Buhari’s Cabinet: Meritocratic Or Clientelistic, By Jude Feranmi
Fellow countrymen, I still love to think that congratulations on Nigeria’s budding democracy are still in order as regards the last democratic exercise in March and April. So, once again, Congratulations! In some other epochal situation, the peace we enjoy today will be a thing of hope. The gospel of change that has seen enough converts to unsit the incumbent President is a testament to our budding democracy. Today, we are all better for it.
Now, a lot of campaign promises have come and gone and it’s time to start hoping that those campaign promises were not as empty as Dokubo’s threats before elections. But, to sit back, relax and hope is the least we should be doing now. Our duty as occupants of the office of the citizen of the federal republic of Nigeria is to demand that the kind of life that we deserve should be given us. Nothing more, nothing less! More so, to be vigilant so as to be able to identify the decisions that will make or mar our demands directly or indirectly.
We are at a critical juncture in the Presidency of Muhammandu Buhari, which we all want to be a successful one. Though, it is yet to begin officially, a lot of decisions that will make/mar the Presidency are in full gear. One of these decisions which interests me as an occupant of the office of the citizen which I believe should also interest every well-meaning Nigerian is the structure and the content of the cabinet of the incoming Presidency. You see, when we elected Muhammadu Buhari, the APC flag bearer, we also elected prima-facie all the people who will occupy the roles of ministers, special advisers, director-generals, permanent secretaries amongst others. These people make up the civil service. In a nutshell, these people run the country’s business. They are the determinants of the level of success that we will achieve in the next four years and how the Presidency performs. Actually, when we lament the problems of leadership in our country, what we are lamenting is the problems of finding the right people to occupy these offices. We have usually elected Presidents who end up filling up these offices with politicians instead of technocrats or at instances where technocrats have been appointed, they have been incapacitated by politics. The clause of the constitution which ensures that each state produces a minister makes it worse. It is such that the state governor has a stake on who becomes minister from that state or the party leader. What we end up with is a conflation of people who are being paid for a favor or two they have done for the governor or the party leader in their state, they are usually characterized of people who know next to nothing when it comes to the offices they are gifted : Clientelism – that stage of political development where democracy is run by exchanging political favors in exchange for political support. I need not define Meritocracy.
TO THE NEWLY ELECTED PRESIDENT
All prosperous nations have something in common. A quality government bureaucracy made up of experts in their chosen fields, not politicians who know next to nothing about a field they preside over. Countries like Singapore and Germany are what they are today because of the caliber of people who run their governments. Coming back home a little, Akinwumi Adesina and Omobola Johnson were icons in the Jonathan Presidency despite all efforts by the President to ensure that the Presidency failed, though subconsciously, those ministries stood out and were talking points in the President’s campaign. Success is largely a function of the caliber of the people who surround you. The more experts you have , the easier it will become to achieve the vision of a better Nigeria. It is high time we had the best of our people running government. The time for politics is over Mr President-Elect, The time of Governance is here and making the mistake of putting a round peg (politicians) in a square hole (technocrat) will mar your Presidency. You have promised to deliver a better Nigeria, politicians can’t deliver a better Nigeria, only technocrats can. I can promise you sir, those nominated will be demanded of responsibilities of their offices, be they politicians or technocrats and a failure to rise up to those responsibilities will not be permissible.
TO FELLOW COUNTRYMEN
It is not time to sit back and watch the campaign promises become reality, it is time to be more vigilant. The life we get is the life we deserve. The kind of life we demand is the kind of life we get. If we sit back and relax, waiting and hoping, suffering and smiling or wailing and praying, the only change we will end up with is that which we have gotten, a change in the people occupying the positions. Nothing more Nothing less! A better Nigeria is possible and achievable, only if we demand it.
God bless the Federal Republic Of Nigeria