Even before the submission of ministerial nominees to the Senate for final screening, names of those likely to make the list have been a subject of heated debate and prognosis. The matter has dominated the social media, leading to a rebuttal by the presidential spokesman, Mr. Dele Alake, that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has concluded plans to submit the list of the ministerial nominees to the Senate.
Having appointed new security chiefs on June 19, attention has now been drawn to the quality of Nigerians to be appointed as ministers. Not a few have applauded and commended President Tinubu’s choice of security chiefs. So far, the resolution by the new security heads to frontally confront criminal groups has given hope for citizens of a nation that has suffered irreparable damage by gunmen. Not many are in doubt that the country is set to roar against blood-thirsty monsters. Considering the fact that the newly appointed security chiefs have demonstrated an unprecedented commitment to smoke out criminals from their caves and bring them to justice, the list of ministerial nominees must be devoid of politicians whose sole interest is advancing national development.
If the appointment of new security chiefs is anything to go by, citizens are full of excitement and looking forward to good quality men and women to be nominated as ministers. To ensure they are not left behind, politicians, mostly governors, are leaving nothing to chance to ensure they breast the tape. While whopping sums of money are being allegedly deployed to recruit people who have the ears of the president, certain desperate elements, among a horde of office seekers, are not resting on their oars to pass through the eye of the needle.
Unlike in the past where presidents had no option but reciprocated the generosity of political sponsors for their electoral victory, the Tinubu presidency did not come about through sponsorship of his presidential ambition through imprecise forces and some nebulous members of the private sector. This is the first time in the history of Nigeria that a presidential candidate walked through the fiery furnace of campaigns without resorting to influential politicians or moneybags for funding.
Allegations of funding presidential campaigns and their sponsors have always dominated national discourse in the past. This time around, the Tinubu-led campaigns were not distracted with such insinuations as, this time around, he was said to have doled out funds to politicians, including serving governors. There were reports in some states where some of these governors refused to avail critical stakeholders of funding in order to frustrate the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaigns.
For Tinubu to appoint security chiefs without recourse to some previous forces controlling levers of power reveals his independence and commitment to ensure only competent military officers with the capacity to deliver within available deadlines were chosen. Succumbing to the sense of entitlements as practised by politicians was completely absent, thus giving the president the chance to recruit firm military officers as security chiefs.
Before the 2023 polls, democracy had been hijacked by the club of governors. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo made efforts to checkmate their rising excesses. Subsequent presidents found these serving and former state executives uncontrollably powerful with vast financial muscles capable of torpedoing any political system.
Over 24 years since the return of this unbroken democracy, the rising influence of these powerful governors has mostly undermined democracy and turned them into controllers of election outcomes. These governors not only turned the states into fiefdoms and farm houses, some of them continue to unleash incredible heists on their citizens to foot their greed avarice.
As Tinubu is set to appoint ministers to assist his administration in driving his dream of providing a renewed hope for our country, the president should avoid some of these governors whose divisiveness has driven Nigeria down the slippery slope of self-destruction. Also in the list of governors to be rejected are those who have plunged their states into irrecoverable foreign debt holes.
For some of the governors, whose only qualification to be included on the ministerial list is their long stay in the corridor of power; let their hope continue to be a mirage. Most of these governors left despairing footprints in their collateral powerlessness to uplift the living standards of their state citizens as they remain the butts of public cynicism on the prospect of how not to use the ballot government to work for the good of majority electorates.
President Tinubu should beware of those who play disruptive politics and are eternally afraid of being thrown into the pit of oblivion if they don’t make the ministerial list. These politicians, who are always in love with the klieg lights to boost their ego and for selfish interest, should not be included as ministerial nominees. Our president should be cautious of politicians who wake up drinking 40-year old whisky at public expense. Those who claim to have paid foreign terrorists to stop the decimation of Southern Kaduna communities and killing of innocent and defenceless citizens should no longer be allowed to occupy public office.
Trust is a huge burden, and anyone whose loyalty cannot be trusted should not be on the next ministerial list as public office is about trust. Professional politicians, who still have their eyes fixed on future presidential elections, should be totally avoided. Recycling these dead old woods into the next cabinet should never be contemplated at any level of government.
Some of these former governors, who were unable to tackle insecurity in their states, are quick to regale the public with several tales behind their embarrassing failures; President Tinubu should treat them with utter contempt and disdain. If they failed in the past to perform as governors, there is no assurance that they will act differently in the future by providing renewed hope for the citizens of a nation that is being threatened.
The past eight years have been horror-ridden for our traumatised citizens. Apart from the massacre of over 60,000 people across various parts of our nation, particularly Zamfara, Plateau, Kaduna, Benue, Katsina and Niger, among others, the subtle use of religion to compromise our collective unity became institutionalised.
What Nigeria needs now is the recruitment of our best technocrats and experts to assist the new government tackle security and developmental challenges that have festered for many years. President Tinubu should only appoint patriotic politicians who possess competence and not to recycle old faces that see public office as their birthrights in order to brighten their chances ahead of the next polls.
It is obvious that some of these former state executives and other professional politicians, who see politics as self-serving, have constituted themselves into an albatross. Appointing some of these governors is akin to giving them another opportunity to continue undermining the country and creating a platform for their survival. While serving as governors, they forgot where they were coming from as they violated valid judgements of the courts to punish and dehumanise the Nigerian people.
Democracy is globally recognised as the popular form of government that seeks the overall good above personal interest. In Nigeria, the government of the ballot has become the triumph of greedy politicians whose only objective is to perpetually dominate the political space for themselves and their cronies. The only way to save our democracy from the stranglehold of these political power-seekers is for President Tinubu to deny them and their Men Friday another opportunity to concretise their hold on power.