By Afolabi Aribigbola
The outcome of the highly contested 2023 Presidential election against all odds produced the current President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the 16th President of Nigeria. Thus with hindsight to his performance and ability to hunt for talents and capable hands to run the affairs of Lagos state between 1999 and 2007, a state whose economy has been classified as the fifth largest economy in Africa, one was hopeful that he will not just be contented in replicating the Lagos feat in the present dispensation but will operate at higher pedestal.
Suffice to add that this time around with more experience he should go for the best brains to manage the affairs of the country to rescue her from its present predicament. Of course, all these raised expectations to the renewed hope agenda of his campaign mantra and convinced many that his administration will make a difference in accomplishing government business in the country that was at its lowest level recently. Also this high expectation was further promoted when the new President declared unequivocally during his inauguration speech that fuel subsidy that has been discovered to be the ‘house’ or base of corruption in the country has gone.
Therefore, one was expecting a similar trend and change when it comes to the issue of constituting the federal executive council. Unfortunately to the charging and disbelief of many Nigerians, the choice of his Ministerial nominee was not the case, most of the names on the list of the proposed members of the federal cabinet were the same people known to Nigerians that has been in corridor of power since the inception of the present democratic experience in the country. A close examination of the 48 ministerial nominees beside the simple fact that they were overshadowed by politicians, nine of them were former governors with most of them losing elections for a second term, many are serving and former members of the Senate and House of Representatives, some were former Ministers, Deputy Governors, Commissioners and others that have worked with him in the past.
The crucial issue was that most of them have been in government for a long time without visible contributions. This development has made some analysts to conclude that the list which is the largest since 1999 is full of politicians with some of them with bad records and if they had done well those who lost elections would not have lost their reelection bid. People have also began to ask the questions of whether there are no good people to be appointed as Ministers beside these people, some whose past records are questionable. Of course, this is not to suggest that there are no good people among those nominated. Some of them are in fact the finest, brilliant, committed people that you can find in the country.
Notwithstanding, most of them have been around for too long which made some people described the exercise as recycling of men of yesteryears. This is unacceptable to many Nigerians because they are not the only set of people in the country. Many of them have also been engulfed in one controversy or the other. Yet they continue to occupy prominent position in the political space of the country. In over twenty years of occupying position of responsibilities what impact have they made to justify their present nomination as a Ministers or what do they possess that they want to offer differently?. Yes, where people are known to have delivered, they could be allowed to continue. I don’t think this is the case with many of the ministerial nominees of the present administration.
This development has become a source of concern to me since the list was made public and screening of the potential Ministers commenced. Consequently a number questions have been agitating my mind in the last few days on why the need to continue to recycle same people all these years as if there are no other people that are equally good or better than these set politicians paraded. Is it because that there no other competent men and women in the country that we should continue to stick to only some few individuals, whether they are competent or not? Or is it because they possess special qualities and abilities that others don’t have that make them the only individuals that can be appointed Ministers of Federal Republic of Nigeria?
And what are the implications of relying essentially on same set of people over the years despite their seeming inability to add value to governance in the country? These are people that have been in government over the years and yet the fortune of the country has been going down. Indeed, we are all witnesses to the fact that the economy of the country has been going downward over the years.
Of course, it will be superfluous or excessive for anyone to conclude that it was because there are no competent Nigerians that the country continue to recycle same set of people. Perhaps, same set are used for selfish personal benefits of the leaders. Some are used because as argued by some that they know how to win or rig elections not because of their unique abilities.
The truth is that there are several Nigerians that are making impacts in various parts of the world but for political exigencies or expedience by the so called political leaders would not be given the opportunity to contribute to the development of the country. Also recycling same set of people in governance has the potency to limit and retard national development as recently witnessed with the crash of the country economy and inability to decisively address the humongous problems facing the country.
The country will continue to rotate on the same spot without motion that can take it forward. As noted earlier, proven individuals with track records of performance can continue in office but the reality in Nigeria was that most of the past government functionaries in the country often have not measured up to be allowed to continue in office. The reality is that there are better competent Nigerians with greater zeal ability and competences to deliver as well as drive the development strides of the country in all spheres of human endeavours. They are readily available both locally and in all parts of the globe. The President should not be afraid and do well as he did in Lagos to search out and pick from the pool of Nigerians that are making impacts in different parts of the world instead of relying essentially on politicians that created the current challenges facing the country.
The best time to make correct and reverse the negative narratives associated with Nigeria over the years is now and the present administration must cease with special opportunity offered by the sustained support and endurance of Nigerian to the hardship of the time. Thus the present administration in order to make a difference and justify the confidence reposed on the President during the 2023 presidential election, must locate and bring on board accomplished Nigerians that would be ready to serve the country in truth with all their God endowed ability so as to be able to chart a new development path for the country.
The country cannot afford forward and backward movements in recent times while other societies are breaking new grounds to provide for their citizen’s need. The above advice also subsists with the reference to the states where the governors only picked people they can always dictate to and not those that has ideas to contribute. Personal inclinations of leaders that dominate government actions need to be deemphasized while state and national interest should be allowed to dictate policy directions of government actions and activities.