Choosing a cabinet is undoubtedly one of the most important ways in which a governor can exercise power over the whole conduct of government.
But what is not always understood is how real the constraints under which such choices take place. One has to achieve even distribution across the state.
The recent cabinet reshuffle carried out by Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State has been heralded as a good omen.
Changes are of course required in the cabinet when a governor has been in power for six years. In order not to give the impression that things are getting stale, certain changes were made to free up posts and bring in new faces.
Anambra State is blessed with abundant human resources from whom choices of successors could be made.
It was even understood that some of the erstwhile appointees had wanted to leave the cabinet to concentrate on their own business interests.
Even some honorable members of the state legislature seemed jittery about the mood before this shuffle.
By removing the Commissioner for Justice and Health ministries, the Governor seemed to be responding to criticisms leveled against them during the weeks and months of strike that affected their ministries.
In the Ministry of Information there was need to have someone with great skills in publicity with the ability of communicating better to the people. His Excellency, Governor Peter Obi apparently noticed the discontent in the ministries and hastened to reshuffle the cabinet.
In the case of Ministry of Environment- presentation of environmental matters always seemed to be all the expense of substance.
There was need to have somebody in this ministry that would be bold, courageous and imaginative in sanitizing the cities. With the change, Onitsha and environs have tremendously improved as more shacks and kiosks are removed from the streets. The city now wears a new look.
When the reshuffle was completed both private and public figures roared with jubilation as it had been long overdue. The inauguration was brisk and business like.
By adding other young men of energy and idea to his cabinet, there is probability of government moving ahead instead of dropping.
Much has been said of and written of Governor Obi’s supreme self confidence. All of it whether it was said for a friendly purpose or not, he felt he had been given a grand opportunity to do something about the problems that beset the state.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs was left untouched supposedly because of the need to have the trusted commissioner’s support on key issues on commerce and industry. Moreover, Prof. Akunna did well on budgetary matters and Millennium Development Goals. There was never a scandal in her office.
It was Prof. Akunna who in an interview said government should establish a manpower services commission to seek for services of experts in various fields to also supervise the training needs of civil servants.
The governor has completed the initial task of getting the government on the sound footing. What remains is to send signal of change not business as usual. All ailing sate owned businesses, industries etc ought to be revived.
Government ought to create opportunities for individuals to buy their own homes at large discounts with possibility of 100 per cent mortgages.
*Cletus Okereke writes from Awka.