By Frank Tietie
Festus Keyamo, SAN, like him or not, deserves a more influential position in the cabinent of President Buhari than being made a junior minister to Godswill Akpabio in the superintendence over the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
Keyamo combines such sheer brilliance, energy and uncommon loyalty to the Buhari cause that is unmatched by any person other than President Buhari’s kinsmen themselves.
To the plain annoyance of some people and unknown to many, Keyamo used his personal resources of time, money, legal acumen and accumulated goodwill to campaign carelessly for the reelection of President Buhari.
As the spokesperson of the Buhari Campaign Organization, Keyamo gave little attention to his highly successful law practice and allowed his sprawling Abuja office to become a Mecca to merchants of goodwill and political patronage in the build up to the 2019 General Elections.
Keyamo, on television and in the social media advanced such fiery arguments in support of Buhari to the chagrin of many lawyers, as PDP groaned in the lack of a fitting personality to match his artistry in the campaign war.
Not even Femi Fani Kayode could match Keyamo while he stood on the soapbox of the Buhari Campaign Organisation.
Thus, Nigerians watched Keyamo, during the campaigns, in bewilderment while quite a majority admired him and were truly impressed by his gusto and commitment to the person of President Buhari.
In a lack lustre ministerial screening exercise by the Nigerian Senate that was characterised by lazy and mediocre disposition of the Senators who fostered and adopted the unpatriotic “bow and go” tradition to the disappointment of many Nigerians, only Keyamo stood out as the ‘bright and morning star’ among the largely uninspiring choice of men and women that President Buhari presented to the Senate for confirmation as Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
President Buhari obviously had better choices than the likes of Godswill Akpabio, Timipre Sylva, Rauf Aregbeshola, Adamu Adamu, Osagie Ehanire, Chris Ngige, George Akume, Lai Mohammed and the rest of them. These people don’t have the requisite pedigree for their new responsibilities. They have a record of failure and have exhibited suspicious conduct in the past.
People like Olurunnimbe Mamora, Festus Keyamo, Pauline Tallen and their likes, who are fresh with ideas, and possess a brilliant history of excellence in their callings, are the ones who resonate some measure of hope for the government of President Buhari which aims to take Nigerians to the next level of progress. Unfortunately, it is this progessive group that President Buhari has largely decided to make less influential by appointing them as junior ministers.
The latter group above, are a misnomer in the portfolios that President Buhari has just assigned to them. Just take another look at them and their portfolios. I dare say that President Buhari may perform worse than his first term by the assignment he has given to these set of men. See them!
On Keyamo, nothing can be more unfair to a man and a disservice to his admirers, the people of Delta State, particularly the Urhobo people-his kinsmen, probably most of the people of the Niger Delta and Nigerians at large who never imagined that a bright mind and a no-nonsense personality like Keyamo will be made a junior Minister to the wily and crafty Akpabio, who obviously does not like people such as Keyamo because of their uprightness.
Akpabio will make Keyamo useless. He would most probably teach him a lesson on the supremacy of politics over principles. What a waste!
The malaprops of Keyamo by this arrangement is in order to thoroughly frustrate him and make him bereft of political clout and necessary influence that he would have used to cause any positive and meaningful impact in a government that he fought so hard to defend and put in place. In Nigeria, we seem to frustrate brilliance and embrace mediocrity.
I therefore predict that if President Buhari does not quickly carry out a cabinent reshuffle within a period of two years and put Keyamo in a position of greater influence to ensure governance with positive impact, I can guarantee that the Senior Advocate of Nigeria will quit the Buhari government. The man cannot afford to be useless. It is just my 2 Kobo prediction and I sincerely hope I am wrong.
While I bemoan the malapropos of Keyamo. Many Nigerians wail and wonder over the misplacement of Mamora. Let another therefore bespeak on that matter.
Are these not the signs of a coming failure of President Buhari’s second tenure?
Time will prove me right or wrong.
Frank Tietie, Lawyer and Executive Director,
Citizens Advocacy for Social & Economic Rights (CASER), writes from Abuja