TECHNOCRATS DOMINATE MINISTERIAL APPOINTMENTS
The recent dissolution of Executive Council of the Federation (EXCOF) by Acting President Goodluck Jonathan has received mixed feelings by Nigerians. For investors or operators in the private a sector the cabinet shakeup offers an opportunity to introduce technocrats who have the expertise to run technical sectors of the economy and deliver timely dividend to citizens.
Such sectors include the energy, oil & gas, finance, works, housing, aviation, telecommunication and transport. Given the constraint of time for Jonathan (barely one year left) there is no need to bring on board politicians who would require some time to understudy a specific ministry before comprehending issues and taking decisive actions to salvage the situation. As a people, we have already lost so much time in the last three years and it is very evident that the majority of the people are greatly dissatisfied with government performance so far.
The type of cabinet we need is one that should involve young, enterprising, experienced and patriotic Nigerians. There is no need experimenting or recycling old politicians who come on board believe that without them Nigeria cannot move forward. One of the problems of the energy sector is that it has suffered from several policy summersaults in the last two decades; trends that have affected the sector negatively resulting in the perennial fuel scarcity and electricity outages.
Every new minister comes with a different agenda, discarding previous ones and the casualties are often the Nigerian people. And let me list just two ministries which I consider very critical and where we don't need to effect changes now - there are others too.
My personal belief is that if for any reason our Acting President has to drop the former Petroleum Minister, Rilwan Lukam, based on public outcry over his being 'over recycled' or anti-Niger Delta stance, then there is no better alternative than Mr. Odein Ajumogobia, erstwhile Minister of State for Petroleum, an indigene of the Niger Delta, who also had the privilege of serving in the cabinet in the last three years, and has a firm grasps of the issues surrounding the ongoing reforms of the oil and gas industry. This ministry does not require an entirely new person or a fresh experiment; it takes us backward.
The same with Dora Akunyili in Communications and Information. Dora, has started a lofty programme of rebranding the country in the eyes of the world and no matter how we criticize her, we have to acknowledge that she was making a great statement in her project and there is need to continue that project. An analysis of the foreign media portrayal of Nigeria during the Faruk Abdulmutalab failed bombing of an American airline and the Jos crisis makes a strong case for the resuscitation of the rebranding case. The next one year offers an opportunity for Nigerians to redefine her values in the eyes of the international community, restore investors' confidence and boost patriotism among citizens and I doubt if any one would fault the fire and passion Dora injected into the project.
Acting President Goodluck Jonathan currently enjoys a goodwill never recorded in contemporary times for any Nigerian leader. He therefore has to be very wary of the caliber of persons he brings into his cabinet because whatever gains or failures he records would largely be a function of the ministers he appoints; and he has limited time to make the required impact in the lives of an already disillusioned citizens.
•Ibiyemi, National Coordinator of Grassroots Volunteers, wrote from Lagos. 08054005759