Ministerial List: Nepotism or Merit?

The list of Individuals to which Nigeria’s ministerial portfolios were recently assigned evoked mixed feelings from the public. Some were dismayed by the choice of Mr. President while others applauded him for it. In any case, the truth remains that each name had key players that bore the task of facilitating its entry into the list. In addition, it appears that no one who got nominated did so without being instrumental in the outcome of the just concluded election. As a result, the selection process essentially served as a payback for ‘ a job well done’.

The ministerial list has always been an earnestly anticipated one, following the inauguration of every Nigerian president. This is because it gives a glimpse of what his administration will look like. With members of the cabinet forming a crucial part of the executive arm of the government, it is requisite that capable hands are appointed to the highly-coveted positions. However, the compilation of such a list has raised concerns as to the possible rationales behind the actual nomination process.

Looking at the antecedents of the nominees, it is easy to see that almost all of the partisans among them are currently members of the ruling party – All Progressive Congress. With the one of the few exceptions being Nyesom Wike of the People’s Democratic Party, one can only wonder just how biased and one-sided the criteria were. Does that mean that even if there were (and definitely there are) potential nominees in other parties with adequate knowledge and expertise, which could have greatly contributed to the growth and development of the dwindling nation, they still would not have been selected simply on a party basis? The role of party politics is therefore limiting and would amount to no good if made to persist.

Also, another highlight that would not go unnoticed is the integration of previous holders of political offices. The list went awash with ex-governors, ex-ministers, and present and past members of the Senate and House of Representatives. It just seems like we are going around in circles along with the same set of politicians. In the long run, what do we end up getting? Same results. In addition, technocracy should have been the principal benchmark for nomination before considering political affiliations. But despite the clamour for more non-partisan technocrats to come on board, the list only had a few of them. Some of the names of such technocrats which appeared include Lola Ade-John, Wale Edun, Bosun Tijani, Doris Uzoka, Stella Oketete, Iman Ibrahim, Ishak Salako, Joseph Utsev and Yusuf Sununu. But how does this make a significant inclusion in a list of about forty-eight nominees?

When all is said and done, it is evident that favouritism has come to take precedence over merit in the nation’s system of delegation. Consequently, the ripple effects of this tells on the developmental indices of Nigeria. When we leave the best for the good in our choices all in the name of nepotism, we inevitably hijack a greater future of what can be. Therefore, merit should not be undermined under any circumstances and must remain a defining factor in every selection process. This alone can enable us unleash the great potential of Nigeria waiting to be harnessed.

Adeniyi Shukurah


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