By Aminu Iyawa
The last time I commented on any serious public issue was over seven months ago. I told my friends on social media as well as those who follow my occasional write-ups in the print that having taken up appointment with this administration, I rested my pen.
Before I did that, I was one of few journalists in this country that did not shy away from commenting on anything or anyone, including on President Muhammad Buhari, former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, IBB and the rest of who is who in our polity.
The comment by the Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Alhassan on the BBC yesterday that “even if PMB were to contest for second term in 2019, I would still vote for Atiku,” really got my fingers itchy and forced me to grab my pen.
As a politician and card carrying member of the APC, I respect the opinion of our Party members on any issue, especially, internal politics of the APC, because that is what democracy is all about.
However, for those of us who hold political appointments, the use of discretion is paramount at all times. If anything, the fact that Aisha Alhassan was appointed minister of the federal republic by the grace of President Muhammadu Buhari, and not by any external influence, is enough for her to have been discreet in what she utters.
The circulating video of her Sallah homage on the former vice president and her failed attempt to justify the unjustifiable on the BBC Hausa Service said volumes about her political immaturity. The comments were tasteless, tactless and did not do any good for the political enhancement of her ‘Godfather,’ the Waziri Adamawa.
Aisha Alhassan ought to have measured the mood of her constituents, by whose grace she shot to limelight, and who are most definitely Buhari followers and some, even diehards. The timing of the drama she created is as bad as it can be, for it came at a time when the nation was jubilating and felicitating with its President who had beaten his ailment and safely returned to the country after a little over two months of treatment and convalescence in London.
I am not however entirely surprised with what she did. It is a sign of desperation that she needs the former vice president to sponsor her governorship candidacy in 2019. Apparently, she realised that with the anti corruption measures taken by the Buhari administration, it would be impossible for her to amass or loot enough money to prosecute her campaign.
The Women Affairs Minister had always pursued political offices with this kind of amoral desperation. We first crossed path sometime in either August or September, 2010. She came to my house in Dougirei Yola, in the company of a lady caterer who my wife patronises. The caterer introduced her to my wife as a politician from Taraba State that needed my assistance to link her with former Governor Nyako to solicit for sponsorship of her senatorial ambition and offered to give her money in return for the favour, but she declined. After my wife told me the story, I asked her to advise candidate Aisha Alhassan to contact the Governor’s protocol officer. She did, and the rest is history.
What is clear and apparent is that the President has to consider a cabinet shake up and do away with all the disloyal and the nonperforming ministers in the cabinet, and clearly there are a few. They are a drag to his vision and therefore must not be spared. Besides, no politician condones disloyalty. Not even the former vice president.
Aisha Alhassan must go.