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Dwelling on the concept of loyalty, Mosher defines it as the faithfulness of a subordinate to his superior in the framework of an organization – his willingness to support and carry out the instructions of the superior, to defend his superior’s interests, and to feather his own nest as against those who seek to pluck.

Mosher’s concept of loyalty, as outlined in his work, “Loyalty: The Vexing Virtue,” revolves around the idea that loyalty is a multifaceted and often misunderstood virtue. Mosher argues that loyalty is not merely blind obedience or unquestioning allegiance to authority but rather a complex interplay of commitment, trust, and fidelity. He suggests that true loyalty involves a deep sense of devotion to a person, group, or cause, coupled with a willingness to act in their best interests even in the face of challenges or conflicts.

The man who is loyal to his boss will act on his behalf and in his interest, regardless of his personal feelings, other interests, and especially opposing interests on the part of those who hold superiors to be misguided or wrong. Loyalty flows in a pyramidal direction. The man who commands gives loyalty, and the one who takes the command receives it. Loyalty aims to ensure that benefits flow up but never down.

At times, loyalty is also described as an act of attribute through which an individual shows a sense of duty and responsibility towards another individual or an organization within an organizational framework. It identifies many do’s and don’ts of behavior and actions for a subordinate who is affectively or cognitively committed to the will and welfare of his superior. Loyalty will dictate the behavior and actions that are in the interest of his boss or superior.

There can be no better explanation for understanding public officials’ operational code than the study of loyalty to the political executive or the appointing authority. While this assertion may not be applicable to the Democrats in almost all developed and developing countries of the world, it will be difficult to find a more appropriate description of the phenomenon of loyalty to the political executive in a developing country. Such a study will present the different dimensions and hues of loyalty behavior and its implications on public officials’ behavior and actions.

In the intricate web of politics, loyalty often emerges as a cornerstone principle, shaping the dynamics between those in power and their appointees. Recent events in Nigeria have once again brought this principle to the forefront, with Minister of State for Defence, Bello Mohammed Matawalle, finding himself amidst a storm of controversy following his remarks on the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) and the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

In Nigeria’s political landscape, where the intricacies of power dynamics often come to the fore, the recent discourse surrounding Minister of State for Defence, Bello Mohammed Matawalle, underscores the criticality of unwavering allegiance to the appointing authority, as enshrined in constitutional norms. At the heart of this debate lies the fundamental principle of loyalty, both to the President and to the constitutional obligations that govern the conduct of appointed officials.

In the aftermath of Matawalle’s comments advocating steadfast support for President Tinubu’s administration, voices of dissent arose, challenging the minister’s stance and calling for retraction and apology. However, amidst this cacophony, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) stood forth as a staunch defender of Matawalle’s position, underscoring the criticality of unwavering loyalty to the appointing authority as enshrined in constitutional norms.

In governance, loyalty is not merely a virtue but a constitutional imperative. Appointed officials, irrespective of their background or affiliation, are duty-bound to exhibit unwavering allegiance to their appointing authority. This allegiance is not a matter of personal preference but a foundational tenet of democratic governance, aimed at fostering stability, coherence, and effective policymaking.

The essence of loyalty in governance cannot be overstated. It serves as a bedrock upon which the efficacy of governmental operations is built. When individuals are appointed to key positions within the government, they assume a solemn obligation to uphold the interests of the administration that entrusted them with such responsibilities. This obligation transcends personal inclinations or affiliations; it is a constitutional mandate that underscores the essence of public service.

Minister Matawalle’s call for collective solidarity with President Tinubu’s administration resonates deeply with the essence of this constitutional obligation. In his press statement, Matawalle underscored the importance of every appointee promoting and defending the government against unjust attacks. Such a stance is not only justified but also essential for the continuity of developmental efforts initiated by the current administration.

Critics have sought to portray Matawalle’s remarks as divisive or inappropriate, but such assertions fail to grasp the essence of his message. Loyalty to the appointing authority is not a partisan issue; it is a fundamental principle that transcends political affiliations. In a democratic society, where governance is predicated on the consent of the governed, the fidelity of government officials to their appointing authority ensures the continuity and stability of the democratic process.

Additionally, critics of Matawalle’s remarks, exemplified by former senator Kabiru Marafa, have raised concerns about the portrayal of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) and the perceived implications on President Tinubu’s stance towards Northerners. However, it is essential to discern between constructive criticism and politically motivated attacks. Minister Matawalle’s advocacy for unwavering loyalty is not a slight against any particular group but a reaffirmation of the constitutional duty incumbent upon all appointed officials.

Moreover, the significance of loyalty extends beyond mere allegiance to an individual leader; it encompasses a broader commitment to the ideals and objectives of the government. President Tinubu’s deliberate appointment of Northerners into key positions reflects not only a commitment to inclusivity but also a recognition of the diverse challenges facing the nation. By advocating for collective support for Tinubu’s administration, Matawalle underscores the imperative of addressing these challenges in a unified manner.

Beyond this, the obligation of government appointees to be 100% loyal to their appointing authority is deeply rooted in constitutional norms. Article 5 of the Nigerian Constitution delineates the powers vested in the President, including the authority to appoint ministers and other key officials. Implicit in this power is the expectation of loyalty from those appointed, not as a gesture of servility but as a demonstration of fidelity to the constitutional order.

Again, the constitutional obligation of government appointees to be 100% loyal to their appointing authority is not a mere formality; it is a foundational principle that underpins the integrity and effectiveness of governance. When individuals assume public office, they do so with the understanding that their allegiance lies with the government and the people it serves. Any deviation from this principle undermines the very fabric of democracy and erodes public trust in the institutions of governance.

Besides, the principle of collective responsibility underscores the interconnectedness of government officials in advancing the overarching goals of the administration. Each appointee serves as a cog in the machinery of governance, entrusted with specific responsibilities aimed at achieving national objectives. To undermine this collective endeavor, through disloyalty or dissent, is to betray the trust reposed by the appointing authority and, by extension, the citizens of the nation.

It is imperative to recognize that loyalty does not equate to blind obedience or acquiescence to wrongdoing. On the contrary, it entails a commitment to upholding the principles of good governance, transparency, and accountability. Appointed officials must act as custodians of public trust, ensuring that their actions are guided by the highest ethical standards and the best interests of the nation.

In the case of Minister Matawalle, his advocacy for collective support for President Tinubu’s administration is not a manifestation of blind allegiance but a recognition of the ‘renewed hope’ agenda espoused by the government. President Tinubu’s deliberate appointment of Northerners into key positions, as highlighted by the National Security Adviser, Malam Nuhu Ribadu, further underscores a commitment to inclusivity and national unity.

Hence, the orchestrated attacks against Minister Matawalle are emblematic of the broader political landscape characterized by opportunism and discord. Rather than engaging in meaningful dialogue and constructive engagement, detractors seek to sow seeds of division and discord for their narrow political gains. Such actions not only undermine the fabric of democratic governance but also detract from the collective efforts aimed at nation-building.

In the face of criticism and opposition, it is incumbent upon government officials to remain steadfast in their loyalty to the appointing authority. This does not imply blind obedience or unquestioning acquiescence; rather, it entails a commitment to upholding the constitutional mandate and advancing the interests of the nation. It is a testament to the resilience of democratic principles and the enduring strength of the Nigerian state.

As Nigeria navigates the complexities of governance and national development, it is incumbent upon all stakeholders to uphold the principles of loyalty, integrity, and constitutionalism. Government appointees must heed the clarion call for unwavering allegiance to their appointing authority, recognizing that their actions carry profound implications for the trajectory of the nation.

In conclusion, the discourse surrounding Minister Matawalle’s remarks serves as a poignant reminder of the enduring importance of loyalty in governance. As custodians of public trust, appointed officials must remain steadfast in their commitment to the constitutional order, guided by the principles of integrity, transparency, and national interest. Only through collective solidarity and unwavering allegiance can Nigeria realize its full potential as a beacon of democracy and prosperity on the African continent.


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