Truth be told, the “I am (not) a criminal” saga was a welcome distraction for many Buharists and informal presidential mouthpieces. It trended just as another piece of news snuck into the stands and disappeared in a hale of English comprehension lessons and different versions of that (London) Telegraph interview.
Lucky folks. For how would they have come back from their initial defense of the budget to Buhari now sacking all those senior civil servants for bungling the budget and padding it with a record N1.7T in pork chops or is it yams now? Same budget that “we did not understand” as we are not trained economists but empty vessel armchair critics? Same one that zero budgeting would have taken care of? Same one that had a multi billion Naira state house hospital capital expenditure that was ok, as it would stop medical tourism by the state house residents? Same budget that the health minister has now denied as not being his???
The most interesting part for me was our conversations before ministers were appointed. You know…when all those nice pictures of Mr.P breaking bread at Ramadan, with all those perm secs at the villa, was shared with glee across our online space.
The refrain then was:
“what do ministers do sef?”
“Perm secs do all the work”
“Ministers only drive convoys and blow sirens”
“Yes, they are noisemakers!”
“Buhari can run the government without ministers”
“Perm secs are responsible for the budget…they write it after all”
On the note of who is responsible for the budget, they did not care about our argument of responsible Vs accountable and task doer Vs task owner. They also turned a deaf ear when we told them how same perm secs must have been part of the rot of the Jonathan years, as signatories to release of illicit funds, etc. So now, how many perm secs did you call out for the budget scandal? Do you even know the name of the perm secs for any of Fashola’s or Fayemi’s ministries? Yet you went to town on these two ministers and their billion naira pork chopped official residence and bogus N800m website line items? Not perm Sec anymore?
Anyhow, you did the right thing. Fashola is accountable and even responsible and Mr. P is ultimately responsible and owns the outcomes, good or bad.
And perm secs? Well, on behalf of the ministers, they run and administer the bureaucratic apparatus and structure that carries out actions ranging from strategy to planning and execution, in the delivery of the ends of governance.
Opinions that will enrich my learning are welcome.