Monday, June 04, 2007

President Yar’Adua’s Sham Ministerial Nominees – a Putrid Parade of Purloiners

The manner in which the new president of Nigeria has chosen to nominate members of his ministerial cabinet is a sign of things to come. It is alleged that he has given the job of ministerial nominations to the newly elected governors of the PDP won states and as a result has had eight former governors nominated for appointment by their successor protégées.

Against this backdrop, it is evident that President Yar’Adua has decided to perpetuate the decadence of the "old brigade," particularly as names of ex-governors of inglorious repute such as Ibori and Udenwa are being touted for appointment. The way ministerial appointments work in most civilized societies is to seek out the most qualified persons in terms of experience, outlook, values and competence to head public ministries and agencies. Rather, Yar’Adua’s approach is a putrid parade of purloiners. Many of these folks are alleged to have been under investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commissions for gross acts of graft while they were governors. Many were wholesale abusers of human rights and flouters of court orders. Lesser allegations than these have been known to end people’s political careers in more developed societies.

It is no secret that Yar’Adua’s nomination for the PDP presidential ticket hinged heavily on the lobbying efforts of James Ibori and Lucky Igbinedion, erstwhile governors of Delta and Edo states respectively. Perhaps it is to fulfill a quid-pro-quo agreement that Yar’Adua seeks to reward Ibori with a ministerial post. Lucky Igbinedion (suspected murderer of Francis Ida) too might sooner be rewarded with a plum parastatal chairmanship or Ambassadorial post.

If the Yar’Adua administration is to gain legitimacy in Nigeria, and indeed the international community, and truly make a difference and liberate Nigeria from the claws of corruption and mediocrity, it would be better served not to engage any of these ex-governors and other persons of inglorious repute in any capacity in the administration. Yar'Adua should seek to appoint men and women of proven calibre, intellect and integrity like Nasir El Rufai, Dora Akiyuli, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Nuhu Ribadu and not ones of proven mediocrity, corruption and ignominy such as the nominee ex-governors being touted.