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What Manner Of Cabinet?

IT is fairly easy to guess why everyone wants to be a Minister in the cabinet that is in the works. The focus may be the resources Ministers control and the powers that flow from allocating the resources.

An often ignored reason could be the generally high level of poverty throughout the country, which has decimated individual resources for years. People once touted as rich now require support to survive. Those they used to assist are in more trouble as the struggle for individual existence has become everything.

Nigerians are in government for themselves. The days of godfathers expecting their wards to represent them faithfully are over. Some godfathers, who one would have expected to retire, are active, seeking appointments for themselves, their wives, their children or other close relations.

It must be a trying time for President Goodluck Jonathan working out membership of his cabinet. He is fully to be blamed for the setting that he created when he asked States for lists. Eventually, there were more lists than States, propelled by the party squabbles that have left some States with more than three factions of the party.

Other influence peddlers had lists to submit. Are we to believe that the four years of being in the Presidency were not enough time for him to mobilise the type of Nigerians he would have in his cabinet? What manner of cabinet did he conceive for his transformational agenda? Will the calibre of people being screened meet the criteria for making the necessary change?

More arduous tasks await the President. Different aggrieved parts of the country expect special considerations in the allocation of ministerial portfolios. It is at this point that the last shred of efforts to acknowlege competence would disappear. Why would people ask for particular portfolios in a manner that tends to equate them to statutorily monthly revenue allocations to a State? Will such demands, if accepted, not result in compromises that will foreclose expectations of excellence in those ministries?

There are scores of other reasons for concerns. Some of the people listed or re-listed for appointment were anonymous in earlier assignments. What are the indications that they would be different enough to drive transformation? Others do not inspire confidence or have the credibility their high profile assignments require.

The worse cases appear to be where appointments are being used solely for rehabilitation.

Security agencies are screening the nominees, but should nominees who are dripping in scandals that are published, and which they make no efforts to deny, have made the list at all?

The President has a duty to Nigerians to select only men and women who will make contributions that can lead to the changes that would improve the general well being of Nigerians. After years of waiting in vain for the provision of basic requirements of modern living like electricity and safe drinking water, Nigerians are too impatient to invest their hopes in people who will disappoint them again.

Years of too much talking, with barely anything done, means that the country’s pace must be hurried, if it is to arrest its deterioration. A cabinet should dictate that pace instead of distracting it.


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