|Monday, June 24, 2019|
Dublin, The Republic of Ireland
“History faced with courage need not be lived again” – Maya Angelou (Speech 1993).ew weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in as president in May 2015, he wrote an article titled, “Nigeria committed to good governance and fighting terror”, published by the Washington Post, to justify why he was not in a hurry to set up his cabinet. He stated in the article that “When cabinet ministers are appointed in September, it will be some months after I took the oath of office. It is worth noting that Obama himself did not have his full Cabinet in place for several months after first taking office; the United States did not cease to function in the interim”.
“In Nigeria’s case, it would neither be prudent nor serve the interests of sound government to have made these appointments immediately on my elevation to the presidency; instead, Nigeria must first put new rules of conduct and good governance in place”.
Now that he has won his Next Level second term mandate, the collective expectation of Nigerians is that a highly inclusive and competent cabinet is formed as quickly as possible considering the deadly implications of delaying same for four months in 2015. The earlier he sets the ball rolling, the better for economic growth and development.
Although, forming a competent cabinet is not as easy as most of us think, it undoubtedly requires a lot of forward thinking and strategic planning. Currently, one cannot underestimate the overwhelming pressure and political intrigues that are mounting from all directions, but then, it is the solemn duty of Mr President to appoint Ministers in consonance with the federal character principle, as stipulated by the Nigerian constitution.
From all indications, it may take another four months to form a new cabinet that Nigerians truly desire, because, the list of prospective ministers must be submitted to the security and anti-graft agencies for clearance before the final list is submitted to the Senate. This exercise alone can take up to two months. Secondly, The ruling Party, APC had succeeded in minimizing the political intrigues that would have played out in the 9th National Assembly by ensuring that, this time around, all the principal officers are from the ruling party. Even at that, it will still take the National Assembly one month to fully settle down before the screening exercise commences.
Meanwhile, the exercise itself can take three weeks to one month unless it is fast-tracked by the presidency if they subscribed to the advice of those who suggested in 2015 that portfolios should henceforth be attached to the names of ministers before submission to the Senate. This will also enable the senators to ask only relevant questions as opposed to what we witnessed in 2015.
It is pertinent to reemphasize the idea of putting round pegs in round holes. Just as it is wrong to appoint a man as the minister for women affairs, it is equally wrong to appoint a medical doctor as the minister for Employment, Labour and Productivity. Our new set of Ministers must be young, energetic, patriotic, professional and above all, incorruptible. Since the whole nation is the secondary constituency of every minister, being young and energetic are characteristics that are uncompromisable. Again, they must possess other good leadership traits like courage, integrity, humility, focus and passion for excellence; and also key into the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari.
A high level of dynamism is needed in a new cabinet that will move Nigeria forward. Ministers should be fully aware that failure to perform would lead to immediate replacement, after all, there are thousands of other qualified Nigerians.
Finally, congratulations to President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) on their Next Level second term mandate and their achievements thus far, Nigerians have spoken, but, apart from APC’s triadic promises on security, corruption and the economy, Nigerians also want qualitative education, better healthcare system, improved electricity, creation of life fulfilling jobs/wealth, and a strategic plan and political will to restructure Nigeria. Restructuring Nigeria is a global solution to most of Nigeria’s challenges. Mr President should take advantage of this golden opportunity to leave an enduring legacy, otherwise, we as a nation shall continue to move in circles.