Last week was one of the worst for the President Muhammadu Buhari-All Progressives Congress (APC) Federal Government. It was a week in which the speculated in-fighting in the Buhari government came to the open in such a dramatic way. Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, Head of Service, and Mr. Abba Kyari, President’s Chief of Staff, were reportedly involved in a verbal confrontation over the illegal reinstatement of Abdulraheed Maina, former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms.
The Buhari government rode to power on the promise that it would fight corruption and end the regime of impunity and favouritism which characterised the last administration. It began by arresting and detaining some operatives of the previous government and recovering humongous amounts, promising Nigerians that things would be done in transparent and open manner. However, it did not take a long time for things to begin to unravel.
First were the lopsided appointments with key officials coming from a certain part of the country. Second was the quality of the persons so appointed as most were seen by commentators as relations and friends of the president.
Officials of the government have been reportedly involved in one scandal or the other. As they get involved in scandals, the president was able to remain scandal-free. However, according to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the leaked memo from the office of the Head of Service ‘has exposed the alleged complicity of President Buhari in the reinstatement of Maina into the civil service’.
The party said it did not believe the President’s supposed war against corruption, stressing that Buhari should be held responsible for the rot in the civil service. It also called on the National Assembly to launch an investigation into the matter in order to unravel the roles played by groups and individuals in the Maina saga.
Analysts are of the view that Oyo-Ita’s position was clearly stated in the memo and that she should not be made the fall guy. According to them, she has showed that she was not part of the rot in the system and should not be dragged in the mud. Indeed a school of thought believes that the plot to make Oyo-Ita take the blame on this issue has backfired and the masterminds of the plot are still in service. But the president has remained silence and aloof in the matter.
Will she remain standing? Will she be made the fall guy? Will the president punish the plotters? Will the issue be swept under the carpet? Time will tell.
-By Ikechi Nzeako