Opinion: Federal Cabinet Nigerians Desire, By Kola Amzat

Storms in diverse forms that have gathered against Asiwaju Bola Tinubu presidency over the years seem over. Indeed, they’ve gone into oblivion. The vociferous voices of those clamoring for interim government are already drowned.

The enemies of democratic order who were dangling carrots at military top brass to halt the consolidation of nation’s democratic governance through their frantic efforts at frustrating the swearing in of Bola Tinubu, a democratically elected president have met a brick wall.

The remnants of the evil forces who collaborated with the then military top hierarchy to annul the 1993 presidential election won by Chief MKO Abiola suddenly discovered that they’re all alone in their quest to truncate this impending new government scheduled to berth from May 29, 2023. In-fact, the members of that group have been totally left in the cold.

Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), an ex-governor, Lagos state and incumbent Minister of Works recently affirmed during a Channel TV interview that over years, Tinubu political trajectory has been very rough and that, if he has survived those titanic battles deliberately constructed on his path to stardom, then, Nigeria is on the threshold of amazing turn-around in all facets, and according to him, this may be for-ever.

Asiwaju Tinubu seems to have crossed the Rubicon. Nigerians know who he is. We’re aware of his huge antecedents. Already in the public domain are his huge past achievements, especially as Lagos State governor. His enduring developmental blue-print that has put Lagos on the global map is widely acknowledged. His touch of Midas that turned Bar–Beach around from being a monster to a Treasure called Atlantic City, being sought after by all and sundry remains a mirage. His amazing LCDAs initiative that has produced cities within Lagos mega city remains a wonder to behold! Of course, his uncommon political model that has ensured continuity and stability of governance in the last two decades in the state would continue to confound all and sundries.

But, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is now in a new world entirely. Provident has carried him into a big ocean. He is about to be inaugurated as President, Federal Republic of Nigeria comes May 29, 2023 to start super-intending on the national tasks which are onerous in all respect.

Despite the enormity of the tasks ahead, we’re however confident and convinced in the capacity and capability of president-elect to deliver; but he needs men of valor, with patriotic zeal, discerning minds & spirits, undoubted resourcefulness, undiluted loyalty, total dedication and more importantly, men of character who share the president-elect’s dream and vision for new Nigeria.

Of course, Nigeria needs Attorney General and Minister of Justice who will patriotically partners with the president in his overall aspirations for the entire country, as well as conducts the business of government in a most transparent, credible and less-controversial manner.

The occupier of the office must also be able to seamlessly connect with Nigerian Bar Association and other relevant professional bodies, as well as Nigerian people with a view to attracting goodwill of citizenry unto the government. Without a shadow of doubt, Asiwaju Tinubu needs massive goodwill of Nigerians to navigate through particularly in this difficult times.

The president-elect must do everything humanly possible to avoid an Attorney General and Minister of justice in the mold of the outgoing one who embodies controversy in its highest. He got involved in so many questionable deals so much that generality of Nigerians clamored for his ouster. How he survived the axe remains a mystery! He pitched Nigerians against President Buhari government in many instances like the currency redesign policy, Paris Club debt that involved governors and Ned Nwoko. The Minister remains a dominant force in Aso Villa Cabal. Asiwaju Tinubu must therefore be circumspect in making appointment into that all important office. We abhor anything that would constitute stumbling block for the president-elect to deliver on his promises to Nigerians.

The new Minister of Finance must of necessity be a character with charisma and imposing figure and vast knowledge of economy and finance. It’s also of essence that he must be reasonably popular in the nation financial sphere in order to command the respect of major players in the financial sector.

Of course, I would advocate for a Minister of Finance that would be able to exercise some control over the Central Bank Governor on behalf of the president, even despite the provisions of CBN Act that gave CBN governor reasonable independence. Nigerians need a Minister of Finance that would continually lead the government economic team including CBN governor to the national assembly if there are issues to be addressed on the overall economy, and to other international fora.  

We also crave the indulgence of the President-elect that, the nation would achieve optimally Budget and Planning is allowed to stand alone as a ministry. While the iconic politician was in charge of Lagos, he opted for Ben Akabueze to manage the state budget and finance. In the last eight years, the man has been in charge of national budget and he hasn’t disappointed. With vast experience that Ben has garnered over years in this field, there exists no doubt in our mind that he’s in good stead to run the ministry without supervision.

Ministry of Power is another that president-elect must be very thoughtful and exercise maximum restraint before making appointment there. With the confusion that has enveloped this ministry within the last couple of years, it’s crystal clear that the new occupier must not be a “run of the mill appointment”. Besides being enormously professional on power issues, the new office holder must be firm, decisive, and vibrant and more importantly be prepared to step on toes in order to halt the cycle of failures that have long associated with the ministry. The present model of power generation, power distribution and marketing is not working at all. There must be a new order. In-fact, the ministry is one of success factors in Tinubu presidency.

The huge turn-around the nation is expecting in industrial sector is anchored on the power sector. The expected rebound in SMEs is dependent on the sector. Indeed, the Nigerian quest to launch into the midst of the global power brokers majorly anchor on this ministry. It’s imperative we must get it right. This writer would suggest Mallam El-Rufai, Bartholomew Nnaji or Donald Duke to take charge of this ministry.

The occupier of ministries of Solid Minerals, as well as Agricultures must also command the serious attention of the president-elect. The two ministries are fundamentals in the nation quest for diversification of the economy from oil & gas resources.

The new helmsmen in these ministries must as a matter of necessity be pragmatic, innovative and deliberate in ensuring that, indeed, our nation moved away from monoculture economy. While making appointments into these offices, the brief of the new helmsman must be specific and precise that they’re essentially in the office to ensuring that the economy of the nation is diversified and that they would majorly be assessed on the basis of that KPIs.

Work and Housing Ministry also remain one of the fundamentals of the economic growth and development, as it’s responsible for the linkage of all the nooks & crannies of the country together. President Buhari through Minister Babatunde Raji Fashola has done remarkably well in this ministry, but there are still several hundreds of kilometers to cover in terms of roads construction, as well as many bridges to be built. So, the country needs a new minister in the mold of the incumbent minister to continue the rally. It’s instructive to note that BRF has been purposeful, resourceful, diligence and would obviously be leaving a big void that would be difficult to fill by his successor.

As a ministry that is expected to drive the president-elect’s quest for new set of ICT entrepreneurs in the mold of Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, it’s important that the next helmsman in this ministry is not only sufficiently vast in this modern phenomenon but, also contemporary with unfolding issues in ICT around the globe. It’s also ideal that the would-be Minister must be able to connect with the nation teeming youth population. The outgoing Sports and Youth Minister, Sunday Dare is highly recommended for this assignment.

Without doubt, Nigeria is in dire need of new foreign policy that would launch her into international prominence. Our nation is an African power house and major force in international arena, but, a deliberate attempts to project this image to the global community is lacking.

We need a foreign affairs Minister with charisma, imposing personality, sufficient knowledge, as well as dynamics of international politics to play this role admirably well. The new occupier of the office must be able to positively project Nigeria and locates her conspicuously in the world map where she rightly belongs. This would significantly help our economy. This would also attracts global investors into our capital market and industrial sector. It would ultimately give Nigeria and teeming population desire leverage in the international sphere.

In the last 10 years, Nigeria and her people have been ravaged by bandits, insurgents, Boko Haram, kidnappers and other criminalities. The combinations of these have also brought the nation to her knees.                                                                                         

Turmoil, pains and tribulations have been companions of many homes. In all these years, it’s quite apparent that the package of interventions by the federal government has not been potent enough to draw curtains on the challenges.

Military solution are been constantly deployed. Sheik Gumi might have collected billions of Naira from federal and state governments as ransom for the dreaded kidnappers to release captives. Also, amnesty initiative of federal government to these criminals has produced little or no result.

The President-elect must devise a package of new initiatives to combat the scourge of criminalities around the country. This new dimension must be led by a new Minister of defense who must as a matter of necessity be ruthless, decisive, dogged, as well as scientific & tactical in approach in rescuing the entire nation and her people from those who have held her at jugular over years, thus frustrating local and foreign investors from making Nigeria their investment destination, as well as constantly causing panic for the citizenry.

Interior Ministry also must be rescued from trial by error model adopted run it by the incumbent Minister. For the better of his tenure, Rauf Aregbesola is largely distracted. While he runs the ministry with one eye, the other eye is constantly in Osun state where he always struggle to control the state with the incumbent governor. He’s also too combative and this majorly hindered the effective coordination of the ministry.

The President-elect must therefore identify a purposeful, result-oriented Nigerian with high level of maturity, as well as excellent leadership skills that could manage the heads of very important Agencies and Departments in the ministry like Customs & Excise, Immigration, NSCDC etc. This ministry would be too important for the realization of vision and dreams of the new government to be allowed to be manned by a character who the president-elect and Nigerians could not vow for his emotional and psychological stability.

Over years, Ministry of Niger Delta has always been enveloped by corruption and sleaze so much that the objective for which the ministry was created has largely been defeated. Trillions of Naira have gone un-accounted for. Virtually all the helmsman who have been privileged to be in charge of the ministry at various times were culpable.

But, the time has come for a paradigm shift. It’s an auspicious time to draw curtains on happenings there in the past and face the future with a measure of hope. The eagle eye of our new president must be able to identify a character of repute, with large dose of integrity and trusted & tested past public service capable of instituting regime of probity, accountability and sanity into the ministry and ultimately ensure that the Niger Delta Region not only comes alive in terms of infrastructural development, but the zone indeed assume the role of Treasure base of our dear country.  

With all the aforementioned taken care of, it’s safe to submit that our journey to renaissance Nigeria might have begun in earnest and this may afford generality of Nigerians to come to the realization of the fact that, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is indeed a blessing to this country .                               

Kola Amzat (FCA)




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