By: Kayode Odunaro
For a while now many public commentators on social and main stream media have been fixated on who become ministers in the new administration of President Mohamed Buhari, PMB, with some mentioning names and reeling out obviously mere conjectured or
planted list of names. When the appointments were not made fast enough, many quickly veered off to blaming all our woes and the lateness of change we voted for on this seeming delay in PMB appointment of ministers. Most would not even consider that there is need to sift the chaff from the real seeds in all the touted and positioned names to clinch ministerial appointments. In any case PMB soon gave a definite time frame for appointment of ministers and three months
down the line we are in the period and only a couple of days ago, PMB
reiterated that the deadline of the period is the end of this month of
September. He actually told Nigerians to ask questions thereafter if he did not name his ministers.
In my view, one would think that attention has so far been focus in the wrong direction in relation to the matter of ministerial appointment. Essentially Nigerians should be concern about the caliber of who becomes a minister in relation to changing the rot that we are confronted with as a nation and possibly putting Nigeria back on track for a modicum of sustainable development that had eluded us in recent times in spite of billions of dollars oil revenue that has obviously gone down the drain through looting and mismanagement.
Who would be suitable for ministerial appointment under a PMB presidency that would fulfill the yearnings of Nigerians for a change in what has been over the years? Of course one would not advocate for saints as ministers or even persons as austere as PMB is renowned and reputed to be. In spite of holding major public offices including head of state in the past the man live a relatively modest life and was recently touted as the best in terms of incorruptibility among African leaders based on his modicum acquisitions in life. But we can start with eliminating those with traits that would be disagreeable to the change
mantra that Nigerians voted for.
Top on the list are those persons that would want to subvert the system using the judiciary to prevent accountability to the
people. In the immediate past administration, we had a minister that went to court to obtain interlocutory injunctions against legislative investigations. In any democracy, the legislature as part of its duties is charged with oversight of the executive and its agencies after appropriating fund for that branch of government. Anyone reluctant to answer questions from the legislature’s constitutional oversight duties should not be made a minister for such is a clog in the wheel of democracy and good governance. May we never have the likes of a minister that goes to court to prevent her answering to the people in our
Another set of ministers we don’t want are those nominated by governors, senators or other power brokers claiming right or privilege that are unconstitutional and indeed absurd. In particular, one would frown at governors nominating ministers as usually this is a first step to failure. Such a minister ends up serving two masters with the people the worse for it. Certainly PMB and his associates and various net-workings across Nigeria can do without the services of the governors and other power brokers that had mostly failed in their primary mandates and looks for cronies to cover up for them as their nominees in the Federal Executive Council. Good enough PMB is reportedly averse to governors in particular participating in the process of forming the Federal Executive Council. The anomaly of such participation is akin to a local government chairman nominating a commissioner for the governor!
Apparently that is an anomaly and PMB must rectify this at the federal level with the appointment of ministers without inputs from the governors that are themselves not exemplars in good governance.
I don’t think Nigeria want failed or “sit tight” ministers or those that will create unnecessary controversies only to end up being sacked. We want a minister who can own up to mistake or mistakes, conflict of interests or similar and honourably bite the bullet by throwing in the towel of resignation. The likes of those who cannot manage recruitment process and turn it into a suicide mission that led to several deaths and shameless sat tight on the Federal Executive Council without blinking an eyelid are not material for a new Nigeria ministerial seats. Nor
are the likes of a former minister that purchase bulletproof cars at outlandish cost to the tax payers only to refuse to throw in the towel over the disgraceful and scandalous transactions until she was sacked.. The converse that should be ministerial material for the new Nigeria are the likes of those with traits of Mr. Christopher Kolade who resigned as Sure-P chairman when the operations of the scheme and indeed the government ran contrary to his morals and Dr. Barth Nnaji who in spite of performing above average voluntarily threw in the towel at the Ministry of Power over a controversy on mere conflict of interest.
Certainly Nigeria at this point needs ministers that would drive the change agenda without any hindrance or impediment. And for sure the nation is not in short supply of men and women with relevant skills, technical knowledge and an unblemished track record of achievement in previous state, national or international assignments. A good example of such is PMB recent appointment of Mr. Babatunde William Fowler as chairman of Federal Internal Revenue Service, FIRS. This man not only has requisite skills and knowledge but also an unblemished track record of achievement in Lagos Internal Revenue Service, LSIRS where he is reputed to have raised the IGR of Lagos State from about N600million to about N20billion monthly. This approach does not necessarily mean that political party interest will be sacrificed on the altar of fielding only
technocrats. Within the ruling party APC are many Nigerians that fall into the category of technocrats and active politicians. What has happened in the past was that these classes of people are not trusted by nominating governors or other power brokers and are not fielded. PMB should look their way in selecting the incoming cabinet this time around.
In conclusion while urging PMB to adhere to constitutional provisions in appointment of the ministers to drive the change agenda devoid of the corruptive tendencies, it is hope that the Senate will quickly but diligently confirm such nominations without controversy as such will only delay the full implementation of the APC manifesto for the nation. As it is by the time they are confirmed much needed time might have been lost but one hope the class of ministers eventually appointed will hit the ground running and in no time begin to lay the foundation for a new Nigeria under PMB whose passion for same a survey recently claim is backed by 86% of Nigerians. The ministers must be deaf to the shouts from some quarters that see their appointment as ethnic or regional share of National Cake. Nobody should scuttle the hopes and aspiration of majority of Nigerians invested in PMB.
Chief Kayode Odunaro Is A Public Affairs Analyst