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Cabinet reshuffle: Why the furore?

By Osaze Sunny

Expectedly, Nigerians, especially those whose cherished pastime is to pick holes in the activities of the President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration, even where none exist, unsuccessfully tried to give unsavory interpretations to the federal cabinet reshuffle which resulted in the exit of nine serving ministers.

As usual, even before the Federal Executive Council meeting was over, the news, courtesy of Nigeria’s bourgeoning social media, had spread like raging wildfire. It no doubt elicited loads of reactions, both for and against. While some of the reactions were as usual intended to give ethnic and religious connotations to the development, some went a bit further by branding it with different political undertones.

There is one unique attribute that has become this administration’s selling point. It is a regime that attaches unprecedented importance to the feelings of Nigerians. It has earned for itself the enviable sobriquet of a listening and understanding government. Never in the history of Nigeria have we had a government that puts the common man into consideration in both policy formulation and implementation.

Top: Zainab Kuchi, Erelu Olusula Obada,  Buka Tijani, and Ita Bassey Ewah  Below: Olugbenga Ashiru, Ama Peppel, Ruquyatu Rufai,  Shamshudeen Usman and  Hadiza Mailafia
Top: Zainab Kuchi, Erelu Olusula Obada, Buka Tijani, and Ita Bassey Ewah
Below: Olugbenga Ashiru, Ama Peppel, Ruquyatu Rufai, Shamshudeen Usman and Hadiza Mailafia

To many, especially those who have indepth understanding of how government works the world over, Wednesday’s cabinet shake-up is geared towards positioning the government of the day for optimum performance. Without mincing words, Mr President’s action was a development long overdue. We can all bear testimony to the obvious fact that many had consistently drummed support for the reshuffling of the current cabinet. In line with his meticulous approach to issues to avoid a backlash, Mr President rather chose to be careful in this regard.

Undoubtedly, we cannot deny the incontestable fact that it is the prerogative of Mr President to constitute a cabinet of his choice. It is equally incumbent on him to deliver on his numerous campaign promises to the electorate. So, with this in mind, he is in the best position to select eminently qualified Nigerians from different parts of the country to function in different organs under his supervision.

Instead of viewing Mr President’s action from an objective point of view, some have preferred to make political gain out of it by being mischievous. Some have equally concluded that the move was simply targeted at hitting back at members of the newly created PDP faction. These persons have since forgotten that cabinet reshuffle is a permanent feature of democracy the world over. How do we expect the best in terms of governance from the current administration when we make unnecessary haste to misinterpret every of her actions?

Checks have indeed revealed a number of reasons why these ministers were dropped. Do we still remember the performance contract pact signed by the ministers? We may recall that the President asked the ministers to sign a performance bond.
Some of the affected ministers were reported not to have lived up to expectations in the assessment.

Some of them have performed satisfactorily to the admiration of the stakeholders even though they face some few challenges of governance. Nigeria cannot afford to be on the slow lane at a time other less-endowed and smaller nations are rolling out ambitious plans to put their respective nations on the path of development. If we want the best for our country, then we must learn to support genuine efforts aimed at fast-tracking development.

As I conclude this piece, I wish to cite an example to put this issue in clear perspective. Some have linked Usman Shamsudeen’s exit from the cabinet to Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso’s involvement with the new PDP and four other governors in the North. These persons have equally forgotten that Shamsudeen was not nominated by Governor Kwankwaso in the first place and they have never been in good terms. Also Erelu Obada, the former Defence Minister of State who was speculated to be sacked because of connection to Olagunsoye Oyinlola, the Secretary of the factional nPDP. The two are said not to be in the same camp. On the other side, Former Minister of Science and Technology and that of Environment were close allies to President Jonathan and his vice, Namadi Sambo, respectively but they were also dropped. These are clear examples to buttress the fact that Mr President’s action was not a political witch-hunt as being alleged.

It is not about the interest of individuals, rather, it’s about Nigeria and Nigerians. It is simply about how best to provide qualitative leadership to Nigerians by injecting new blood with new ideas into the system.

Realising the Nigeria of our collective dreams and aspirations requires some sacrifices on our parts. Governance is a continuous process. So, that some ministers were dropped doesn’t imply that the system would grind to a complete halt. Government is very much interested in meeting the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians. Let us support our elected and appointed representatives for them to function better in their respective assignments.

*Mr Sunny, a political analyst, wrote from Lagos.


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