THE constitutional imperative requiring the president and governors to form their cabinets within 60 days of their inauguration must have played a role in the nomination of ministers by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who sent the list of his ministerial nominees to the Senate, for screening and confirmation, on the day the window elapsed.
THE Senate screening and confirmation exercises were not without some intrigues, as three of the nominees are yet to be cleared, due to what was termed “security reports”. While the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory had their constitutional minimum of one nomination as minister for the purpose of representation, some others had more than the minimum, with the respective geopolitical zones having disaggregated numbers of ministers.
BEYOND the activities surrounding the nomination and Senate screening nay clearing, The Hope, just like other Nigerians, found fascinating how the unveiled allocation of portfolios to the minister designates disrupted major speculations and expectations. We recognise the ingenious creative mindedness of President Tinubu to transgress political affiliations by bringing on board people of other political divides. The role-call of the ministers, even though predominantly made up of notable politicians, part of who were former governors that lost re-election in their states, included youths and women.
WE noted that even though President Tinubu promised women 35 percent inclusion in his cabinet, he was able to achieve 25 percent, which we consider to be fairly representational in relation to the Maputo Protocol supporting the right of women to participate in decision-making processes at all levels.
ALSO, in line with his campaign promises to include youths in his administration, President Tinubu appointed a couple of youths as ministers, one of whom was Bosun Tijani, an ENDSARS promoter and influencer that has been assigned the Ministry of Communication, Innovation and Digital Economy. The appointment of Tijani was, no doubt, a masterstroke used to purge the past, heal the present, and invest in the future, using the crafts of the agencies that understand the fluid tomorrow.
APART from the fact that the composition of the cabinet ditched certain predictable expectations, the assigning of responsibilities similarly threw up unpredictable surprises. Specifically, the portfolios assigned to some of the ministers fell within the expectations of Nigerians. They included Wale Edun that was made the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, who performed some magic-like financial revolutions in Lagos State, as commissioner of Finance when Tinubu was governor. Another nominee was Lateef Fagbemi, a longstanding legal ally of President Tinubu, that was appointed the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
HOWEVER, we observed that some other portfolios were surprising, like that of Dele Alake, who was assigned the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development, as against that of Information and National Orientation that was the related area that he functioned before then, both as a commissioner under Tinubu in Lagos State, and as the first spokesperson to the Tinubu presidency. The unveiling of Festus Keyamo as the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, as against the familiar Ministry of Labour and Employment where he served under the immediate past government of Buhari, was also off the mark.
IN the estimation of The Hope, very noteworthy was the assigning of Nyesom Wike as the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, being the first southerner to occupy the position substantively. We are of the opinion that Wike’s placement in this regard is emblematic of Tinubu’s courage and commitment to inclusion. Nonetheless, the ministers’ list was disappointedly made up of more old politicians than new hands that should have brought to the table fresh ideas. Apart from changes in nomenclatures of some old ministries, 10 new ministries were created by Tinubu to develop the country very sustainably.
NOW that portfolios have been assigned to the ministers, we expect that they would hit the ground running, as they centralise the campaign promises of PBAT and, beyond the euphoria of their appointments, bring to the table personal developmental ideas, reflective of the capacity required of holders of their offices.
WHILE not allowing them to develop over-bloated egos that would be injurious to their placement, The Hope is of the opinion that President Tinubu should give the ministers free hands to operate, and set targets for them. He should also exercise due supervision, and put up a review mechanism for appropriate evaluation, while not hesitating to sack underperforming and erring ones. As a complementary arm of government, the National Assembly should play its oversight roles very objectively. Nigerians, particularly the media, should also scrutinise the ministers and hold them accountable, but should give them reasonable time.