The issue of change in Nigeria is not about Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, John Oyegun or the All Progressive Congress (APC) - it’s about Nigeria as a country. So when APC invaded our democratic terrain, offering us “change” in place of our misery, we rushed at it. However, unlike the Nollywood movies we watch, or the literature texts we read, the change we are talking about is a reality that the Buhari-led government and the APC must come to terms with. Recently, there has been retraction of some of the very elements of change which was used in wooing Nigerians to vote for them, probably because they perceived its impracticability and unfeasibility. It’s easier said than done! But this should not be taken to mean that I’m writing off the administration of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari even before it kicks off - as that would be greatly unfair of me - but to acquaint the APC, and all pioneers of change of the difficulty that would stand on their way to the implementation of the long-awaited change Nigeria deserves. Besides, to be forewarned is to be forearmed.

To start with, lasting change in every political setting transcends any affiliation (political and otherwise) and cuts across different stratum, background, religion, party and so on. Thus, for APC members to think that they will dominate Buhari’s government because they are from the same political party with him will be a misconception; for Muslims to think that they will dominate Buhari’s government because they belong to the same religion will be a minus to his administration; for northerners to think that they will occupy key positions because they are from the same region with Buhari is a calamity; and so it continues. But this is the norm in Nigerian politics, and if allowed to continue, will definitely constitute a stumbling block to the change we craved for, and eventually voted into power.

Against this backdrop, the test for determining who should occupy any position in government should be “competence”. What do you possess and what can you offer? This should be the determinant factor as to who will be what in Nigeria. Thus, if anyone is able to meet the competence criteria, then irrespective of who he is, he should be allowed to be part of the change team. In simple terms, an “all-encompassing” government should be the focus of Buhari’s administration if change is to be actualized.

On another note, the tsunami of defections witnessed immediately after the defeat of Jonathan cannot be unconnected to a quest for fortunes in Buhari’s government. Many of the defectors are people who were promised ministerial, ambassadorial and other slots in government if Jonathan had won. Of course they thought he would win; they strongly believed that, and followed him. When he lost, they knew the game was up for them and had to defect to where they could sustain their means of livelihood. I don’t blame them because in Nigeria you have people whose sole profession/occupation is politics. So wherever bread and butter is, that is where you will find them. Furthermore, many of the APC members who were largely instrumental to the victory of the party were not originally part of the movement. They were the aggrieved members of the PDP wooed by the APC to form alliance with them towards ensuring their victory at the polls. You remember the G7 and the new PDP movement? That was how it all started. PDP lost it when they failed to heed to their grievances, and APC warmly welcomed the aggrieved PDP members with open arms; and in some instances, lobbied them. The implication of this is that even the so-called APC members advocating for change are “tainted”. They are tainted because APC have made us believe that nothing good can come out from PDP, and that PDP is responsible for Nigeria’s dwindling fortunes due to their mismanagement. So what then do we have today? The likes of Ali Modu Sheriff who was declared a Boko Haram sponsor by the APC immediately he left their political party, and the likes of Rotimi Amaechi who became saints by association with the APC. Did it not occur to them when they were together that Sheriff was a boko haram sponsor? Or was Amaechi’s corrupt life wiped away the very moment he joined APC?

Based on the foregoing, the success of Buhari’s administration is inextricably tied to the caliber of people he will work with. Anything short of people with a reputation and focus akin to his, will definitely constitute an albatross to the change we have been waiting for. Whether he will be able to defy the politics of his cabinet and other team members chosen for him by his party leaders, is what time alone can tell.

About the Author:
 Author Photo Bandawa writes from Abuja, Nigeria. You can follow on twitter @NBandawa