Charles Novia adds some humour to on-going conversations on Buhari's ministerial list.

Former Nigerian president, General Olusegun Obasanjo
President Buhari meets with former UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown and former President Obasanjo in New York. September 2015

OBJ: Mohammadu, make this white man waka so we can talk konkon below, kpa kpa.

BUHARI: Yes, Sir. (Excuses himself and OBJ from Gordon Brown) Ok, Sir. I am listening.

OBJ: Mohammadu, Mohammadu, Mohammadu. How many times did I call you?

BUHARI: Three times, Sir.

OBJ: Correct. I want you to listen to me very carefully. I flew all the way to New York so I can have this talk with you, away from influences in Aso Rock and your sponsors. You are now the President of Nigeria and you know how I made it possible for you to achieve that. Yes, a few other forces rallied round you too to ensure that you won that election but you cannot ignore that my help was paramount and I don’t have to spell it out to you.

BUHAR: Sir, I am grateful for that.

OBJ: Ok. Anyway, I came to talk to you about that your Ministerial List which the whole world has been waiting for. Sebi you are sending it to the National Assembly soon?

BUHARI: Yes, Sir. In a few hours, Ita Enang will depart for Abuja with the list.

OBJ: May I see the list?

BUHARI gives him. OBJ studies the list thoughtfully.

OBJ: What is Wale Edun’s name doing on your list as the representative of Lagos State?

BUHARI: Bola Tinubu brought his name to me and insisted that Edun is his choice for Lagos State. You know he too helped in the election and he has to be considered.

OBJ: Look, you must consider yourself too in this government. You already conceded the Number 2 slot to Tinubu and that is good enough. You should not bend too much and lose yourself o. Tell me, who do you really want from Lagos State? Who is the person you believe will be better for your cabinet?

BUHARI: I really want Fashola. He is tested and trusted in administration. I need someone like him in my cabinet. But I don’t know what Tinubu has against him…

OBJ: Mohammadu! Pick a pen now and cross out Wale Edun. Replace it with Fashola. You are the President now. Follow your mind. Pick your best as you wish. Oya…

Buhari inserts Fashola’s name.

OBJ: I see on this list that Rotimi Amaechi is not here.

BUHARI: I would have wanted him on my list but the petitions against him from Rivers are damning and you know that his inclusion would make some Nigerians think that I am not serious about this corruption war because of the allegations against him.

OBJ: Let me tell you, Mohammadu, you have to do somethings as President to show too to the world that you are loyal to those who fought with you. That boy, Amaechi spent billions on your campaign. We all know the story. Whether it was Rivers State money o, Hooooo! Whether it was his own money o, Huuuuu! But he spent on you. And his only lifeline to redeem himself and give himself a lift psychologically is to be in your cabinet. Let the courts or those who have cases against him prove their case but put his name there. If the name goes to the Senate and they reject him there, it won’t be your problem anymore. At least, they would have seen that you tried your best. Put his name o.

Buhari inserts Amaechi’s name.

OBJ: Who’s this person from Edo State on the list?

BUHARI: It’s General Danjuma’s candidate.

OBJ: Ah, Theophilus. Of course you know that if your Presidency must survive in the next four years, you cannot cross TY Danjuma. Ask Jonathan.

BUHARI: I know that, Sir.

OBJ: Ekiti State has two names; Segun Oni and Dr Fayemi. Why?

BUHARI: I am yet to choose the final name there.

OBJ: Ah ah! Wasn’t Fayemi your Campaign DG? Put his name o. At least you know him better than Oni. Find something for Oni later. Meanwhile, you know my candidates for your list and I am yet to see them on the list.

BUHARI: Soludo?

OBJ: If you call him Soludo o, hooooo! If you call him Ludo o, huuuuu! You need a well-groomed Economist to handle the finance ministry, like Ngozi.

BUHARI: I was thinking of Prof Pat Utomi…

OBJ: Utomi can handle Planning or something. Think about Soludo o. I am not forcing him on you but just think about him in your cabinet.

BUHARI: I will.

OBJ: Who’s this Charles Novia on your list?

BUHARI: Huh? I am told he is a filmmaker and critic. Oh, it’s the NSA who must have put his name there by mistake. It’s for another list…one of those NSA says we have to watch for writing heavy stuff against this government. I have no hand in that matter.

OBJ: But I see his name put under ‘Gusau Prison’. Is the NSA thinking of sending him to film Gusau Prison or what? Look, Mohammadu, don’t allow your people to put the man there o. I went there and came out a President. If your people put him there, you don’t know what will happen in 2019 o.

BUHARI: You are right, Sir. I will look into it.

OBJ: Ngige is on your list. Hhmmmm. Ok o. Erm…Ogbonnaya Onu too. Ok. I can see my my two other slots too in your list. Splendid. Mr President, you can carry on. Count on my support when you need advice anytime.

BUHARI: Thank you, Your Excellency.

* Dramatisation from conjecture. Any resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely co-incidental.

Charles Novia is an award-winning filmmaker. He is founder of November Productions and November Records. Connect with him on Facebook.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.


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