Unlike what transpired during the almost eight-year rule of President Muhammadu Buhari where nepotism and incompetence appear to be the order of the day, the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has hinted of his readiness to constitute a government of national competence. Adedayo Akinwale writes
The February 25, 2023 presidential election has been won and lost, but the hues and cries by those that felt aggrieved are still very much loud and they’ve headed to court.
Ironically, both the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, who came second in the contest and his Labour Party counterpart, Peter Obi, who came third, are both laying claims to have won the election.
They have told whoever cares to listen that they were robbed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Although, the electoral umpire assured before the February 25th election that results would be transmitted from polling units to INEC Results Viewing (IReV) Portal. That was not to be, as no result was transmitted on the day of election due to technical glitches according to the electoral body.
This unfortunate incident has overshadowed most of the surprises recorded during the elections due to the use of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) introduced by INEC. For example, President Muhammadu Buhari lost his home state of Katsina to PDP, the president -elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu lost Lagos to LP, same as the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Abdulahi Adamu who also lost Nasarawa to Labour Party, among others.
Be that as it may, a cursory look at the voting pattern showed that while Obi would have kept depleting the votes of the PDP, he may not have the much needed spread to emerge the president of the country even if the election is re-conducted.
Expectedly, the aggrieved Presidential candidates have headed to court to challenge the outcome of the presidential election that produced Tinubu of the APC as the president in-waiting.
To Tinubu, a fair, credible election had been held and won, and the honor of the victory and the steep responsibility it entails has fallen on him. He said why he was not out to gloat or boast because there was no room for such behavior, he merely stated the facts as they are.
Moreso, he noted that it was not unnatural for Atiku and Obi to have voiced their dissatisfaction by going to court to contest the election. He said this act was inherent in the democratic process.
Nevertheless, while they exercise the legal rights afforded them in democracy, Tinubu noted that he has set his course and mind on the leadership of this nation. He said he has important work to do and was committed to getting that work done for the benefit of all the people, whether or not they voted for him or even voted at all.
Unfazed by the legal tussle ahead, Tinubu assured that in selecting his government, he would not be weighed down by considerations extraneous to ability and performance. As far as he was concerned, the day for political gamesmanship was long gone.
He acknowledged that while there had been talks of a government of national unity, his aim was much higher because he would priortise a government of national competence.
Consequently, he reiterated that he would assemble competent men and women and young people from across Nigeria to build a safer, more prosperous Nigeria.
Tinubu noted: “As your incoming president, I accept the task before me. There has been talk of a government of national unity. My aim is higher than that. I seek a government of national competence. In selecting my government, I shall not be weighed down by considerations extraneous to ability and performance. The day for political gamesmanship is long gone.
“I shall assemble competent men and women and young people from across Nigeria to build a safer, more prosperous and just Nigeria. There shall be young people. Women shall be prominent. Whether your faith leads you to pray in a church or mosque will not determine your place in government. Character and competence will.
“To secure our nation and to make it prosperous must be our top priorities. We cannot sacrifice these goals to political expediency. The whims of politics must take a backseat to the imperatives of governance.”
If Tinubu’s antecedent is anything to go buy, his ability in spotting talents is never in doubt. The examples abound during his time as the governor of Lagos state. Most of his cabinet members are presently dictating the pace at the federal level and making their mark.
For instance, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was a University lecturer before he was made the Attorney General of Lagos state when he was the governor.
The current Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola was a lawyer before he was made part of government when Tinubu was the Governor of the Centre of Excellence.
Similarly, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Muhammed was Tinubu’s Chief of Staff, Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola was his Commissioner for Works, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele was his aide; former Governor of Ekiti state, Kayode Fayemi and the current Governor of Lagos state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, among others, were all his mentees.
“We have families to feed not just to eliminate hunger but to nurture enlightenment, civic responsibility and compassion. We have jobs to create not merely to put people to work but to afford all a better standard of living by which families and communities are improved and democracy deepened. We have water to replenish not just to quench physical thirst but to ignite a thirst for creative and better solutions to society’s challenges. We have a nation to protect such that we eliminate danger and even the fear of danger.
“An important step toward restoring economic normalcy has been taken by the Supreme Court’s decision on the parity of old and new notes.
This restores both the rule of law and economic decency. But this is not the end of the story. It is merely the beginning of a more comprehensive solution to our economic challenges,” Tinubu noted.
Without doubt, in constituting his government, youth and women will participate actively. It however remains to be seen if women would be given 35 percent affirmative action in his government.
What is certain is that unlike what was witnessed in the government of President Muhammadu Buhari where cabinet members were not kept on their toes and non-performing cabinet members are eulogised rather than being shown the way out will not be a norm in the incoming administration.
This is because the in-coming president understands the enormous task ahead and there is no room for trial and error or failure If his government is to make any impact.
As a democrat, Tinubu acknowledged the strong showing of new parties in the 2023 elections. He wondered why the critics of Nigeria were too quick to conclude that the country’s political system was fragmented because of the impressive showing of new parties and their candidates.
He was of the view that these critics are wrong, because he believed that the emergence of the new parties and their candidates underscores the dynamic strength of the nation’s democracy.
According to him, people want democracy to work and they want to have their voices heard and interests met within it. This is a good thing to be promoted, not something to be feared. What must concern us is not the growth of parties but the regrowth of old prejudices and bigotries such as ethnicity, creed and place of origin.
Without doubt, Tinubu may not have been the choice of some people due to the precarious situation the country has found itself in the hands of the APC-led federal government, because the belief of most Nigerians is that the president-elect was part of the old order that brought the country to its present state. On the other hand, Nigeria does not need a messiah or a saint to set it on the path of prosperity. Tinubu might as well be coming at the right time, beecause It takes someone who understands the system, who has profited from the system to fix the system.