In the words of Abraham Lincoln, one of the greatest and most quotable American Presidents ‘The worthiness of life is deep-rooted in sacrifice to mankind. If one dies in the process, he becomes a martyr’. This however has provoked the agitation for credible ministers as the nation awaits President Muhammed Buhari’s soonest. Notwithstanding, we need men and women who could make sacrifice.
Indeed real sacrifice. Under normal circumstances, no one would have expected the search for credible cabinet ministers by the Buhari administration to have generated this level of controversy in our country, but then these are unusual times.
Opinions of course, vary on the seeming delay in constituting the cabinet by the Buhari administration. But we would prefer not to join issues with either side of the divide, instead we rather prefer to focus our searchlight on factors that should guide the President in constituting a cabinet of credible ministers that would deliver on good governance. Although we are convinced in taking the debate on this direction given the fact that the President had assured that the cabinet would be constituted this month which is here with us.
There is therefore the need to give the President the benefit of the doubt and sue for greater understanding on the part of the populace. President came into office with a clear agenda on anticorruption, security, economy and infrastructure.
Clearly, only those who could deliver on these agenda need be considered. Therefore, one fundamental factor that cannot be compromised in the Constitution of the cabinet is the issue of competence, character and capacity. Persons who are willing to key into the change agenda of the administration are required to drive the process.
Secondly, it is important to enlist the services of compatriots with impeccable track records and antecedents. These include those with credibility who are not lacking in integrity, honesty and ethical dealings in all their private and official transactions.
It is clear that persons in this category cannot be found on the platform of political parties alone, the belief being that such credible people are scattered across political parties, professional groupings, private organisations and in all strata of the society including outside the shores of Nigeria. The search for these elements must therefore cover the entire field believing that the Nigerian project is a collective enterprise requiring the services of the best hands wherever such talents may be found. It is this realization that can deliver on the quality outcomes required by the change agenda. The other issue that should be noted is that talents abound in all the geo-political zones of the country and no particular geo-political zone has a monopoly of these human resources.
Consequently, the searchlight to discover these best hands must be extensive, balanced and reflect the type of federal character that would give every entity within the Nigerian federation a sense of belonging. This will be in furtherance of the President’s commitment at his inauguration when he said ‘I belong to nobody and I belong to everybody’. The President should walk the talk on this fervent commitment of cohesiveness and all-inclusiveness which he made on national television.
Although it is needful to key into Buhari’s promise not to appoint persons who are ‘hostages’ and heavily compromised as ministers, the President cannot afford to be polluted by persons who do not have his record of discipline, integrity and incorruptibility. In this regard, we are lucky, the Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) is already of that orientation and pedigree. The few appointments the President has so far made also agree with his credentials of high integrity and ethical standards.
However, the tempo must be sustained throughout the cabinet. Persons with the right attitude are required since attitude is everything. It would also seem that the President would require a balanced mix of politicians and technocrats in constituting the cabinet focusing mainly on knowledge, experience, exposure and integrity. This is not the time to give jobs to the ‘boys’ but time to allow appointments to reflect overall national interests. It is important to note that these are unusual times.
Times such as these require the services of great thinkers, people of foresights who can think ahead of time and who are gifted not only with the power of ideas but also the power of action and those with abilities to galvanize the power of action and ideas into evolving result oriented policies for the transformation of the society. More than ever before, these are men and women required now to take our country to the next level. Taking the country to the next level requires persons who could see beyond the day’s crisis and who are imbued with vision, the indispensable quality of leadership.