14th June, 2011
As expected, the nationâ€™s capital, Abuja, is abuzz with news of applicants laying siege to Aso Rock, the seat of power, seeking political appointments in the new cabinet to be formed by President Goodluck Jonathan.
According to the reports, some of the applicants and their godfathers have turned hotels in the nationâ€™s capital into their operational bases from where they map out strategies to get the presidentâ€™s attention. Serious lobbying for ministerial and other political appointments was said to have commenced immediately President Jonathan dissolved the last cabinet.
Lobbying for political appointments is one of the features of democratic governance and we concede that those lobbying for positions are only exercising their rights under a representative government.
However, the onus is on the president to choose those that will work with him to actualise his promises to the electorate. The constitution gives the president the right and the power to choose members of his cabinet. In other words, no group or individual can force the president, either through lobbying or whatever means to appoint anybody into the Federal Executive Council. It is the prerogative of the president, and this is guaranteed by the presidential constitution which we operate, to appoint his ministers and aides.
The reason for this executive power is to ensure that the president is not encumbered in any way whatsoever in the choice of those that he thinks can help him in executing his policies and programmes.
In appointing ministers and other political aides, the president can be influenced or persuaded by individuals, groups and lobbyists to appoint certain individuals into certain positions, but certainly the buck stops on his table. We need not remind the president that for any wrong appointment made, he will be held liable.
This is why we consider it imperative to advise President Jonathan to ensure that he brings on board his new cabinet men amd women of proven character, integrity and competence. The president should by now be aware of the lack-lustre performance of some of his past ministers who are mounting lobbying to come back. The president should reject them outright.
The president should look far and wide and appoint only credible technocrats as ministers and political aides to assist him in moving the country forward.
We are tired of mediocres masquerading as public administrators who have no idea of what good governance is all about but are only interested in lining their pockets and those of their godfathers when they get the job.
Nigeria, at this stage of its development deserves more than that.
President Jonathan should remember that he is not just the president of states won by his party, the Peopleâ€™s Democratic Party, PDP, but the president of the whole country.
He should remember that he was voted in as president to preside over the affairs of the entire country.
Appointment of ministers and political aides should no longer be jobs for the boys or political associates.
President Jonathan owes it a duty to Nigerians to appoint competent individuals to tackle the debilitating power outage in the country which has crippled many industries and thrown millions of Nigerians into the unemployment market. He owes it a duty to Nigerians to appoint a competent minister of works to tackle the bad roads and other public facilities throughout the country.
The president needs an efficient, focused and corruption-free Minister of Petroleum Resources to look into the poor state of our refineries which had turned an oil producing nation into an importer of petroleum products.
Nigerians are looking for ministers that will touch their lives by improving their living condition.