Last-Minute Contracts and Appointments: A Closer Look at Buhari’s Administration
In the final days of his administration, President Muhammadu Buhari and several outgoing ministers and governors have engaged in a flurry of appointments and awarded contracts amounting to over N3.7 trillion. This article examines the timeline and implications of these last-minute actions, which have drawn both praise and criticism from various quarters. The surge in appointments and contracts has raised concerns about the impact on the incoming government and the potential for mismanagement and waste.
Appointments and Contract Awards:
Between March 20 and May 14, 2023, following the conclusion of the presidential and governorship elections, President Buhari and his team made several significant appointments and approved numerous contracts. Some of the notable appointments include the selection of Paul Harris Ogbole as a member of the Council for Legal Education, the appointment of Garba Baba-Umar as a Senior Security Adviser, and the announcement of a new Pro-chancellor for the Federal University, Otuoke. These appointments spanned various sectors, including law enforcement, education, health, and environmental restoration.
Regarding contract awards, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved a staggering N3.7 trillion for various infrastructure projects and initiatives. Notable contracts included the acquisition of rolling stock and operation equipment for the Kano-Maradi standard gauge rail line, the construction of flats for the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency, and the provision of free internet services at airports, higher institutions, and markets across the country. The contracts covered a wide range of sectors, including transportation, health, education, and environmental remediation.
Critiques and Concerns:
The last-minute nature of these appointments and contract awards has sparked criticism and raised concerns among political analysts and civil society organizations. Some argue that the incoming government will face significant challenges in executing and managing these projects, potentially leading to delays and wastage of resources. Others view these actions as a deliberate attempt to burden the incoming administration with financial obligations and unfinished initiatives.
Critics point out that the current government had ample time during its tenure to undertake these projects and make appointments. They argue that the sudden rush in the final days raises questions about the seriousness and effectiveness of the outgoing administration. Skeptics also express concerns about the potential for corruption and misuse of funds, emphasizing the need for transparency and accountability in the execution of these projects.
While some analysts and civil society organizations condemn these last-minute appointments and contracts, others view them as part of the normal course of governance. They argue that governance is a continuum, and if the projects are genuine and executed properly, they should be completed regardless of the change in administration. These supporters highlight the need to separate political compensation from competency-based appointments and stress that the government should focus on completing projects that benefit the nation.
The flurry of last-minute appointments and contract awards by President Buhari and outgoing officials has generated mixed reactions. While some perceive them as acts of political compensation and potential hindrances for the incoming government, others view them as necessary steps to ensure the continuity of governance. The ultimate outcome and impact of these actions will depend on the commitment of the incoming administration to manage these projects efficiently and effectively. Transparency, accountability, and a focus on national development will be critical in navigating the aftermath of these last-minute decisions.