospital we went to was to see a military general who had an accident. I don’t know why in this part of the world people are only happy when someone is down. I think we also have to change our attitude.
“If Buhari succeeds, it is Nigeria that is succeeding, and if Nigeria fails it is not Buhari that is failing. So we just need to support him to succeed so that all of us can be happy.”
On the president’s wife’s interview with the BBC, the governor said both comments were taken out of context: “I was there when Mr. President made the comment. I think both the interview and the comment were taken out of context. I can understand why the international community speaks on this matter because of human rights and all that is going on around the world.