WAITING FOR THE PRESIDENT’S TEAM

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The nation is suffering. President Buhari should name his cabinet

President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in for a second term last week at a ceremony that was remarkable for its curious omission: he broke tradition by not delivering an inaugural address. Even if the speech was shifted to June 12, the new Democracy Day, whatever Buhari says on that day cannot pass for a presidential inaugural address.

However, in the absence of an address to gauge the policy direction amid the pervasive sense of melanchony in the country, many Nigerians look up to the composition of a presidential team that will help fast-track the basic programmes of the administration and lift off the overriding gloom. There are strong grounds for the present worries. It took the president some six months in 2015 to form the former cabinet – a period during which many things that could go wrong actually went wrong, and reportedly affected the economy so adversely.

In addition, the under-performance of the administration was undoubtedly worsened by the undue delay and failure to constitute the governing boards of many of the parastatals that were meant to guide the implementation of policies tailored at engendering the much needed good governance. Some of the boards were constituted three years into the administration and some did not even come on stream before the first term ran out. In his second term, the country does not have that luxury of time. President Buhari must do everything to ensure that this time around, the nation is not taken through that ruinous trajectory.

Indeed, there is no reason why a second term president should not have a list of ministers in his drawer to be forwarded to the Senate within hours after it was inaugurated. President Buhari should by now know the ministers he would reappoint as well as the other competent and experienced people he will like to bring on board. It took the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, for instance, 72 hours of being sworn in to appoint his cabinet only recently. Shortly after that, Modi who also took the oath of office for a second term, like Buhari, announced an agenda complete with time lines. India is the world’s largest democracy with the second largest population and a complex and thriving economy.

It is therefore imperative for President Buhari to hurry up and reposition his administration for the urgent security and serious economic crises at hand. The security situation is degenerating on a daily basis. Only two days ago, a local government in Borno State reportedly fell back into the hands of Boko Haram insurgents. Other criminals of all hue are becoming more audacious, seizing and killing at will. Nigeria has become a state where anything goes, where life is cheap and where poverty is a way of life.

But the situation could be worsened if the administration takes its time, like it did in 2015 at the commencement of the first term. President Buhari cannot wait for June 12 or indefinitely for that matter to attend to these mounting problems. Even if we acknowledge the importance of the day, the nation is getting weary of preachments that are not backed by concrete actions.

President Buhari must move fast to address the issues for which he was re-elected.