President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday swore in 43 ministers to serve in his cabinet. Daily Trust Saturday sought the opinion of Nigerians on whether the president’s new cabinet was well assigned or not.
Ugo Onwuaso, 46, media practitioner, Lagos
The cabinet as currently constituted cannot be said to be well assigned in my assessment. I feel that the president assigned juicy and senior ministerial slots to his kith and kin from the North-West. Eight senior ministerial slots were given to this region, the highest we have seen from the six geo-political zones. The president should be Nigerian in his appointments; he should assuage Nigerians’ fears that he favours his ethnic group. This should reflect in his appointments. So, to me, it is not well assigned.
Sunday James, 36, Humanitarian worker, Kaduna
It’s a bit worrisome that not all the ministers can be considered as round pegs in round holes. I am particularly happy with the fact that power ministry has been separated from works and housing. A few who got reappointed shouldn’t have found their way back considering their abysmal performances in the last four years. Except for a few additions like Sunday Dare and Festus Keyamo, who I feel have something to offer, there is really nothing new that holds real prospects for the change the government promised. To me, the cabinet is an assemblage of carefully positioned election campaign strategists expected to hold the fort ahead of 2023.
The ministers and their portfolio favour politics rather than actual competence and the technical capacity to deliver.
Tongnaan Dada B., 46, Journalist, Jos
I think the portfolios were well assigned, to some extent. People like Adamu Adamu, Raji Fashola, Lai Mohammed, Chris Ngige and the others who were returned must have learnt a lot from their first term, what worked and what didn’t, the challenges and lessons learnt. I think this is okay, rather than bringing in new hands who would use this second term to begin test-running things for the next four years.
Take Pauline Tallen for example, she has been a minister before and she did well. Let’s not forget that some of them were also given the portfolios on the basis of their qualification and professionalism.
And even for Rauf Aregbesola who was reported to have said he didn’t know much about the Ministry of Interior, if he is serious to deliver, he can rapidly learn and then work. At least, he said the trust, but then he can still perform in that office.
Enoch John Vilret, 27, Jos
I will rate this cabinet just 20 percent in terms of quality. The truth must be told; Mr. President did not do his homework very well in the selection of this cabinet. He only lined up those people who used their resources to campaign for him during the 2019 election.
Most of his ministers have cases of corruption with the EFCC, yet he chose them against such background. When you talk about age, the youth are not carried along. What about gender? There is no balance at all. What about technocrats? Very minute! So, it’s not even about assigning the right portfolios but the quality of the ministers generally.
Stephen Sarki Musa, 59, Political Scientist/Journalist, Kaduna
The appointment of these sets of ministers is a complete departure from the first one Mr. President made. This time around, the team is made up of experienced technocrats and politicians who left legacies in the places they had worked. With this calibre of people, I think Nigeria and Nigerians will be better placed in this dispensation, because they have the capacity to deliver in their respective portfolios.
Sheriff Olutusin, 52, Businessman, Kaduna
Some of the appointments were okay. Fashola, Amaechi, Sirika and a few others are very good because they are round pegs in round holes. They were tested and performed but Lai Mohammed should have been given another portfolio because he did not carry the media along in his past activities, which was why Buhari’s transformations were not seen. Similarly, Abubakar Malami did not perform well as Attorney General of the Federation. Many court cases were lost, and then, he did not give EFCC and ICPC the necessary support. I thought somebody like Keyamo should have been made either the Information minister or Attorney General of the Federation. Also, Ngige should not have come back because he didn’t do anything to improve the labour sector.
Murtala Abubakar, 40, President Arewa Defence League, Kaduna
My take is that Mr. President again got it wrong, from the calibre of people that made it into the ministerial list to majority of the old ministers in the last administration. It is obvious that we are not going to see a progressive departure from what we witnessed during the first term because even the new ministers do not inspire confidence, as some of them are facing corruption allegations.
Equally, deliberate exclusion of young people in the cabinet is a regrettable reality of how the president views the potentials of young people with disdain. The president during a retreat for the new ministers noted that majority of Nigerians were poor and anxiously hoping for a better life. This statement is true but the contradiction is that the action of the government does not suggest to me that they are anxious of taking us out of the problems.
Paul Awulonu, 42, Teacher, Lagos
Buhari’s cabinet, just like the one of his predecessors, ought to reflect national character as prescribed by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, but unfortunately, his cabinet is not balanced. It is filled with his kinsmen from the North. His Service Chiefs are all from the North; summarily, his cabinet is not a well assigned one.
Jimoh Apata, 50, Marketer, Lagos
I give President Buhari 40 percent for and 60 percent against. If I may ask, what has Keyamo got to offer aside legal matters? Adamu in education is okay; Fashola is already tested and can deliver if the dynamics of power play does not come into play. Keyamo in Niger Delta will face opposition due to his antecedents on Niger Delta matters. Akpabio in NNDC will have challenges and might want to take a pound of flesh from his people for his poor showing at the polls.