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OPINION: Are Buhari’s ministers old wine in new bottle? by Idris Mohammed

Posted by on August 5, 2019.   Under: News ,

president muhammadu buhari

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Editor’s note: Idris Mohammed, a public commentator and programme officer with CDD West Africa, writes on the recent ministerial nominees sent to the Nigerian Senate by President Muhammadu Buhari. Read below: I don’t want to start this piece with the issue of exclusion of young people below the age of 35 years old and also more women. Dwelling on this will add more salt to the injury and of course space will not permit me to do so. If you recall, Buhari publicly promised Nigerians that he would include more youths and women in his next level administration. Surprisingly, the absence of many youths among his nominees shocked many Nigerians and also sent a wrong signal to even the author of this article. Since his inauguration in May 29, Nigerians were anxious or eager to see who and who will be on the list of ministerial nominees so as to assess their qualities and credibility. Though, it was not a surprise for President Buhari to spend 56 days before releasing the list of his ministerial nominees. During his first tenure, it took him 6 months to form his cabinet. There are a lot of criticism that rocked his first tenure particularly on ministers that handled economy, security, youth and other sensitive appointments. He admitted, he did not know most of his appointees This time around, President Muhammadu Buhari, assured Nigerians that he would only appoint people he knew.

Ordinarily, looking at the abysmal performances of the last batch of Buhari’s ministers and the barrage of criticism the government suffered, any Nigerians thought the status quo will be changed. Of course, the Buhari administration wants to address the myriad of problems that has become a clog in the wheel of Nigerian’s development, hence requires capable hands. There are the urgent needs for trained technocrats who are armed with technical know-how to revive the economy, security and other relevant sectors.

However, the new ministers have fallen short of standard and may likely not deliver the much- talked “Next Level Agenda.” Many political observers are visibly shocked and surprised on how Buhari could opt for people who have questionable characters. The appointment of some former governors and senators who have milked their states dry and are under investigation of anti- corruption agencies raise the credibility question. How can Buhari who abhors corruption nominate some politicians who are corrupt? Also, Nigerians have been reacting to the list of ministerial nominees especially with the return of some ministers who are elderly and performed woefully in their first tenure. Some of them are politicians that have been disconnected with their communities’ due to corruption. Previous administrations had tried and brought technocrats that performed wonderfully in their portfolios such as Nasir El rufai, Oby Ezykwesili. Ngozi Okonjo- Iwela, late Professor Dora Akunyili and many more. Though many Nigerians are of the opinion that the likes of Ali Pantami, Festus Keyamo and Sharon Ikeazor are brilliant and would shine in the Bihari’s second term. Moreover, the way and manner with which the list was submitted without portfolios have robbed policy analysts or experts the opportunities to know how the ministers will drive the policy direction of the government. With the increase of numbers of the ministers, the ministry of power, housing and works needs to be split and assign to the people that have good performance record to foster development. Security is one step forward and three step backward, the corruption is everywhere and it makes the ministry of justice perform below expectation. There are reported cases of human right abuses both at home and abroad. Many matters are required to be tackled in Nigeria and the challenges are numerous, but there is still a way forward. Mr. President should take the lead as he is the one who knows the way, define new directions and show his team the way. Remember, it is time to implement the Next Level in both concept and practice. By so doing, the potentialities of Nigeria will be fully harnessed.

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