By Abdullah Abdulganiy.
After the long wait, Kwara State governor, Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq would later give a listening ear to the concerns raised by commentators about the formation of his cabinet. He forwarded the names of five women for confirmation yesterday to the House of Assembly.
Surprisingly, a 26-year-old serving corps member, Ms. Joana Nnazua Kolo also made the list. She appears to be the youngest commissioner-designate ever in the country. Tongues have therefore been wagging on the nomination of a “young, inexperienced and jolly-just-come” lady as a commissioner-designate. It is on this note that I find it relatively imperative to wade in into the discussion.
First, I say kudos to the governor for a well-conceived cabinet formation. Though incomplete, it has passed basic tests on all fronts. The list appears to be gender-friendly, a quality that has become a rarity in most political configurations in Nigeria even up to the federal level. Finally, we are getting there! Ladies are queens and must be treated as such. With this, the governor has indicated that he buys the philosophy of “ladies first”. It is now up to the appointed women not to defeat the very essence of their fair inclusion in the list.
Second, the nomination also succeeded in taking into consideration the argument of regional equality in politics. No region was left out in the recent list and every region was given a sense of belonging to a large extent. So far, Mallam Abdulrahman has always strived so hard to ensure regional balance in his appointments. He did the same during his first appointment which comprised the SSG, CoS and CPS. Intelligent!
Third, the list also catered for political inclusion in the sense that most of the nominees stand for political compensation of a top politico or the other. Political compensation is a basic characteristic of most political systems. It is normal that some actors are instrumental in the emergence of a political candidate. Some of these actors sacrificed their monies, others time, and some others ideas. Compensating these people with political appointments therefore is not out of place.
And if you ask me, there is nothing wrong with it. However, I always have problem with political compensation when it is placed above merit. In other words, both political compensation and meritocracy must go hand in hand. Days when political appointments were solely for compensating cronies without taking competence into cognizance must not be allowed to resurface again.
We do hear a narrative that in this same Kwara State when a political juggernaut was still holding sway, he sold political offices to his cronies without recourse to competence. He was reported to have ceded appointments to individuals who could not communicate in and lack the understanding of English. This is the brand of political compensation I do not agree with.
Though the governor cannot compensate all those who contributed to the struggle leading to his ascension to power due to the complexity of the political formation, he should ensure a fair play in that respect so as not to lose party identification.
Members of the party should also bear with the governor. There are still many appointments they can benefit from in government. If, peradventure, they are not included in the appointment, they should find solace in the actualisation of the Kwara project. It is the peak!
Of equal note is that the recent appointment also passed the test of competence. All the appointees have rich CVs and potentials to serve the state competently. Their educational backgrounds are appealing and sterling. I therefore have no doubt that they are set to move the state forward in their various capacities.
Now on the issue of Ms Kolo, the young and bright commissioner-designate. It occurs to me that we don’t know what we really want in Nigeria. If paraphrasing Ishowo would not be considered a crime, this country is a bizzare contraption. Last year, we were all at the fore-front championing the course of NTYTR. A young fellow was appointed and the bashing is seamless from all corners. Is this not the height of double standard?
Some said she lacks experience. And I ask that all she has garnered in the University is what? True, experience counts, but young minds like Joana should not be reaped of opportunities on the altar of experience. How has the experienced elderly fared so far? Nobody is born with experience, we all gain it through the process of learning. Kolo has not insisted that she is not willing to learn.
A professor did not just become a professor on a day. It was rather a gradual process. He was once a graduate assistant without “experience”. If this is the argument we must follow, Governor Abdulrazaq does not also have the experience of how the gubernatorial office works. Ditto Seyi Makinde. And there they are, performing excellently well. How did the experienced Ahmed Fatai and Biola Ajimobi fare on their second terms in office respectively? Summarily put, experience has no significant (Please note SIGNIFICANT) effect on performance.
In conclusion, here comes my own reservation. After wasted months of protracted search for cabinet members, I had thought that the governor would pick people from Mercury or Mars for his appointment. To my chagrin, most of the appointees are the old wines we do know very well. In other words, the delay was uncalled for. For this, the governor is supposed to tender an unreserved apology.
Nobody should come with the dumb argument that the governor was assessing things for himself first. Is Makinde not assessing things for himself? He appointed his commissioners earlier and had been performing very fine. So there is no logic in saying the first-hand assessment by the governor is justifiably responsible for the delay in putting up his cabinet list. I rest!
Abdullah is a sociologist, writer, researcher and alumnus of the better-by-far University of Ilorin.
DISCLAIMER: All views expressed on our opinion page are those of the writer and do not represent the position of INSIDER or any of its reporters/editors.