Nigerians expect a remarkable change from President Muhammadu Buhari’s prospective cabinet and government, writes Olaseni Durojaiye
With the elections over and President Muhammadu Buhari certain of another four years on the driver’s seat of the world’s most populous black nation in the world since he has been returned by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigerians across different political divides and walks of life are already eager to know what shape the new Buhari government would take even as they expect a better performance than they had in the first tenure of the administration of the President.
Clearly, Nigerians deserve better than they have had thus far. And their expectations were not unfounded. Rather, the expectations were as a result of the promises made by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) while the party, then in opposition, campaigned to dislodge the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) going into the 2015 general election.
Even with the less than impressive overall performance of the government as critics of the administration continue to insist, that more Nigerians elected to entrust their votes with the government, signaled a conviction and hope for a better performance given a second term in office.
A good number of Nigerians that toed this line argued that four years was not enough to appropriately judge the work of the administration while other were swayed by the need for the government to be given time to complete some of the ongoing projects and programmes it initiated.
And now that the mandate has been renewed, the onus is now on President Buhari to rebuild the faith of Nigerians in the Nigeria project by running a dynamic and successful administration. Expectations in many quarters include the urgent need to strengthen state institutions that will midwife the new Nigeria that many have always wished for.
Given the many crises, some of which were avoidable, that characterised the administration, Nigerians now expect that the Buhari government would have taken appropriate lessons from the experiences of the last four years and hit the ground running this time around.
Nigerians expect the new cabinet and by extension government to have been composed and ready even before the May 29, inauguration, with assigned portfolios. What obtained in 2015, when it took the president over six months to constitute a cabinet will not be permissible this time around.
The argument that it took that long to form a cabinet, because of the rot it met on the ground would not hold water this time even among the staunchest supporters of the government on account of the fact that the government is merely continuing as such no handover rituals and if there was any, it would be at ministerial level and should not be a walk in the park.
Many political analysts, commentators and analysts are also eagerly waiting to see those, who would make the cabinet. On that score, the expectation of many Nigerians is that the new cabinet would be filled with technocrats and professionals in their fields. And where there is the need to bring in politicians, such characters must glow with sterling track records of accomplishments in their past public assignment and boast ideas that can move the nation forward.
A situation where about 70 per cent of the current cabinet is mere bench warmers would not be acceptable to Nigerians. Apart from a few like the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola; Minister of Trade and Investment, Mike Enelamah; Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu; Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and Minister of Health Prof. Isaac Adewole, not much has been heard or seen in terms of accomplishments on the part of other cabinet members.
For example, not much can be said to have happened in the work so far done to get the Ajaokuta Steel Complex to commence full operation since after the Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, who changed the face of the ministry quit as Minister of Solid Minerals Development. The same applies to the finance ministry after the exit of Kemi Adeosun. Going forward, Nigerians expect that every cabinet member must earn his stripe.
Nigerians will be immensely disappointed if the President takes another six months to come up with his cabinet and those who make the cut, in Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s speak are ‘ the same old politicians wey scatter Nigeria before .‘
Analysts insisted that the calibre of people that should make the new cabinet, whatever their calling must have the capacity to drive sustainable economic growth, job creation and ability to enhance good governance via delivery of tangible dividends of democracy to the mass of Nigerians and to a section of it.
Nigerians also look forward to seeing a synergy between the Executive and the Legislature. Interestingly, the APC is again in the majority in the National Assembly and it cannot be said that it has some enemy within as some commentators branded the outgoing Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
Again, enriched with the experiences of 2015, and having put its house in order as the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomole would want many to believe, the expectation is that the two arms of government will work in harmony and in real time too, and avoid some time wasting distractions that could deny Nigerians their expectations.
Matter-of-factly, all eyes will be on the legislature to see how it supports the ministry of Solid Minerals Development to resolve the funding requirement needed for the Ajaokuta Steel Complex to swing into 100 per cent operation. This is even so as findings show that the current legislature is not in support of the idea solution that was put forward by the ministry before now.
For the considerable support that President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo got from Nigeria, the duo must up their game in terms of securing the lives and property of Nigerians and everyone living in the country. In this regard, the twin issue of religious insurgency in the North-east and the corruption must be addressed appropriately.
Nigerians also expect that President Buhari would make security another major priority in his second term. This would include the incessant cases of banditry in some states in the North-west geo-political region, farmers and herders clashes as well as the religious insurgency in the North-east of the country.
The President will have to give the leadership of the nation’s security apparatus a matching order to up their game. The need for the Nigerian military to step up their game becomes all the more important given available intelligence report of a renewed threat in the North-east with the confirmation that the terror group, Islamic State West Africa has established its presence in the region.
Buhari’s administration must come up with a more lasting solution to the Boko Haram challenge and this will include a solution to the rut and financial malfeasance robbing the Nigerian military, believed to be ‘ill-equipped literally and institutionally’ of its gallantry and professionalism as being widely acclaimed during military interventions abroad.
Still on security, Nigerians will expect marked improvement in internal security. President Buhari must put an end to the incessant clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers which has resulted in hundreds of deaths particularly, in the North-central geo-political zone of the country.
This, of course, will require that the inter-agency rivalry between the nation’s security agencies becomes a thing of the past. The era of the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) or the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) being at each other’s throats or constantly trying to outshine one another must be consigned to the past even as intelligence sharing for the good of all should be the new mantra amongst the agencies, ditto for the armed forces in the fight against insurgency in the North-east.
In the final analysis, it is worth reiterating that fate has favoured President Buhari with a third chance to make good with Nigerians, rebuild the economy, strengthen state institutions and unify Nigeria behind the one Nigeria philosophy of the nation’s founding fathers, for the good of himself and all Nigerians.