AS we inch closer to the political high tides of the 2019 electoral season, many political appointees and public servants are nursing ambitions to contest various positions at state and federal levels. This is a legitimate political right for those wishing to enter the fray.
However, we have noticed that some appointees of President Muhammadu Buhari have merely applied for “leave of absence”. This implies that their political appointments will be temporarily suspended to enable them pursue their political ambitions and if they fail, they can return to office.
Notable is the case of the Minister of Solid Minerals and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi. He applied to President Buhari for a leave of absence to contest the governorship of Ekiti State which will come up on July 14, 2018. The President gave him the go-ahead on Monday, April 30, 2018.
We believe this arrangement is untidy and immoral. Public office is not a personal patrimony of anyone. We strongly believe that once an appointed occupant of a public office becomes ambitious to run for election, he or she should quit to devote full attention to the new pursuit. This will give a new hand, preferably a technocrat, the opportunity to continue with new vigour to ensure that services in that sector do not suffer any form of discontinuity.
We refer to what happened in July 2014 when the then Minister of State for Education, Mr Nyesom Wike, resigned his office to pursue his ambition to run for the governor of Rivers State, almost a year to the actual election.
For now, the law allows elected officials such as the president, governors and lawmakers to run for election while still consummating their mandates. This is obviously because their work will continue under the care of trusted and able appointees and technocrats.
We wonder what will be the fate of governance if majority of Buhari’s ministers choose to run for office at the same time that the President and his Deputy are pursuing their re-election bids. There will be very scant attention paid to governance by political authority, as virtually everyone will be on the campaign hustings.
Considering that this regime lost six whole months before a cabinet was fully put in place, there is a lot of work left in many sectors. Besides, we are still suffering the aftershocks of the economic recession. With the budgets always passed mid-year instead of being implemented from the beginning of each year, President Buhari needs technocrats to replace politicians seeking election to allow government business continue seamlessly.
Let ministers and bureaucrats who want to contest elections be replaced by new hands. Uninterrupted flow of government business is more important than keeping public offices chained to individuals.