• Sunday, July 14, 2024
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Tinubu’s team: Career politicians trump technocrats

Tinubu’s team

Five months after winning the February 25 presidential election and almost two months after he was sworn in for a four-year term, President Bola Tinubu is caught up in realpolitik as he finally unveiled a ministerial list with more politicians than technocrats.

On Thursday, Tinubu submitted a list containing 28 nominees to the upper chamber of the National Assembly for screening, with the names read on the floor by Senate President Godswill Akpabio.

But analysts who spoke to BusinessDay after the list was released said it is full of recycled politicians who might help him in the event of a rerun, expressing doubts that this set of ministers would take Nigeria to greater heights in the Tinubu era.

Checks by BusinessDay showed Tinubu’s first set of nominations is overshadowed by politicians including ex-governors, serving and former members of the Senate and House of Representatives, a development that has made analysts question the ability of the nominees to function actively.

Among the nominees are former governors Nyesom Wike (Rivers); David Umahi (Ebonyi); Nasri El-Rufai (Kaduna); and Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa). Umahi, who completed his two terms of four years each as governor on May 29, is now a serving senator.

Read also:  Nigerians react as Tinubu releases ministerial list without portfolios

“I’m not particularly enthusiastic because, if nothing else, I know two people on the list that appear to be a clear case of putting your worst foot forward. Well, there are still 14 or 15 more names to go, so we’ll see,” a senior analyst who pleaded anonymity told BusinessDay.

Other nominees are Abubakar Momoh (House of Representatives member); Yusuf Tukur (Nigeria’s ambassador to Germany); Wale Edun (economist); Ahmad Dangiwa (former CEO of Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria); Uche Nnaji (APC gubernatorial candidate 2023); Ekperipe Ekpo (former House of Representatives member); Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, (lawmaker, Ondo State), Bello Goronyo (zonal secretary, North-West of APC); Dele Alake (special adviser communication and strategy); Lateef Fagbemi (senior advocate of Nigeria), Muhammad Idris (publisher of Blueprint Newspapers), Adebayo Adelabu (former deputy governor of Central Bank of Nigeria), Joseph Usev, Abubakar Kyari (acting chairman of APC); John Enoh and Sani Abubakar.

Ali Pate, a physician and professor who resigned as head of the global vaccine alliance GAVI earlier this year, is also on the list of nominees. He is expected to be confirmed health minister, a post he held under President Goodluck Jonathan’s government a decade ago.

Twenty-five percent of the nominees are women while 75 percent are men. The women are Betta Edu, Doris Aniche Uzoka, Hannatu Musawa, Nkiru Onyeojiocha, Stella Okotete, Nkiru Onyeojiocha, Uju Kennedy Ohaneye and Iman Ibrahim.

Another analyst who spoke to BusinessDay raised concern about the absence of portfolios and the states represented by the nominees.

“After 59 days, nobody in the Office of the President could check the constitution and factcheck if this list meets the basic constitutional requirement of listing the ministerial names with state represented and portfolio,” another source said.

According to section 147(3) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, the “President shall appoint at least one Minister from each State, who shall be an indigene of such State.”

“I would have expected that the Chief of Staff would not let the letter go without these details and that the Senate President would quietly call the Villa and insist not only on these details but on the full list of 36 plus any others before formally accepting it and reading it out,” the source said.

Tinubu did say in March that he would assemble a team based on competence. He said that it was time for politics to take backstage for governance, adding that only those who shared his vision of good governance would make his blueprint for the nation attainable.

“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,” Tinubu said in March.

Commenting on the list, Shehu Sani, a former lawmaker and president of the Civil Rights Congress of Nigeria, said the president has embraced “some serpents with a known history of treachery and rewarded some vultures for playing the Judas”.

“Appeasing a snake in a palace doesn’t spare the King,” he tweeted.

BusinessDay gathered that the President was being careful not to offend some bigwigs within the party by rushing to form his cabinet.

“The economy cannot grow if we continue with the same template that has made us poor over the years,” Henry Luqman, senior economist of Cavazanni Human Capital Limited, said.

In the last eight years, the Nigerian economy has faced low growth, high unemployment rate and a widening inequality gap and thus requires targeted reforms of various sectors to achieve higher growth rates, analysts say.

On June 12, Tinubu asked Nigerians to painfully persevere and sacrifice a little more for the survival of the country few weeks after removing petrol subsidy and “For your trust and belief in us, I assure you that your sacrifice shall not be in vain.

The government I lead will repay you through massive investment in transportation infrastructure, education, regular power supply, healthcare and other public utilities that will improve the quality of lives,” he promised.

But findings showed he is running out of time.

For instance, plans have been made by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) for a nationwide strike that will start on August 2, 2023.

The congress stated it could not fold its arms while Nigerians continued to experience the impacts of subsidy removal, which has resulted in immense misery, despite the fact that a court injunction prohibiting the congress from going on strike in June still exists.

Chris Onyeka, one of the spokespersons of the NLC, told BusinessDay on Wednesday, that the Federal Government has frustrated labour out of negotiation on how best to address the hardships unleashed on Nigerians as a result of the petrol subsidy removal.

“Since the committee was set up to work out the palliatives for workers and Nigerians, the committee hasn’t met. The government only set up the committee to give the impression that it was serious about doing something to ameliorate the pain of Nigerians.

“The government hasn’t convened the meeting of the committee, labour hasn’t been carried along,” said Onyeka.