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Ministerial inauguration and the fate of next level agenda of the Buhari Administration




Barely three months after he was sworn in, President Muhammadu Buhari today August 21, 2019, inaugurated forty three former minister designates into his cabinet as substantive ministers and ministers of states respectively.

Recalled that it took the president close to six months or thereabout before inaugurating his ministers during his first term in office which rightly or wrongly attracted a lot of hues and cry from different quarters.

And so one may say without any fear of contradiction or being perceived as patronizing the administration that this is definitely an improvement because it came through with over three months short of what was witnessed the last time.

That's, however, not to say it aligns with international best practices. But then, you can say that the president has not breached any constitutional provisions since there is none guiding his conducts with regards to announcing his ministerial appointees.

At best, all the constitution says is that each state of the federation must produce a minister.

We all can recollect that the slogan of the Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organization during the last general elections was 'Next Level'.

And clearly to meet the next level agenda of his administration and at the same time build on the gains of the last four years no matter how few they were, the president has decided to retain for himself the petroleum ministry as it was in the last four years.

And this if you ask me was well deserved because the country has never had it so good than things had been in the last four years in the oil and gas sector.

The country though weathered a couple of storms. The particular one that comes to mind was from the Niger delta Avengers who threaten to blow up oil installations in the region over ethnic agitations mixed with the fears of discontinuing the amnesty programs initiated by the government of late president Yaradua and sustained by the government of Goodluck Jonathan.

The second was effectively dismissing rife speculations about the possible increase in the pump prices of petroleum products.

In addition, he also reappointed many of the minister designates to their previous portfolios. He equally unbundled one or two ministries.

Power was excised from the former ministry of power, worker and housing. We now also have aviation separated from former ministry of transport and aviation among others to name a few.

Some of the returnee ministers who retained their portfolios include but not limited to the former Lagos state governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola who now heads ministry of work and housing instead of power, work and housing he headed before, Chris Ngige retained his portfolio as minister of labour and productivity, Geoffrey Onyeama also retained his position as minister of foreign affairs.

And finally, Alhajj Lai Muhammed retained his portfolio as minister of Information and Culture while Ogbonaya Onu also returned as minister of Science and Technology.

If I was to gauge the mind of the president, he must have towed this line to avoid the need for ministers getting acquainted with new ministries and so afford them them the opportunity to hit the ground running like we use say in local parlance.

All these certainly means different things to different people. To the opposition, it could mean a journey into another four years of redundancy, chaos, economic stagnation and the likes.

But to the optimists and neutrals to which I belong  I strongly want to believe the next level agenda of the Buhari administration in terms of improved security, employment for the teeming youths of the country, increased social cohesion or unity of you like, full economic recovery and continuous shared prosperity, and justice for all is quite achievable.

And this can only be done if there is an unwavering commitment from the relevant stakeholders such as elective and appointive officials at the different levels of government.

Without mincing word, the social, political and economic journey of the last four years of this administration has, unarguably, been a bumpy one for a lot of Nigerians.
It was a period in which the economy slumped into recession and came out arguably in record time. It led to job loses and other attendant existential hardships. Even as we speak, the scars are not totally disappeared.

During the same time, the fight against insurgents and other insecurity challenges indeed stretched the military and other security organizations to the limit of their elasticity.

And it is worthy of note that they have done very well in spite of a few lapses and hiccups here and there. But there is more grounds to be covered and distances to go especially in the areas of sustaining the morale of battle-toughened soldiers in the front line as well as strengthening the apparently shaky inter-agency collaborations in the security architecture of the country.

While I want to appreciate the officers and men of the Nigerian military for paying the supreme price to ensure the corporate existence of the country remains intact, they must, however, remain focused until the last of the Boko Haram renegades and other agents of destabilization are routed out.

Government will come and go. Nigeria will remain. The task of nation building is a process and not an event. Indeed, it will continue well beyond the next level agenda of this government.

The good thing is this administration has not abandoned projects initiated by the previous government in pursuit of new ones which is a departure from what was obtained in the past. And it has also been very shrewd with the management of the nation's meager resources.

Like that, the Buhari administration has elevated continuity in completing projects belonging to the opposition to a statecraft that should be emulated by all regardless of the party in power.

Clearly, if it aggressively continues in these paths, while at the same time designing and executing projects that will change the quality of life of the people then we can say, next level here we come.

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