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Nigerians in ‘sidon look’ mould as Tinubu's cabinet is unveiled

Sep 25, 2023Sep 25, 2023

Mixed reactions have continued to trail the first batch of ministerial nominees made by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu two months after assuming office.

After weeks of speculations, the long-awaited ministerial list was released by the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio on Thursday.

On the 28 ministerial nominees’ list with no assigned portfolios are four former governors, and six women.

For many Nigerians, the ministers would have their hands full, when they eventually assume office, considering the issues on ground relating to the economy, fuel subsidy removal, education, exchange rate, among others, which need urgent attention.

For many, the new ministers coming on board should roll up their sleeves and begin to work immediately.

While many Nigerians have decided to watch and see the magic the ministers would do to turn things around, some have expressed disappointment with the list, noting that several individuals, whose names were contained therein were being simply rewarded for working for Tinubu to win the presidential poll, and not for any positive contribution to the good of the country at this time.

They further said that they expected the President to break the long tradition of rewarding loyalists with ministerial appointment. They also said that they expected him to have populated his cabinet with technocrats, considering his move to resuscitate the economy and reposition the country.

But there were those who have applauded the President for some names on the list.

Such individuals were of the view that the names were a reflection of promised made by President Tinubu to unite the country and bring about a government of national unity where all stakeholders will join hands together to move the country forward.

The reactions were gleaned from the social media and separate interviews with BusinessDay.

Adelaja Adeoye, a public affairs analyst, is particularly impressed with the nomination of Nyesom Wike and David Umahi, former governors of Rivers and Ebonyi States, respectively.

Adelaja said that the two men performed excellently well while in office and should bring their experience to bear on their new positions.

According to him, “If you look at Wike for instance, his performance as the governor of Rivers State is commendable and great, same as Umahi in Ebonyi with provision of massive road infrastructure.

“President Bola Tinubu’s quest to work with tested hands who are performers, will help him quickly navigate the ship of Nigeria away from wreck to safe sail.

“Nigerians are no longer patient with the Presiden; he needs to perform, and deliver on all his campaign promises. So, he needs those who will hit the ground running, who are vast in development, and also politics.”

Ifeanyi Okuchi, an IT expert, said the list did not give much hope of better things to come; noting that he was not surprised because he never expected much from the current administration.

“Which list are you talking about? What I saw was old politicians coming back to continue the cycle. Does it mean in a country of over 200 million, we can’t find technocrats in different fields?

“Well, I did not expect much from Tinubu and what is happening is a confirmation of my warning to my friends.

“I told them during the Presidential election; look at what we are facing now. He is bringing all these policies at the same time, things are so tight, we can’t eat,” he said.

Idayat Hassan, who leads the West Africa-focused Centre for Democracy and Development, said the Nigerian president should ensure that the appointments are fit to what their expertise really is.

She also urged the president to focus on Nigeria’s most pressing challenges in the security and economic sectors.

“There can’t be prosperity without peace and stability, so prioritising security and the economy should go hand in hand,” Hassan said.

Meanwhile, Kunle Ogundimu, a teacher, advised Nigerians to give the Tinubu administration a chance, saying that it was not always good to see everything he does from the negative perspective.

He further said that although some names on the list did not offer much hope, he was optimistic they can deliver.

“The list is not too bad; I know Nigerians have been talking, but this is politics; let give these guys a chance.

“Maybe, they are still the same people we know, but at least we know what some of them can do. Someone like Wike performed excellently in Rivers.

“I really don’t like criticising all the time and not seeing anything good in the Tinubu administration. I think the list is not too bad,” Ogundimu said.

Meanwhile, some people have also criticised Wike for abandoning the PDP to become a minister in the Tinubu administration. They accused him of lacking in integrity.

“For the G-5 governor they have become political harlots jostling up and down for something anywhere,” Uwa Ofili said.

Activist and politician, Shehu Sani said that President Tinubu did not consider competence in picking people to work with, adding that Nasir-El Rufai, former Kaduna State governor was a tragedy and should not be on the list.

He said, “With the nominations which I have seen, the one representing Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, is a tragedy.

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“That such a man is given an opportunity to serve this country with all that he has done and has said in office. I don’t think that if President Tinubu means well, this is not the best time to please and appease former governors.

“It is the best time to appease Nigerians and to bring in competent hands to deliver. As far as I am concerned, that list to a large extent is a big disappointment.”

Tinubu, candidate of the All-Progressives Congress (APC), won the February 25 presidential poll and was sworn-in on May 29.

Elected on the mantra of Renewed Hope, Tinubu has initiated sweeping reforms in Nigeria since assuming office aimed at resuscitating the economy, part of which is the removal of petrol subsidy and floating of the naira.

However, the reforms come at a huge cost; many Nigerians are not happy that the prices of essential goods, food and services are rising astronomically in recent weeks.

Across the country, transportation fare has increased greatly as a result of the rise in the pump price of petrol.

The expectation is that the ministers would bring the needed respite through quality contributions as soon as they are inaugurated.