New ministers: “we want technocrats, national spread”
Barely two weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari took the oath of office for a second term, the appeals for him to appoint ministers are growing louder. While some fear the President could re-enact his delay tactics of 2015 when ministers were appointed after six months of his inauguration, many want the president to spread his appointments across boards. Some Nigerians, who spoke to Chuks NZEH and Williams ABAH, also urged the president to appoint only technocrats. Excerpts:
PAUL OJILA: Well, let me commend your organization for taking on this sensitive issue. I think what is needed at a time like this is for all of us to do some stocktaking to ensure things are repositioned. The president needs to change his cabinet because most of his ministers didn't do well.
If you look at the structure of the outgoing cabinet you will discover that most of them were not technocrats, and did not know how to carry out the mandate of their respective institutions. I expect Mr. President to shop for qualified candidates and come up with a good cabinet.
I think the universally acceptable standard of organizing a government is to consult widely with a view to gathering opinion from different persons so that the right thing is done. If you recall, in 1999 when Obasanjo came in as a president of this country, he made wide consultation across boards to appoint capable hands.
Most of his ministers and political appointees were international experts in different professions and that made him succeed in building a productive economy. So I do not see any reason why President Buhari should not borrow a cue. He should hit the ground running. We don't want the situation of 2015, to repeat itself. Let him form his cabinet before June runs out.
RUQYAT ENEMAKU: From my own experience, no government succeeds without a good economic team. Talking about the performance of the outgoing ministers, they have not done too badly. But I think, there is room for improvement.
The president really needs to ensure that only what is of utmost importance is done for Nigerians to repose their confidence in him. Your question as to whether the president will appoint ministers and other political appointees outside his party is one area successive presidents have not gotten right.
If you look at the history of America’s presidential system, you will discover that once election is over, every contestant irrespective of political party is regarded as a stakeholder in government.
Appointment of ministers or political appointees is not a "winners takes all" issue like we have in our own cline. I think our leaders need to grow our democracy in such a way that we can meet globally acceptable standards. This crude way of doing things is not helping us.
This country belongs to all of us and as such I do not see any reason why anybody should singlehandedly take decisions that affect over 180 million people without proper consultation across boards. I will advise that those who are close to the president should guide him so he can do what is needed in this administration.
He should make sure his cabinet members are appointed within the shortest possible time. As we speak, all the ministers have handed over to permanent secretaries and that has left a very big vacuum in all government ministries.
ALIYU ADARA: I want to believe that the president has his record on ministers who performed well and those who did not. But my own concern is the ability of the president to carry everybody along. The outgoing cabinet had come under heavy criticism and those issues need to be addressed this time around.
If you check critically, you will discover that most of the appointments made by the president in the last administration were concentrated mostly in one or two geopolitical zones of the country.
Even if the president wants to retain some of his ministers and other appointees, there is need to apply the principle of federal character to ensure that everybody is given a sense of belonging.
On the issue of appointing ministers, it is important he organizes his cabinet on time so that the situation of 2015, where he waited for six months will not repeat itself.
But I also think that he should not appoint the wrong persons. He should take his time, and consult people, who can give him the needed support to ensure the right persons are appointed into his government.
I also want to remind the president that after appointing ministers there is need to evaluate their performance at regular intervals for optimal performance.
KINGSLEY OKWOR: The president should do an independent analysis of the change agenda he promised Nigerians and the performance of members of his cabinet while implementing the policy and identify those who actually contributed towards making Nigerians benefit from the policy.
As far as democracy is concerned if people are not impacted positively in line with the campaign manifesto of the party that brought the government to power, it means it is corruption and the president should not bring back anybody who has been investigated for corruption and has been indicted.
I think it is time to bring in young Nigerians to prove themselves in leadership so they can start learning about governance especially Now that the “Not too young to Run” Law is in place. This is because in a short time we expect them to take up leadership of the country.
I think the president should even expose those who did not perform very well because their personal interest conflicted with national interest, to serve as deterrent to those who are coming in for the Next Level.
COMFORT BALA: I want the president to only bring back a few of them who performed very well. You cannot deny them the good work they have done. This is not a time when only one group of people will be enjoying government money.
So, let majority of the new cabinet be made up of fresh brains, especially young Nigerians who have proven themselves beyond reasonable doubt that they can do it right. The problem of Nigeria is man-know-man government. If we cannot abandon that system of government that does not want to know whether you can do the job or not, then we are in trouble.