Ministerial list: Before Jonathan squanders his goodwill

2011-05-31
THE PUNCH Newspaper

The pre-election and election civic participation activities are an indication that, this time, Nigerians have decided that the business of politics is too serious to be left in the hands of politicians.



Mr. President, the composition of your cabinet, which will be announced in the next few weeks, will determine how seriously you take the interest of Nigerians in their own affairs.



At the presidential inauguration ceremony on May 29, you promised to transform Nigeria. For anyone who has lived in Nigeria or followed up on her governance in the past decade plus, sound bites are part of Inauguration Day and no one is impressed by them. The key thing here is to deliver on those promises.



The post inauguration assessment, from appointment of the cabinet will either prove you are a man for the people or a man for yourself. Since good will of the people brought you to office, you will do well to keep your promise not to let the people down when appointing the cabinet.



In the context of the socio-political awakening that is streaking across the political skies of various continents and countries including Nigeria, your governance ought to be different largely because Nigerians have invested so much emotions and good will in you and the perception of good luck that you carry; they are therefore not likely to ignore your fallacies and foibles. Nigerians have been made to believe you are a breath of fresh air and there is no better time to prove you are the one to ventilate Nigeria than now.



The cabinet you will appoint should not be the same old faces of spent politicians and expired ideas, who, like you pointed out lately, have been thronging the corridors and crevices of power seeking another chunk of the national pastry.



Nigerians are waiting to see who will be in the cabinet: either politicians who can draw on their following to bring some measure of political popularity to this government or technocrats who have neither baggage nor the parasitic and symbiotic relationships that politicians pull them down like the Pilgrim’s load.



The step you take in this direction- to appoint a superlative cabinet comprising men and women of integrity; patriotic spirits who can inject professionalism and decisive solution seeking strategy into the economy by creating systemic change - will be an omen of what the next four years will bring. Nigerians are waiting to see if, you, Mr. President, who has spent a year in office, will still totter; take a few uncertain steps like a toddler and surround yourself with a company of people who have no idea of governance and development goes beyond fiddling with various operational levers and see which works.



Indeed, Mr. President, the National Assembly will be involved in the process but we all know you have the final say. Nigerians want to see democrats and technocrats-people who can, from a vantage position of knowledge, experience and expertise, design strategies that can transform Nigeria like the president promised- not politicats and kleptocrats whose lives and relevance revolve around the public purse. The cabinet should not be about shapeless pegs put in hexagonal holes and hoping it fits somehow. Not anymore.



Your work began yesterday, Mr. President. No more can you or anyone brandish the excuse that the mandate you are running was attained by default and you cannot navigate the office with the boldness and decisiveness required. You have been elected in your own right; it is time to transform Nigeria like you promised.


 

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