As Nigerians eagerly expect the composition of the ‘change’ cabinet by President Muhamadu Buhari, several factors are being speculated influencing the choice of the new Ministers. The calibre of PMB’s Ministers, when eventually announced will either soar his popularity rating or cause Nigerians to be cautiously optimistic about the ability of the new administration in ushering new change.
If I were the President the following criteria will guide me in appointing my cabinet ministers.
1. Track record: the ideal candidate should have a track record of achievement in previous positions. A cabinet position should not be for green horns, not with the national problems waiting to be surmounted.
2. Integrity: These times demand that candidates for Ministerial positions should have a banner without stain. People or politicians with proven or suspected cases of abuse of office or misconduct should not have a place in Buhari’s cabinet.
3. Security clearance: Of course, Ministerial nominees should undergo and pass through security clearance by the appropriate agencies. We should not have a Cabinet nominee that the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency would keep under house arrest for past misdeeds.
4. Health Clearance: Ministerial nominees should be subjected to health screening to ensure they are healthy enough to undergo the rigours of the office. Though all of us are human and susceptible to sicknesses, a potential cabinet Minister should not be managing ‘terminal’ disease.
5. Loyalty: Of course, it is realistic to expect that a cabinet Minister should be someone that the President trusts. The ideal candidate should also believe in the manifesto of the ruling party- the All Progress Congress, as well as patriotically loyal to the Nigerian nation and people.
6. Godliness: The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. There should be a way we of determining the godliness of our potential appointees to cabinet positions, as this is the surest way of determining their moral values. A letter of reference from their Pastor or Imam could be useful. If public officers know that they are representing various constituencies, including their religious communities, there is a likelihood that they will properly comport themselves in office.
7. Declaration of Assets: In line with the electoral promise of President Buhari, his Ministerial nominees should be willing to publicly declare their assets as soon as their nomination is confirmed.
8. Family values: A good husband or wife would likely make a good Minister. A man who cannot keep his home, a man that assaults his wife, and fails to cater for his children is unlikely to be a good leader. Ministerial nominees should be endorsed by their spouses and children (if any), at least for us to be sure we are giving national assignments to men and women with good family values. The family is the smallest and most important social unit.
9. Demographics: The ‘change’ cabinet should reflect societal diversities, we should have a mixture of the old and new breed, and we should respect gender interests, while vulnerable groups should be represented. It is not out of place to appoint a physically challenged person into the Cabinet.
10. Technical competence/ Education: We should have at the minimum, graduates as Cabinet Ministers. More importantly, potential cabinet ministers should have innovative ideas for change. It may not be out of place to even conduct interviews and administer competence tests on potential ministerial nominees. It should not be business as usual, as the APC’s change slogan symbolises.
*Babatope Babalobi is Coordinator, Movement for Revolutionary Change