Bode Agusto: Will Affliction Rise A Second Time?
If Bode Agusto makes it at the Ministerial screening at the Senate this time around it will be a testimony to the fact that here in our Nigeria all manner of oddities are possible. In the business of absurdities, we can beat our chest that ‘We Can’.
When Yar’Adua first recommended Bode for ministerial appointment, nothing prepared him (Bode) for the shock he was to receive at the Senate because at that time, Obasanjo had just left Aso Rock and the traces of his influence had yet to be washed off from the Presidency which had cowed the previous legislature into subservient status, dancing to every tune emanating from the Aso Villa. With David Mark, a sworn ‘Obasanjo-man’ heading the new Senate, he had expected ease of passage at the screening, but got the opposite. The Senate said in no uncertain terms that Bode was unfit to be Minister.
In all fairness, Agusto is a brilliant man, a qualified accountant and finance expert, who managed the Budget Office during the last dispensation efficiently, at least by our standards. He has a proven record of success in the financial sector and those who are close to him also have this testimony about him that he is very frugal with resources, a virtue most desirable in a public officer. But as it is often very common with brilliant men, he comes across as a very arrogant and pompous personality.
So when the Senate refused to approve his nomination, the fact of his arrogance came handy as a reason. Bode was reported to have told the distinguished Senators that their questions were better directed to his eight-year old daughter. Nobody found this funny. The Senators saw this as contempt. Even then many an analyst cried foul, querying the rationale for using a subjective criteria like humility as a yardstick to measure capability.
It was also reported that Chief Agusto was instrumental to poor implementation of national budgets during his tenure as the DG budget office. Other senators cited the fear that he would be loyal to the former President and may likely take instructions from him in regards to the implementation of some economic policies he initiated before leaving office.
Asked to comment on the screening, Senator Bala Muhammad Duguri [ANPP, Bauchi] had told the Daily Trust reporter that Bode Augusto was unfit to be Minister as he had been frustrating the implementation of the national budgets and uses disparaging language on the National Assembly. He said, "Bode Agusto was dropped because he is unfit, not because he is intellectually unfit but because of his conduct, because of his bad antecedent, because of his repugnant attitude towards the implementation of the budget in the past eight years. He is somebody who has frustrated the National Assembly, somebody who has frustrated the ministries, departments and agencies in terms of budgetary implementation, and somebody who does not have respect for the Senate. His arrogance during the screening exercise was very evident, so most Senators found it untenable".
So If Yar’ Adua has decided to send Bode’s name again to the Senate for ministerial appointment, then the question one would ask is what has changed about Agusto? Has the leopard changed her spots? Or has he become ‘born-again’?
I am waiting to see how the Senate will handle Agusto’s screening this time around. Will they be wiser now and direct their (childish) questions to the man’s 8-year old daughter or still make the same mistake and stand the risk if being mortified by Agusto? Or will they hire the services of professional examiners to set tougher questions deserving of or Agusto’s personal reply?
If Bode makes it this time, it will not be due to a fundamental change in his personality or experience or any of those factors that contributed to his earlier rejection. It would be more due to a change in circumstances both within the Senate and the PDP as a party. Yar’Adua may have also gauged the mood of the Senate and noticed the mellowing down from the vigorous zeal of the early days of this Senate to a more ‘settled’ and perhaps compromised body.
What will happen to the records of the Senate as related to Bode’s previous screening, which he failed to pass? Will the Senate re-write history to give Bode a new name? Or would they simply ignore the past? Perhaps, Agusto may just need to show some humility to the Senate this time, having learnt his lessons in the ‘purgatory’ to which his earlier rejection by the senate sent him.
Obviously the Senate may not wish to be seen as having a preconceived agenda against Bode and hence may be compelled to accept him on’moral’ grounds. Thus Yar’Adua may have subtly outsmarted the Senate as the they may feel morally bound to clear Agusto this time because even the Bible says affliction should not rise a second time.
But this will put a big question on the integrity of the Senate. In other lands, it would have been a Herculean task for them to justify to the public the approval of the same person they termed unfit to be Minister barely a year ago. But trust our Senators. As Nigerian politicians, they don’t need to come up with any coherent reasons for this or any other thing for that matter. They have the liberty to speak from both sides of the same mouth not minding which principles of integrity are violated.
In fact listening to Nigerian politicians could be the most frustrating and nightmarish experience for someone who looks out for meaning from words. The more they talk the less meaning they make. Politics, after all, was defined by someone as the art of using many words to say nothing.
So I will not be surprised if they now turn round to tell the world that their earlier rejection of Agusto was a mistake. In which case, it should call for resignation of the Senate President because, the ‘mistake’ of the Senate, of which he is head, may have denied the country the good services of a competent hand this past one year, who was sacrificed on the alter of politics.
On the other hand, would the Senate have the courage to stand their ground and tell Yar’Adua that a bad product is a bad product any day and thus reject him a second time? Nigerians are watching.
Let me conclude this piece by stating that I am impressed with the presence of Dora Akunyilii on this list but a bit disappointed that Y’Adua could not bring up many fresh names in the polity. Most of the other names are just recycled stuff with nothing new to offer. It also does not seem to have fulfilled his promise to bring in technocrats to man key ministries. Apart from Dora and maybe Arc.Bunu Uwais, the rest are ‘active’ politicians who have been around political cycles for a while and do not fit into the description of ‘technocrat’.
Lukman may be very experienced and exposed, but at 70, he is too old for the active role of a minister. Having been Nigeria's Minister of Foreign Affairs (1989-90), OPEC President (1986-89), Minister, Petroleum Resources (1986-89) and Nigerian Minister Mines, Power and Steel (1984-85), I think Lukman has contributed his quota to nation building and should be allowed to rest.
Point of correction, sir. Bode Agusto never managed the Debt Management Office.
Thank you for the correction. That portion should have read Budget Office instead of Debt Management Office.
From your article, it is easy to see that you did't consult any material before writing this piece about Bode Agusto's screening exercise with the Nigerian senate, which is rather unfortunate for a public commentator. You have written from the realm of "dem say, dem say".
I had the unfortunate experience of watching the whole screening exercise from beginning to the end, as I was on my annual vacation at the time, even wasting my hard earned money in buying petrol just to be able to follow the exercise. My intention was to gauge the quality of people who were going to run our lives both from the executive and legislative angles.
If you have the time, please try and get your hand on the recorded tape of the day Agusto made his appearence from AIT. Personally, I don't think he was arrogant by any means, the comment he made about his daughter, in my view was just to emphasise that he was deep family man, whose children knew a thing or two about his work and nothing more.
Bode Agusto was one of the few nominees alongside Odien Ajumogobia, Madam Diezani and a few others who showed depth regarding development issues amongst all the charlatans proposed by UMYA.
From that whole screening exercise, I made the following conclusions:
1) Nothing was going to get done by many of the Ministers, as many of them lacked depth. They have indeed proved themselves incompetent, little wonder twenty were sacked in one full swoop.
2) The Nigerian senate was majorly populated by a confederates of dunces, an unfortunate result of PDP politics and INEC complicity. A senate that didn't have the experience to know that it needed to have portfolios attached to each nominee for it to do a good job of the screening.
3) UMYA's total lack of understanding of the Nigerian situation. Something he has proved serially over 18months now. Almost two yrs after, we are still talking about ministers. This is not how to become 202020, another sign that he simply can't comprehend what it will require to make 202020, and no matter how hard we work, it's just not possible in 12 yrs.
If Bode Agusto returns to the senate again for screening, they will be doing themselves and the Nigerian people a great service by confirming him. As he belongs to the class of Nigerians who can sincerely move us forward.
Preach it brother!
Why write an article on an issue you did not have a grasp on?
How do reconcile the quote above to the purpose of this article. There is a contradiction here. It appears you and your friends at the Senate have anti-intellectual tendencies. The guy did not belong in your league and you hate his guts. It does not matter if he is qualified. When we feel intellectaully inferior to others we call them arrogant and pompous. This is a huge problem with our countries in Africa: People that should be on the farm or do other jobs are in the position of power and see others as a threat.
For your information, UMYA is sending this man back to the Senate because he has realised he cannot run the country with a square peg in a round hole. It is time for people like you in the Senate to swallow your pride and give the job to those who can do it and stop messing with our lives and children future.
It seems that a number of commentators on this article have taken the view that the writer somewhat took sides with the senate in their rejection of Bode. I understand it differently. I think the writer is analyzing a situation that has occured and pointing out the absurdity of an imminent volte face on the part of the senate, which is a peculiar situation with Nigerian politicians. This is not a recommendation that the man should be rejected a second time!
With regards to Bode's testimony, I don't think the writer was recounting his personal eyewitness account but quoting senate sources, although he could have taken the man's reference to his daughter out of context.
The lesson to learn from Bode's screening is that, our legislators by far prefer a trembling, timid and genuflecting ignoramus to a knowledgeable and self-assured professional.
Having said this, I think we should try to read other people's opinions and reflect on them before rushing to brand them in the heat of overflowing emotions.
May be you need to learn how to read between the lines, then you will see that there is really no emotion on display from all the commentators so far.
See my above especially the bolded parts from the author. This kind of write-up is called a pre-emptive strike. The writer pre-indicted or did an upfront indictment of the Senate if they should confirm Bode Agusto this time around.
He was less concerned about the stupidity of his rejection for the first time, for irrelevant reasons but more concerned about the 'integrity' (which is a rare commodity in that Chambers anyway) of the Senate, if they should do a review of their earlier action, even the Supreme Court do overrule itself. It is more noble to admit it when wrong, than being stubbonly unrepentant.
To this this writer, the Senate must save its face and reject him no matter what. It is a downright ridiculous position to take.
[QUOTE] Lukman may be very experienced and exposed, but at 70, he is too old for the active role of a minister. Having been Nigeria's Minister of Foreign Affairs (1989-90), OPEC President (1986-89), Minister, Petroleum Resources (1986-89) and Nigerian Minister Mines, Power and Steel (1984-85), I think Lukman has contributed his quota to nation building and should be allowed to rest. [QUOTE]
Which nation? Which building?
THANKS A LOT FOR YOURS. I READ THE ARTICLE THE VERY SAME WAY U DID.
RIGHT ON THE MARK, ABEG. MERCI.