Are Buhari’s Ministers Old Wine In New Bottle?


By Idris Mohammed

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 can recall, President 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 on May 29, Nigerians were anxious or eager to see who is who to be on the list of ministerial nominees so as to assess their qualities and credibility’s whether the over echoed next level agenda will be realistic or not. 

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 cabinets’. There is a lot of criticism that rocked his first tenure particularly on ministers that handled the 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, many Nigerians though the status quo will be changed.

 Of course, the Buhari administration wants to address the myriad of problems that become a cog 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 the standard and may likely not deliver the much-talked “Next Level Agenda. Many political observers are visibly shocked and surprised at how Buhari could opt for people who have questionable characters.

 The appointment of some formers governors and senators who have milked their states dry and are under investigation of anti-corruption agencies raise the credibility question. How Buhari who abhors corruption can nominate such 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 from their communities’ due to corruption.

Previous administrations had tried and brought technocrats that performed wonderfully in their portfolios such as Nasiru ElRufai, Oby Ezykwesile, Shamsuddeen Usman, Ngozi Okonjo Eweala, late Professor Dora Akunyeli and many more.

Though many Nigerians are of the believed or opinion that the likes of Ali Pantami, Festus keyamo, and Sharon Ikpaza are brilliants and would shine in the Buhari’s second term.

 It is believed, these people are younger and have fresh ideas to drive the next level agenda of the present government.

Moreover, the way and manner with which the list was submitted without portfolios have robbed the policy analysts or experts the opportunities to know how the ministers will drive the policies direction of the government.

With the increase of numbers of the ministers, the ministry of power, housing and works need to be split and assign to the people that have good performance record to foster development.

 Education is at a lower ebb, security is one step forward and three-step backward,  corruption is everywhere and it makes the ministry of justice perform below expectation.

Many matters are required to be tackled in Nigeria and the challenges are numerous, but there is still 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 the concept and practice. By so doing, the potentialities of Nigeria will be fully harnessed and brought socio-economy development to the country.

Idris Mohammed is Public commentator and Programme Officer with CDD West Africa Abuja. He tweets @idpyar

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