• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Nigerians set last hope on Tinubu’s cabinet

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Once again, it seems the scenario that played out during Muhammadu Buhari’s first tenure in 2015 is repeating itself.

Then, it took Buhari, the immediate past president, over five months to appoint his ministers and the delay negatively impacted the economy and every other aspect of the nation’s life.

Today, July 23, 2023, marks 56 days of Bola Tinubu in office as the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, amid delay in the appointment of his cabinet, whose impact is being felt across the country.

President Tinubu, who assumed office on May 29, 2023, is mandated by the Fifth Amendment to the Nigerian Constitution to submit the names of his ministerial nominees within 60 days of taking the oath of office for confirmation by the National Assembly.

In view of the provision of the constitution, President Tinubu has until Thursday July 27, 2023, to summit his ministerial nominees list, otherwise, he would be breaching the constitution.

As expected, Nigerians are anxiously waiting for the list with the hope that the new ministers will offer directions and initiate policies and projects that will alleviate the sufferings of the masses, which more than doubled since the assumption of office by the new president on May 29th, amid policies that have negatively impacted the lives of citizens and worsened the cost-of-living crisis in the country.

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“In 2015, a lot of our members were waiting for the appointment of the ministers to enable us see the direction of the government. The appointment finally came after five months of waiting and it turned out to be a disappointment. The negative effect of that delay is still being felt on the economy. So, President Bola Tinubu should know better and help us and the economy from total collapse,” Ejoor Finimah, a member of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, said.

The River State-born serial investor noted that the manufacturing sector has been overstretched by the inconsistencies of the policies of the government, especially bank interest rate, foreign exchange, inflation and low purchasing power, hence they need the government to truly hit the ground running by not delaying further in the appointment of the ministers.

“If we get quality people, industry-tested and passionate minds as ministers, they will make a difference.

“As ministers, they can influence policies, to the extent of changing or amending them, they are the ones that will implement policies and they have the budget and Mr. President’s ear. So, the relief we hope for can come from the ministers,” Finimah said.

Philip Udeala, a hotelier and member of Hotel Owners Forum of Abuja and Lagos Chamber of Commerce, said that early appointment of ministers is imperative to boost investor confidence, especially in the sustained battering of the economy, as well as, give foreign partners a ground to make quick decisions on foreign direct investment (FDI).

“We still depend largely on importation in the hospitality and aviation sectors, the forex challenge, biting inflation, maintainance of expatriates, payment for foreign franchise in hard currencies, repatriation of airline trapped funds among other issues are things that require a minster who the sectors can interface with, who can take decisions and not the civil servants,” Udeala said.

According to the hospitality investor, the economy is in a very bad shape now, and there is no need waiting longer to appoint ministers because the delay would also delay the recovery of the economy.

“It took Buhari over five months to appoint his ministers in 2015 and the economy suffered and is still suffering for it today. President Tinubu should learn from that mistake. He should send his nominees list to tye National Assembly now, and they should be quality personalities because he has had enough time for the selection. We need result-oriented ministers to kick start recovery in our economy. The time is now Mr. President,” he said.

Recognising the fact that choosing a cabinet in Nigeria is a complicated balancing act, Samuel Onikoyi, a Nigerian academia in Brussels, said that President Tinubu should have submitted his ministerial nominees list long ago for the obvious reasons.

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“He promised to hit the ground running in his inaugural speech, and he has been preparing to become president since his first term as governor of Lagos State. “So, I expected him to have assembled his team earlier in line with hiting the ground running pledge.

“The longer Nigerians wait for the list, the more their hope for qualified persons is dashed because the list is being adjusted every day, its submission is delayed,” Onikoyi said.

He fears that President Tinubu will bow to pressure from his party, those outside the party that helped him, and other vested interests in the selection of the nominees and hence the delay.

“Another challenge the President may be facing is how to maintain ethnic and religious balance. He is expected to appoint ministers from the 36 states. That is tough because the nominees may not be what he wants and the states are imposing them on him as their choice candidates,” he said.

Considering the untold sufferings in the land, Onikoyi said the President should send the nominees now and can always sack any of them he finds lacking in capacity to function as a minister.

However, some fear that the President may not meet the deadline of 60 days and that will amount to breaching the constitution.

“The constitution makes provision for necessary actions by the National Assembly if the president fails to submit the list after 60 days and the law cannot be amended within a week to the deadline. We hope he doesn’t breach the constitution because that will amount to testing the might of the National Assembly, which will definitely follow the constitutional requirements in such case,” Jonas Adokimi, a Lagos-based lawyer said.