New Telegraph

Tinubu’s Cabinet Of National Consensus

A cursory look at the recent distribution of portfolios by President Bola Tinubu to 45 minis- ters cleared by the Senate has indicated that it may not be business as usual in governance. Raising the number of ministers designate from the usual 42 to 48 showed that the President may have made up his mind to create more ministries to accommodate his appointees ab initio.

The usual practice was that each of the 36 states would nominate one person to be appointed minister while the President would pick one from each of the six geo-political zones for balancing. But the President, this time around, resolved to expand the cabinet by nominating six extra persons ostensibly to accommodate more political interests.

A dependable Presidency source who volunteered explanation on the expansion of the cabinet size said ‘The President only attempted to carry the people along. Remember many people, across party lines worked for his success in the presidential election. He would need to accommodate these interests.

“For instance, look at the appointment of someone like the former Rivers State Governor and chieftains of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). You know that he worked assiduously with his partners in the G5 to undo their own candidate to pave the way for Tinubu’s election.

He must take care of their interests and that slot obviously would not come from the party… Others who helped from the background in the opposition would also have to be carried along. “Again, recall that the country was divided both on religious and ethnic grounds under the Buhari’s Presidency.

The President had made it clear that he would want to assemble a cabinet that would suggest reconciliation of all the conflicting interests by running a government of national unity even as he also insisted on bringing technocrats on board to ensure affective service delivery.

That too was part of the reasons that the President had to expand the cabinet.” Another observer pointed out that the President strove hard to ensure there was no lopsidedness in the distribution of major portfolios by ensuring that all the geopolitical zones were accommodated unlike in the past where all juicy positions were concentrated in few zones leaving the others for less favoured zones.

The balancing in the number of substantive ministers and ministers of state in the cabinet showed that the Tinubu’s administration took special caution to avoid being accused of favoritism and allegation of tilting to- wards an ethnic stock which dogged the immediate past government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The North-West was given ten ministerial slots comprising five substantive and five ministers of state; the North- East has six substantive ministers and one Minister of State, making seven while the North-Central has six substantive ministers with two Ministers of State, making eight.

From the Southern part of the country, the South-West got seven substantive ministers and two Ministers of State; South-East with four substantive Ministers and one Minister of State and the South-South had five substantive Ministers and two Ministers of State appointed from the zone.

In all, the North got 24 slots while the South is having 21 slots at least for now with three outstanding. The pattern of appointment and designation of the ministries were notably different from what used to obtain in the past, especially in the immediate past administration. Apart from former President Good luck Jonathan who designated his Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala as the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, it is only now that the incumbent President is having two coordinating ministers.

It should be noted that the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Ali Pate, from the North has been made a coordinating minister, while the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun was equally given the extra task of coordinating the Economy.

These extra assignments connote that the two individuals may have been assigned extraneous responsibilities. The Tinubu’s cabinet also reflected inclusivity with the President, after a very long time of exclusion, appointing the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) from the Southern region. For a long period of time, the FCT ministry has always been the preserve of northerners.

So, Nyesom Wike’s appointment as the FCT Minister jolted the political circles. The appointment of an indigene of the FCT as a Minister for the first time was also a novel development demostrating inclusive agenda of the Tinubu’s administration.

The appointment of Zephania Jisalo, as the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs has been considered as a step in the right direction in the political circle. It should be noted that the indigenes of the FCT have never been included in executive position at the federal level until Jisalo’s appointment.

The best they have had was a slot each at the House of Representatives and the Senate. Political observers have thumped up for the President for demonstrating political sagacity with determination to deliver democratic dividends anchored on infrastructural development considering the calibre of people in his cabinet.

For instance, with the experience and antecedents of some of them and their apportioned ministries, it is only a matter of time before the people would begin experience developmental transformation across the country.

With Wike, Mr. Project, as the FCT Minister, Dave Umahi, the Works Minister and Edun as Finance Minister and Coordinator of the nation’s economy, Nigerians are waiting with bated breath to see the desired transformation in the county’s infrastrucsibilities.

The Tinubu’s cabinet also reflected inclusivity with the President, after a very long time of exclusion, appoint- ing the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) from the Southern region. For a long period of time, the FCT ministry has always been the preserve of northerners. So, Nyesom Wike’s appointment as the FCT Minister jolted the political circles.

The appointment of an indigene of the FCT as a Minister for the first time was also a novel development demonstrating inclusive agenda of the Tinu- bu’s administration. The appointment of Zephania Jisalo, as the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs has been considered as a step in the right direction in the political circle. It should be noted that the indigenes of the FCT have never been included in executive position at the federal level until Jisalo’s appointment.

The best they have had was a slot each at the House of Representatives and the Senate. Political observers have thumped up for the President for demonstrating political sagacity with determination to deliver democratic dividends anchored on infrastructural development considering the calibre of people in his cabinet.

For instance, with the experience and antecedents of some of them and their apportioned ministries, it is only a matter of time before the people would begin experience developmental transformation across the country. With Wike, Mr. Project, as the FCT Minister, Dave Umahi, the Works Minister and Edun as Finance Minister and Coordinator of the nation’s economy, Nigerians are waiting with bated breath to see the desired transformation in the county’s infrastructure space and economy.

In the oil and gas sector, the President may have chosen to deepen his supervision in that area by splitting the Ministry into two and appointing two Ministers of State while remaining silence on who the substantive minister would be. The President also left out the Ministry of Niger Delta in the allocation indicating that the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has yet to get a supervising minister.

It is not particular clear whether this was deliberate or not. A presidency source said “The Presi- dent’s silence on the NDDC may be deliberate. You know that agency has been a cesspool of corruption in the last few years. Some persons with sense of entitlement see the agency as an avenue to enrich themselves.

The President is interested in the development of the oil-bearing region and may want to assign its supervision to someone directly reporting to him. In any case, the NDDC and the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) used to be under the Presidency in Obasanjo’s administration.

The President may be considering this option because the silence on the Niger Delta Ministry is deadening ” Looking generally at the composition of the Tinubu’s cabinet, it would be safe to conclude that the President sought to balance politics with anticipated economic development.

While some of the ministers are adept in political mobilisation by their closeness to the grass-roots, others are tested technocrats who have carved a niche for themselves and are waiting to bit the ground running after inauguration. It should be noted that the expansion of the ministries by the President was meant to expand the economy and broaden the nation’s revenue base.

For instance, the creation of Marine and Blue Economy ministry was to increase revenue generation from that sector amongst other changes made by the President. However, it has been argued that the size of the cabinet does not reflect the nation’s economic reality. A public analyst said: “At this time in our history, we are running a deficit budget and inflation is about 25 per cent. You need to look at the overhead of the entire appointments.

Each Minister will come up with lots aides who must be paid salaries and all the rest. “Besides, what is the justification for the appointment Ministers of State for the Defence and Police Affairs Ministry? In particular, the Police Affairs Ministry does not need a Minister of State. Come to think of it, at this stage Nigeria needs technocrats who can turn the nation around not these re-cycled individuals. The entire thing looks like a settlement cabinet.”

Read Previous

Wike, Lokpobiri, Edu, Enoh, Others Appear For Documentation

Read Next

Agenda For New Sports Minister, Enoh