Friday, 22 May 2015

Time to empty Nigeria’s recycle bin

In the political system of the United States of America from where Nigeria has borrowed governance ideas and methodologies that have become the bedrock of our democracy, the historical patronage and spoils system is a practice where an incoming administration offers positions and appointments to those who have helped, in different manners, the political party win an election. Loyalists, supporters, adherents, family members and friends are all in the category of persons that the victorious party strives to reward with “spoils of war”. After all, he who works at the altar must be a partaker at the altar.

The opposite of this practice is the merit system where competent hands, those who bring enormous values in their fields to the table of government, are offered appointments to serve their country. Political party membership or leaning is not necessarily a consideration in this instance. With the merit system, it is country first.
For many of us who are constantly hooked up to the madness of pitches in the social media because of the nature of what we do, stories we read and hypes and hooplas we feel about President-elect Muhammadu Buhari’s different versions of pending ministerial lists showing who and who will hold what and what portfolios in the next dispensation continue to swirl around fiercely. Although these lists may be simulated, they are inundating and also sometimes annoying. Many of the names on many of these lists are intelligent men and women who have served in government in one capacity or the other; they are names that Nigerians know, and probably trust, and love.
But before finality is brought to bear on who will head what ministry and agency of government, Buhari and those charged with the onerous task should consider this: Among many reasons why 15 million Nigerians chose to go another route in the last election is that this may be the opportunity for Nigeria to empty her recycle bin. What do I mean by this?
In computing, the recycle bin is a sort of storage where unwanted information is consigned because it has outlived its usefulness. Sometimes, however, when you have a need for the trashed information, you can restore and put it back to use. When the recycle bin is emptied, the information therein is gone forever, and the trash we remember no more.
The same trashing process can happen with the process of appointment with the incoming Buhari administration. Some characters have been “deleted” because of corruption, or they have been found to be just completely bereft of ideas. There are some people who have eternally served the nation; their footprints are boldly visible in the hallways of every administration. Many of them have been consigned into the recycle bin either because of character flaws or inability to flow with peak-performance requirements. Nigerians easily follow their track records that speak nothing else other than testimonies of nincompoopery. Some of these people voluntarily consigned themselves into the recycle bin after feeding fat off of government; they are those who have stolen black- and-blue and cases are pending against them in the court of law. These people always want to come back because they are savvy and sharp witted about nothing else but government wheeling and dealing business. Some of them have succeeded in sneaking back into the legislature, and many are shamelessly lobbying as I write to sneak themselves into the executive and agencies of government. These are men and women who are unopposed candidates in the recycle bin that Nigeria must empty.
I brought up this idea with Alhaji Naim Aliyu, a member of the Presidential Campaign Council, Contact and Mobilisation of the Buhari Organisation when I met with him recently in Houston, Texas. “Let me tell you something, one thing I will say about the General is that if you have a questionable character, you will not serve with him. All the lists of ministers flying around are just mere speculations. We will not know who will be where until the list is sent to the National Assembly.” Naim also said that competence and love of country will trump any other factor in the nomination of anybody for service in the next administration.
The National Publicity Secretary of the APC has also denied the existence of any list. “The most important thing is getting the agenda for governance right. There are many qualified Nigerians that help in actualising the agenda and we are not interested in putting the cart before the horse. Frankly, ministerial list is not one of the major priorities of the party for now. You must disregard any of such lists,” Mohammed reportedly said.
Competent, intelligent and morally astute Nigerians are all over the country and scattered all over the world in the fields of Medicine, Computer Engineering, Communications, Agriculture, Petroleum Engineering and every endeavour of life. They are young and old; men and women yearning to serve their country, and they are not politicians. They are hands that have not been tainted with corrupt practices, and are not beholden to godfathers or “godmamas”. Their uncles and aunties don’t hold any government position, and they are not buddy-buddy with a party chairman or a state governor. Of course, there is nothing wrong with rewarding those who have put boots on the ground for a presidential or governorship candidate; even among these people are squeaky-smart, patriotic and incorruptible elements who have more to offer than those characters in the recycle bin of government that must be emptied. Some people may toss up the idea of youth and inexperience when considering fresh blood; but I declare thus to them that today’s mighty oak is just yesterday’s nut that held its ground. Meritocracy should be made to survive in our democracy; the next administration should give new people a chance.
What Nigerians hope for is that from May 29, Nigeria’s economy will begin to receive a higher dose of oxygen to survive and stabilise simply because we will have as president a man who is sold out to modesty, transparency, simplicity and accountability. We need great hands to accomplish the mission; not the same tired and withered hands that are in the recycle bin that must be emptied.
SOURCE: punchng