Six months after winning the presidential elections and two months after inauguration for a second term, President Muhammadu Buhari finally sent the much-anticipated ministerial list to the Senate for screening and deliberation. With so much going in the country at the moment, I was expecting a list that will inspire optimism, reflect critical thinking and appease the population instead, we have been presented with a list that contains former governors, serving lawmakers, party loyalist, retired service chiefs and mediocre technocrats. I am pained and I think everyone who truly loves this country should be too.
With a population of over 190 million people, with 54% accounting for people between 15-54 years, it is very surprising that even at this age and time we have not seen the importance and value of having a robust representation in terms of ideas, age and prospects, not just region, tribe and party. The ministerial list submitted by President Buhari does not inspire hope or purposeful governance especially to the youthful population who are tired of recycled and career politicians. Also, the fact that the President did not attach portfolios to the names of the nominees indicates uncertainty and lack of purpose, as round pegs will be asked to fill square holes. It would have been better if portfolios were attached to the nominations, that way, the competency of the nominees in the fields can be tested. That, I believe, is a fair way to assess the cabinet members.
To add a little bit of legitimacy to my thoughts, President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said “People are talking of a generation change and injecting fresh blood or a mixture of the old and the new. But the new names on the list are people who have been in the political circle for some time. I am sure the younger generation would have been looking out for a list that would have accommodated their interest and representation”. We were, rather personally I was, not because I am a member of the younger generation, but because I want a country that I can be proud of.
Sometime last year, I wrote an article titled, “Are youths not tired of being called the future of tomorrow”? The article was not just a clarion call to the youths, but also a message to the leaders, apparently, the message was not well received.
One would expect that with the delay by the President Buhari in constituting his cabinet, the nominees would be populated by professionals, exemplary politicians and youthful minds, but the President thought otherwise.
It would be safe to say, that with the nominations and impending confirmation, we have been robbed of fruitful governance as these crops of ministers inspire very little confidence. From where I stand, this list is an aberration and a reward for corruption, incompetence, rascality and wasteful spending as some of the nominees have very questionable characteristics. We can do better.