When Festus Adedayo, who is an avowed critic of the government of president Muhammadu Buhari was appointed as the chief spokesperson to the newly elected Senate president Ahmed Lawan, many saw it as a victory of merit over demerit, of competence over incompetence, and above all of pragmatic objectivism over expedient subjectivism.
But in the space of a week or thereabout, there was a surprise reversal of the appointment owing to pressure from opposers within the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) who saw it instead as a wrong appointive call.
They had pointed out that it was improper for an appointment like that to have been given to someone who has never seen anything good in this government.
They argue further that government appointment should be given to people who share the values of the political office holders appointing them and not the other way round.
Meanwhile, another group you may call the neutrals see the reversal as an indication of lack of independent-mindedness on the part of the Senate president who has allowed the social media hirelings of the executive arm of government to dictate who gets what appointments around him.
It is also a symptomatic indication, they continued, of what is to come in terms of the independence of the Senate itself which he leads if at this stage, he can buckle under pressure from party loyalists to reverse his decision.
In the end, such pattern, if continued unchecked, may not augur well for the ninth Senate from which so much is expected in terms of robust debates on bills and many of its other developmentally oversight functions which it should carry out independently.
In fact, the ninth Senate in the opinion of the ultras may end up becoming a rubber stamp one to the desires of the executive arm even if they may prove counterproductive to the nation’s aspirations.
Meanwhile, the man in the middle of the cross-fire Festus Adebayo has come out to insist that it doesn’t matter if the job was taken away from him or not. That he will continue to speak to the inadequacies of the government no matter whose Ox is gored. And that he didn’t apply or lobby for the job which to me can be nothing but false.
Nobody gets appointed into an office they don't signify their interest in. He might have applied, possibly by proxy, but then he definitely must have participated in the screening processes from which he emerged as the most qualified.
Be that as it may, personally I don’t think somebody like Festus should have applied for such a job in the first place. And my reasons are as follow.
It is on record that when known critics of a government cross to the other side they normally lose their voice and their character because it is always very difficult if not impossible to criticize from within.
And again it is very likely that when such people become a part of the establishment they have always criticized they begins to see things in a different light and so temper or, repent of their previous critical views and substituting it with a complicit understanding.
As such, the lowering of professional standards which they have been known for over the years would be the consequence of their decision to take up such appointments in the government, though they may mean well.
In our recent political history, a good number of people have fallen victim in a manner of speaking to this kind of tricky situation. Femi Adeshina, one of President Muhammadu Buhari’s media aides comes to mind. Clearly, he has lost his previous trademark editorial sting, and now he defends even the indefensible.
The most memorable, however, would be the cerebral Dr. Reuben Abati who until his appointment as the chief media aide to the then President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, he was not only a fierce critic of the government, he, equally, would be remembered to have been one of many people who provide alternative economic, social, and political views to that of the government, especially on the TV show' The Patito's Gang.
This is in addition to being a respected member of the Guardian newspaper’s editorial board. He has overwhelming followership.
But as soon as he joined the government, his tone did not only become softer, he became annoyingly conciliatory and apologetic of some of the mediocrity that was prevalent with the government.
Sooner, he began to get the long end of the stick from people in his constituency and the members of the public who quickly pointed out that criticizing the government from outside is one of the easiest things to do but maintaining it when you're on the inside is an impossibility.
The same scenario, I strongly believed, would have played out if Dr. Festus Adedayo's appointment as the Chief spokesperson to the Senate President had stayed. In fact, to me, I think he has been saved from getting himself embarrassed because at the end of the day he would found himself defending decisions and actions of government he wouldn't have condoned ordinarily if he was to be outside.
Therefore, I think it is a high time people who are critics should stop deluding themselves that they can change things when they are appointed into government in whatever capacities.
I would've preferred a situation whereby they are card-carrying members of these political parties before they are appointed than parading themselves as the all-knowing brain-boxes who can’t afford to allow the proverbial white garment of their noble objective at seeing to it that government delivered get soiled.