The thing in cabinet dissolution

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The main objective for cabinet dissolution and subsequent reconstitution the world over is to weed out substandard or low-performing cabinet members on one hand and to strengthen the leadership by injecting fresh blood which would push the nation forward on the other.

One thing that is clear in Nigeria is that the demarcation between cabinet reconstitution and reshuffle is blurred. It is at most times hard to differentiate between when the cabinet is dissolved or reshuffled to score national or personal goal. From state to national leadership, these abstractions are displayed with utmost arbitration. A governor or president wakes up one day and discovers (in most cases is told by political gossips) of the infidelity of a member or few of the cabinet. He begins to initiate the process of sacking the member. But to make it look more decent, the whole cabinet will be dissolved.

When this is done, the gullible public is cajoled to believe that the action was taken in the interest of the masses. They are told to await fresh blood to be injected in the weak system to invigorate it. They are told that the best will soon come up and their lives will be changed with the new expected cabinet. This is where some governors or national leaders show affluence in word coinage. They choose the best words that will attract attention and impact conviction.

That is the way it has been in our politics. And lobbyists who are definitely not qualified to lead their families first, not to talk of their immediate society, would find their ways in the final list of the new cabinet to be announced. Here, three things are visible. One, the old political retirees are called back to continue with the messing of the nation's image. Or ninety-nine percent of the dissolved cabinet members are brought back to complete the robbing of the people's fortune. Or the two mentioned above grab half of the membership for each.

The explanations that will be given are mainly twofold. “We have found that the allegations on corrupt practices leveled against Mr. This, Mrs. This, Dr. This and Barr. That were baseless and out of malice. Therefore, we have decided to bring them back to continue to serve the good people of this land in good spirit. We call on those causing trouble to sheathe their swords, embrace peace and allow them to work”. This will be in defense of those who could not offer any thing to the people but who will be, against the general interest of the people, retained and maintained or enforced on the people.

The other explanation will read, “ We have searched the length and breadth of this land and we have been unable to find any better citizens who could handle these hallowed positions than these …. They have served the people at different levels with utmost dedication and selflessness. They have, over the years of serving the people, acquired the experiences that cannot be equaled to any. So, we find them worthy for appointments.”

With these excuses and explanations going round and round, the recycling of political appointees makes it difficult for us to progress. How can on mother earth, a human being with limited powers believe that without a single and one person the whole fortune of a people will be worthless. Who is so mean in thought and psyche to be coaxed into believing that an experienced and exposed young man cannot perform in the capacity of an elder in any field of human endeavour?

How many young citizens are outside there who can help in moving this country forward, but they cannot be called merely on the grounds that they are young and how many old and weak citizens have been in government since the creation of Nigeria especially after the so-called independence? For the sake of God and humanity, how long will it take us to get it right for the posterity to feel the impact of their God-given blessings of which they are conspicuously denied?

The recent dissolution of the federal cabinet and the list of those expected honourable ministers forwarded by the Acting President to the Senate for confirmation clearly authenticate this claim. One is put to wonder how the issue of appointing Nigerians into highly placed political offices has unfortunately been reduced to family affairs. Considering the situation we are and which demands the utilization of citizens with tested and trusted qualities, the list speaks against the majority.

The list is a reflection of history. It is a reflection that Nigeria is owned only by the people who owe nothing to Nigerians. The people work or say serve without the least responsibility to the masses. They serve for many years, then step aside for a scanty number of years or months and then resurface. This is a colonial cycle that the patriots of Nigeria have to oppose vehemently. This is colonialism in disguise. It is internal suppression of the people's will.

The twist of this colonialism is that once a person has been a minister, it becomes a label that makes him or her relevant throughout his or her life, despite the failures in most of the ministerial organization, operation and functionalities. As a Nigerian politician believes, the trouble is only over the means to join the leadership train. Once he succeeds, performance is never a yardstick to remain on the corridor of power. It is political gangsterism against Nigerians.

How in a country of over one hundred and fifty million people, a person for instance will be moving from one ministry to the other or holding one appointment or the other, as if the country is a Kingdom or an emirate where only family members are constitutional eligible for positions? This should change and this time, it is for the Acting President to move from the business as normal syndrome and make a history for himself for future generation. He has been good luck and events of recent times have proved that God has been on his side.

For Nigerians, if truly writers represent the wider opinion of a large percentage of humanity, there lie these suggestions on how to reconstitute the new federal cabinet. Five qualities are to be considered. Patriotism, discipline, contentedness, educational and social records not political/party, and finally religiosity which carries a lot of other good qualities. On these, I can bet that Jimeta in Yola of Adamawa State has a very wonderful child who has incredibly raised the status of a religious Commission based in Abuja to an enviable one in the international rating. I can vouch that Nigeria will have a plus administrative power with these type of citizens who do not want to be heard but who do what pleases God and man. Another is an illustrious son of Anofia in Ebonyi State who labours for the minority in Ja'matu Nasril Islam (JNI) and Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA).

Again, apart from Professor Dora Akunyili and three others, there could be no tangible reason to employ the services of those who keep to grow fatter and fatter on the treasury of Nigeria with very insignificant or no return. There are names that have brought misfortune and hardship to Nigerians. There are names that have failed to recognize the glaring fact that serving the people is a privilege and a great burden that must be accounted for before man and God. But as I have always maintained, let the real patriots continue to pray and act within the provisions of our national guiding document – our constitution. One day, one by one as we part this hollow transient life, we will look at history and smile or weep.

Muhammad Ajah, a writer, author, advocate of good governance and humanity writes from Abuja ([email protected] uk)

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Articles by Muhammad Ajah