Nigeria: Who Will Be Named to Jonathan’s Cabinet?

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Goodluck Johnathan

President: Goodluck Johnathan

AFTER his inauguration on May 29, President Goodluck Jonathan would necessarily reconstitute the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and the caliber of men and women he selects from the many that are currently falling over themselves to make the final list will determine how successful or otherwise his administration will be.

Already all manner of lists are being submitted by different stakeholders, including the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), whose state chapters have nominated 10 names each, for consideration for appointment into ministerial and other political appointments.

Expectedly, this exercise has been dogged by all manner of intrigues as people maneuvered and even muscled to get their names or those of their godsons and daughters into the lists. It was, for instance, reported that most of the out-going governors of the PDP put their names forward as candidates for ministerial positions.

Every qualified Nigerian is entitled to aspire to any position including ministerial offices, but the fact must be stated that the country is at a critical point in its history where it must race towards all round development without being weighed down by round pegs in square holes and this can only be achieved if the best brains are in the driving seats as ministers and heads of parastatals and agencies of government.

The President cannot afford to disappoint Nigerians and since the buck stops on his desk, since he would be the one to take the glory for success and blame for failure, he must not allow himself to be cajoled or intimidated by anybody or group of people into making appointments that would only serve to discredit his government and drag Nigeria away from the path of rapid development.

He must, indeed, look for the best hands for the job of transforming Nigeria from where it is to where it should be, among the leading nations of the world, given the abundant resources available to the country. He must, therefore, be resolute, indeed firm, to ensure that he is not misled into making a costly mistake. We are, therefore, impressed by some newspaper reports that he may have rejected some lists presented by some state chapters of the PDP and may have gone ahead to handpick some people from outside the lists, who he believes would work hard to help him deliver the dividends of democracy that he promised the populace during the electioneering campaigns.

This, in our opinion, is the way to go. In order to assemble a crack team, we also believe that Jonathan must be free to operate outside the confines of his political party’s interests even while accommodating as much of their expectations as can be accommodated without compromising the overall interest of the country.

He promised to accommodate other political parties in a broad based government otherwise known as a Government of National Unity (GNU). We support this move and encourage other parties to cooperate with him and the PDP because the country must use the rich human resources that abound in it for transformation that is keenly expected.

We are aware that many qualified Nigerians, some of who are not into partisan politics, would be willing to serve the country once they are convinced that the leadership is both serious about providing good governance. We, therefore, advise that if the President sees any of such Nigerians anywhere in the world, he must not hesitate to appoint them into the new cabinet.

We say so because it is such professionals that would inject the much needed fresh blood into the system. Nigerians are tired of the recycling of the same men and women in ministerial and other sensitive positions, since the poor performance of some of them have proved, beyond doubt, that most of them may have exhausted their ideas on how to move the country forward.

Mr. President must also ensure that his ministers and other aides are, when appointed, assigned portfolios that they are most qualified to function in. It is a fact that appointing a minister to oversee a ministry that is completely strange to his or her course of study and background may be a good excuse for such a minister to fail, or, be easily manipulated by corrupt bureaucrats who would take advantage of their ignorance of the sector.

The country, indeed, needs a situation where well equipped leaders are appointed ministers or advisers in their fields of competence so that they would, without wasting precious time in studying the ABC of their ministries, move speedily to contribute positively towards the rapid transformation of the country.

The stage is set and President Jonathan should use the current recruitment exercise to send a signal to the PDP, the other parties, Nigerians as a whole and, indeed, the international community, that concerning the incoming cabinet and the administration generally, it will not be business as usual.

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