Now that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s men are undergoing screening or rather interactions at the Senate, many reactions are coming up. While this piece may not be able to consider all the reactions, but one stands out, and need be addressed. It is a socio-cultural issue that had affected our governance over the years, and needs to be stopped. Many families of the nominated Ministers were already jubilating that their families are being positioned to bring home their portion of the national cake. For many States, agitations are rife for ‘equal representation’ so that their share of the booty would also not be missed.
For the selected, the opportunity has also arrived for the fulfillment of their dreams of a better life. Eyes are already on the various international trips for their families, cronies and side chicks. Real Estate merchants and banks are already poised to welcome their new customers, so that a chunk of the meat would also grease their palms. For these and many, Ministerial appointments are nothing but a settlement scheme and an invitation to eat, clean mouth and settle one’s family for life. It is an escape from financial doom, an opportunity to settle scores, and accumulate funds for political ascendancy.
However, the dictionary describes a Minister as a representative of a State assigned to give aid and service. Also, the word takes its root from the Hebrew word Sharath, which means ‘to contribute’. In other words, Ministers are not supposed to steal, kill and or destroy. They are supposed to serve and contribute their quota to the success of the administration of the President, and help the people. Being the recipient and custodian of information from the various ministries, they are to aggregate, process, interpret and forward such to the man at the centre; advise and develop policies that would make the best use of the various information gathered from the political system. The Minister therefore is a first hand representative of government to the people. In a growing economy such as ours, the burden is on the Minister to ensure that the tempo of development is increased or at most sustained for the people.
At this juncture, it is imperative to state that the job of the Minister is to fulfill the will of the employer, in this case, the President. It is therefore expected that President Tinubu, ab initio must have a set of programmes for the nation and her peoples. His idea of development therefore would be the building blocks, and the vision which the Ministers would strive to achieve. So, if the President in truth and spirit seeks for an egalitarian society, and seeks to transform Nigeria to Dubai, that is what the Ministers are expected to achieve with him. However, if the desire is to sell the nation’s birthright and plunder our collective resources, the Ministers would also concur. It is therefore expected that the President and Commander of Nigeria’s armed forces would have in clear terms set a national goal, as well as achievable objectives for each minister to achieve within a given period of time.
The onus is on the President to ensure that Ministers perform their duties to achieve these goals. Yours truly argues that the performance of a Minister therefore is determined by the forthrightness and vision of the leader; while the President’s rating is significantly related to the performances of his Ministers. That is why in a Parliamentary system, the failure of a Minister is the failure of the Prime Minister, and hence the need for their resignation from office. But in the Presidential system we claim to practice, the President has the responsibility to fire any non-performing Minister, otherwise we assume that the latter in his failure is only fulfilling his master’s will.
The portfolios that would be handed to the successful nominees would go a long way to show Nigerians the heart and vision of our President. As it is, there would be agitations on the part of the nominees to clinch the juicy positions.
Such would include the Ministry of Sports, where International bodies have created immunities that shields indigenous malfeasances; Ministry of Finance and Humanitarian where the data of the poor and vulnerable Nigerians can be manipulated to hide misappropriation; Ministry of Works, where repaired roads wallop more funds for shoddy jobs; Ministry of Petroleum, where national resources are shared between the few and to the detriment of nation; Ministry of Defense, where monies meant for national security becomes electioneering funds and Ministry of Power where the nation is made powerless by corrupt cabals who collect payments for untendered services.
Also, the position of the Attorney-General of the Federation is so important that nation be saved from cut throats treaties, agreements and memoranda that would impoverish the nation and render our sovereignty useless. Fellow Nigerians, yours truly also appeal that we should allow the Ministers to breath. This is not the time for chieftaincy titles, financial demands and social responsibilities that would justify their kleptomaniac behaviours and lackluster performances.
Dear President, a special appeal remains that men of intellect, vision, understanding and truth should occupy the Ministerial seats of Labour and Productivity, Education, Health and Agriculture. Those who occupied these positions in the past were filled with arrogance, extreme power drunkenness or timidity; ignorance or sheer wickedness as well concealment of truth which were tantamount to treachery and calumny. These core ministries hold the key to the nation’s development and attainment of heights of glory.
With good intent, knowledge and loyalty, the Ministers of these wrongly perceived turbulent ‘territories’ would as well become the compass for a glorious Nigeria. Any Minister that shields the President from the basic truths in these ministries are not just enemies of the President, but of the State as a whole. To all the successful nominees, it is time to understand that this call to duty is not a political settlement, but an opportunity to contribute to the emancipation of Nigeria(ns). May the shackles be unloosed in your time.