Tinubu’s Cabinet of National Competence between Politics and Expertise (1)

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The newly elected President of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has started getting the attention of Nigerians as the countdown to the commencement of his administration draws nearer.

Bola Ahmed Tinubu who won the 2023 Presidential election with over 8 million votes is slated to take over from President Muhammadu Buhari on the 29th of May 2023.

The conclusion of the Buhari-led administration has left a lot of Nigerians angered with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) resulting from the ill-conceived policies of Naira and Fuel scarcity. Despite these challenges, Tinubu cruised to victory based on the faith of Nigerians in his “Renewed Hope” agenda and coincidentally, the division of the opposition parties.

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While Tinubu’s victory came with the faith of 8 million voters, over 12 million Nigerians that participated in the elections did not vote for him.


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And aside from the fact that he won, he now faces the herculean task of repairing the image of the APC and living up to the expectations of those that trusted him with their votes.

Among the biggest challenges that the incoming President will encounter is the choice of his Ministers – the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

Tinubu’s predecessor (by May 29, 2023), President Buhari, was highly unpredictable with the choice of his Ministers. While he appointed some brilliant administrators such as Babatunde Fashola of Works, he also appointed some “not-so-good” Ministers such as Chris Ngige of Labour and Employment.

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While Fashola charged his Ministry to work, Chris Ngige charged his Ministry to fight an endless war with ASUU and many other Labour unions.

In the 8-year term of President Buhari, it was clear that Ministerial positions are majorly shared as compensation to political gladiators with the factors of competence based on sheer luck. Tinubu, on the other hand, seems to have seen this anomaly and has shown some interest in bringing competence to the forefront of governance in Nigeria.

In politics, nothing happens until it truly happens. However, in a statement released and signed by President-elect Tinubu in March 2023, he stated categorically that he will form a government of national competence.

“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,” he said.

“The day for political gamesmanship is long gone. I shall assemble competent men and women and young people from across Nigeria to build a safer, more prosperous and just Nigeria,” Tinubu added.

The statements of the newly elected President send a breath of fresh air to Nigerians just as President Buhari’s “I am for everybody and I am for nobody” statement did in 2015.

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However, since President-elect Tinubu is a true democrat, Nigerians expect him to fair better at bringing his goodwill to reality than his predecessor. A “renewed hope” of fixing a round peg in a round hole, not a square one.

All eyes are set on the announcements of the 2023 – 2027 Ministers with many political gladiators already scheming to appear on the list. Will it be “business as usual” or a cabinet of political gladiators or a cabinet of political gladiators with competence?

TINUBU’S POSSIBLE OPTIONS – OYO STATE

The Oyo State APC presents a bitter-sweet political situation for the newly elected President with the party largely successful in the Federal elections but totally crippled in the administration of the state.

Although the state delivered 449,884 votes for the President, the choice of Minister will likely be based on Tinubu’s attention to competence and likewise, his interest to either rebuild the party or maintain its status quo.

Forefront runners in Oyo to have expressed interest in the state’s Ministerial position include Minister Sunday Dare, Prof. Abideen Olaiya, Sen. Teslim Folarin, Soji Akanbi, Rauf Olaniyan, amongst many others.

The incumbent Oyo Minister, Sunday Dare (Youth and Sport) has largely been criticised by his party members to be of no political relevance despite being a representative of the state at the Federal Executive Council. Although his emergence in Buhari’s cabinet was said to have been influenced by Tinubu who was at the time the National Leader of the party.

Prof. Abideen Olaiya on the other hand was largely notable for the joint decision made by him and the Late Oyo Governor, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala, to support the candidature of the APC in 2019 after being approached by the newly elected President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Prof. Olaiya vied for the position of APC National Secretary in 2022 but later stepped down for Sen. Iyiola Omisore. He is largely successful in organisational and academic leadership with him being a Professor of Agriculture at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB).

Professor Abideen Olaiya at the APC 2022 National Convention

Prof. Olaiya despite being on the political scene as a Leader since 1999 has no controversy surrounding his name, a quality Late Governor Alao-Akala stated to have led him to make him (Olaiya) his running mate in the eve of the 2019 Oyo governorship elections.

Senator Teslim Folarin is a three-time Senator of Oyo State and the 2023 governorship candidate of the APC. Although he lost the state governorship election to the incumbent PDP administration, his contribution to the party also puts him up as one of Tinubu’s options.

Senator Soji Akanbi represented Oyo South at the red chambers between 2015 – 2019 and is rooted in Tinubu’s campaign train. Engr. Rauf Olaniyan was elected alongside Seyi Makinde of the PDP in 2019 but was later impeached after a political misunderstanding with his former boss. He later defected to APC in June 2022 and has since supported the party.

[UPCOMING] TINUBU’S POSSIBLE OPTIONS – RIVERS STATE

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