The unveiling of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s ministerial list is unarguably one of the most keenly awaited developments in the country, not only by Nigerians at home, but in the diaspora.
There are indications that the ministerial list would be unveiled after the holiday on Thursday.
The ministerial, which will contain the names of the individuals listed by the president to lead various ministries, is a critical component of the President’s vision for the country, and the expectations of Nigerians are indeed very high.
Nigerians say that they are expecting a new cabinet capable to tackle insecurity, corruption, and bring economic development. They say Nigeria needs competent individuals with a track record of success in their respective fields to drive progress and development.
Many of them that spoke said that they are hopeful that President Tinubu’s choices will reflect Nigeria’s diversity and inclusivity, and that the new ministers will be able to tackle the many challenges facing the country.
One of the respondents, Segun Awosanya, an institutional reforms advocate, popularly known as Segalinks, said that he’s been impressed by the decisiveness exhibited by the Tinubu administration.
According to Awosanya, a rights activist and founder of the Social Intervention Advocacy Foundation (SIAF), Nigeria’s next set of ministers must possess qualities like competence, experience, integrity, vision, teamwork, innovativeness and ability to communicate.
He said, “There are several qualities that one can consider as critical for the ministers in a developing economy like Nigeria and under the new administration of Ahmed Bola Tinubu, some of which include- competence. The ministers should be very competent in their areas of responsibility, possessing the skills, knowledge and experience required to perform their duties effectively, not about cronyism, or religion.
“Number two is experience. Ministers who have experience working in government or in the relevant sectors that will enable them to understand the challenges facing the country and develop appropriate policies to address them.
“The job of a minister is not as commanding as one would think. A minister is a visionary, somebody who carries the vision of the administration into a sector which he has been appointed to guide the bureaucrats. The permanent secretaries and other officials in the ministry will always be there, but they need a visionary in that sector, to guide them, and even create impactful reforms.
“So the experience to do that is very essential. Ministers are not people who share money, in fact, they don’t even touch money and they should be there to feather their own nests.
“Another important factor is Integrity. Our ministers must have high moral character and have a track record of honesty, transparency and accountability. If you bring somebody, simply because the person funded your election, you will ruin the beliefs, trusts, hearts and minds that have been won during the elections.
“Bringing in people with questionable characters dampens the morale of the people. If you want to destroy any country, you divide the country and Nigeria is already divided. So the job is half done. The situation is that any little thing can throw the country into chaos. So the government should be very wary in making certain decisions.
“The next is that the ministers must have a clear vision for the country and be able to articulate the roadmap for achieving development goals based on the vision of the commander in chief.
“They must have digested the policy, plans and programs of Mr. President enough to break it down into crucibles, that are swallow-able enough for the bureaucrats to create their tactics and roadmap through which they will deliver that promise to Nigerians.
“The president cannot be all over the place. It is the minister that would carry that vision to specific areas and ensure that the people are reached based on the promises created.
“Five, is team work. It is very essential because we would like to have a scenario where the ministers would see themselves as part of a whole and work with synergy towards achieving a common goal.
“The six is results-oriented. Nigerians need result oriented ministers, not people looking for where to resign. They should be focused on achieving results and be willing to be held accountable for their performance.
“Seven is innovation. President Tinubu must not recruit deadwoods, or people wearing agbada, bragging that they own the government. We want ministers that are open to new ideas and be willing to embrace innovative approaches to addressing challenges facing the country. Without innovation, we’re not going anywhere. So if there are no innovative people in the list of ministers, then they should better look at their list again.
“The last for me is communication. Our next ministers should be effective communicators. They must be able to articulate policies and engage with the public stakeholders and the media.
“Ministers must not keep malice with the people. Because every time there’s a gap, you will leave room for mischievous people to fill it with gossip and lies, and you will start reacting.
“Nobody wants a reactive government; we want a proactive government which will have the trust of the people, and which will make us see the essence of our coming together.”
Another respondent, Prince Saviour Iche, national president of the Association of Micro Entrepreneurs of Nigeria (AMEN), also urged President Tinubu to appoint experienced technocrats to sensitive positions.
“Government should appoint someone with a business background that would listen to manufacturers’ complaints as the minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, and not bring in a lawyer or engineer to head the ministry,” he said.
Also, Alhaji Rasheed Awofeso, a social worker of the Child and Community Response Initiative (CCRI) said he expects a ministerial list that would be composed of capable personalities, brimming with ideas on how to tackle the myriad of challenges facing Nigerians.
“One of the major challenges facing Nigeria is insecurity,” he told The Press Nigeria.
“The country has been grappling with the Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast for over a decade, which has led to the displacement of millions of people and the loss of thousands of lives.
“In addition, banditry and communal clashes have been on the rise in other parts of the country, leading to further loss of lives and property.
“The expectations of Nigerians are that the new ministers will have the necessary expertise and experience to address these security challenges and bring lasting peace to the country. There is also a hope that the new cabinet will be able to tackle corruption, which has been a major issue in Nigeria for decades.
“Another major expectation is that the new ministers will be able to stimulate economic growth, create jobs, and reduce poverty. Nigeria’s economy has been recovering from a recession, and there is a need for the government to take steps to ensure sustained economic growth and development.
“There is also a need to address issues of infrastructure development, healthcare, education, and agriculture. These are all areas that require urgent attention, and Nigerians are hoping that the new ministers will be able to make significant progress in these areas,” Awofeso added.
The removal of subsidy and the devaluation of the naira, are a few of the policies that have increased the cost of living.
And on that backdrop, Chamberlain Etukudoh, a director at the Youth Alive Foundation (YAF), lamented the harsh effect of some of these policies on the Nigerian youths.
He then stressed on the need for the government to give priority in appointing the best hands in youth-related portfolios like the ministries of human affairs and youths/sports to cushion the effect of the hard times on the youths.
“Nigerians are already at a boiling point. This is because unemployment and underemployment would continue to spike in a few months’ time if nothing is done. So I expect the government to prioritise key ministries like Humanitarian Affairs and Youths/Sport to harness and tackle some of the challenges the youths are facing”.
Oluwaseun Ogedengbe, an Akure based actor and activist had this to say: “I am not too happy with this government, because we all know that they are operating on a stolen mandate and I pray the judiciary doesn’t get compromised.
“I pray they rule in the fear of God and in the interest of the many masses and youths that came out to vote on February 25. However, since we have a country to run, I would want the President to consider competence in making his appointment.
“One of the problems of the Nigeria government system is putting round pegs in square holes; the last government made sensitive appointments that were strange to Nigerians. For example, what is the background of the people that served as youth and sports ministers, even the education minister knows little or nothing in the portfolio he got.
“We don’t want to see people holding three portfolios when he can’t do one job. Buhari gave a lawyer sensitive portfolios like power, works and housing. There are ministries that should be manned by technocrats. This government must not make that mistake,” he said.