Opinion – As President Nominates New Ministers

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Following the sack of his two Ministers- Minister of Agriculture, Sabo Nanono, and his counterpart in the power ministry, Saleh Mamman, President Muhammadu Buhari said “in due course, substantive nominations will be made to fill the consequential vacancies in accordance with the requirements of the constitution”

In most democracies, ministers are selected from technocrats with strong professional track records. Cabinet Ministers are not just a team, but a collection of great thinkers- silicon-valley-thinkers; men and women who can move the government with the speed of imagination and their sense of judgment must be centered on the challenges of unlocking the future for ordinary Nigerians. And also bring new thinking and synergy to the public sector’s role in providing the needs of all Nigerians.

Nigerians expect people that will add more value to the cabinet – propellers for equality in opportunities for all Nigerians. They must be able to build a system that will swing the government away from the traditional methodology of concentrating on only ‘off-the-shelves’ way of improving our society. However, a right-thinking President also brings on board topnotch grass-root politicians to hold the political front when the need arises. President Buhari and the APC should as a matter of ‘need’ reinvigorate that area.

Apart from the two ministers who lost their jobs, many Nigerians still expect more heads to roll in the cabinet of President Muhammdu Buhari. Some sources said that those penciled down to be axed were more than the two eased out and that more ministers would be shown the exit any moment from now. The President has also indicated that the cabinet reshuffle would be a “continuous” exercise- this will definitely ginger the Minister to do more work in contributing to the national development

Anyone nominated by the president must know what is expected of him or her.  A ministerial appointment is a call for a national assignment. Nigerians expect ministers not to only saddle themselves with the responsibilities within their respective portfolios, but also be team players that will bring new and feasible ideas.

On the political side- Apart from supporting the president, ministers should see themselves as the ‘faces’ of the APC from their respective communities – their political presence and contact with locals are very important. During the 2019 presidential elections, most of Buhari’s first term appointees especially from the north became mere spectators in their states due to their weak link with the grassroots. Buhari’s personality won him the north. Some of the current Ministers are in the same shoe as those first term ministers – weak link with the grassroots and poor rapport with the public.

President should look for the youth in making his new nominations, if that opportunity is slim, the president should expand his cabinet with 12 young people between the ages 25-50, two from each of the six geo-political zones, as Senior Special Assistants with full cabinet status. This will greatly impact the youths’ perception of the government and give the government the ‘strength’ to boast that youth are adequately represented in the government. This will also create a strong link between the government and the youth, who form more than half of Nigerian voters.  This would also serve as an impetus for a good image and a sound political strategy for the All Progressive Congress (APC) towards the 2023 elections. Young people’s political participation and engagement in governance is essential at this moment.

Lastly, President Buhari should be firm in assessing every member of his cabinet. Non-performing ministers should be replaced quickly so as not to lose time, and also keep others on their toes. For the incomincg Ministers, especially Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar and Engr. Abubakar .D. Aliyu, the Agriculture and Power portfolio is a golden opportunity to make a mark and serve the people.

Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Abuja, zaymohd@yahoo.com, 08036070980


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