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President Muhammadu Buhari’s second ministerial list, comprising 16 nominees, may have finally answered some questions raised as regards those to form the federal cabinet. A perusal of the 16-man list of nominees unveiled by Senate President, Dr. Bukola, showed that the would-be ministers have virtually not held cabinet positions in the past.

Indeed, the second and final list of the ministerial nominees shocked godfathers and many, who were expecting that such  big manes as former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, and former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) from Ondo State, earlier speculated to be considered, were missing.

It is worthy of note that none of the names in the list has held any major political office, whether it is governor, minister or special adviser.  Rather, the list comprises seasoned academics and private practitioners.  For example, we have Professor Isaac Adewole, the immediate past vice chancellor of the University of Ibadan, who represents Osun State and Professor Anthony Anwuka, former vice chancellor of the Imo State University, in the list.Interestingly, only three women, including a member of the House of Representatives, Hajia Khadija Bukar Ibrahim from Yobe State, made it.  Whether the inclusion of only three female nominees would satisfy the yearnings of Nigerian women, who have been agitating for 30 to 40 per cent representation in governance is a matter that would continue to generate debate.

A juxtaposition of the new list with the first one submitted by President Buhari clearly reveals that while the first list is an admixture of politicians, old and young, the second batch comprises mostly technocrats. The advantage the second list of nominees has over the first is that the names are not likely to attract controversy as witnessed in the nomination of former Governors Rotimi Amaechi and Babatunde Fashola of Rivers and Lagos, respectively as well as old politicians, like Audu Ogbeh and Lai Mohammed, among others, who were vigorously criticised by aggrieved youths who expressed displeasure at the recycling of  what they considered as “tired legs” by Buhari.In choosing his new nominees, Buhari must have been guided to avoid the political backlash and controversy that might have trailed the nomination of career politicians, whose choices would most likely attract the fanatical interests of their followers and opponents alike, as currently being witnessed in the nomination of Amaechi.  Perhaps, more importantly, by going for pure technocrats, who have not held public office, Buhari may have finally signaled his intention to turn things around in the country.

Technocrats like Dr. Okechukwu Enelama, the founder/partner and chief executive officer of Africa Capital Alliance, and James Ocholi would, no doubt bring their wealth of experience and professionalism to bear on the discharge of their responsibilities as ministers.Above all, technocrats are more likely to discharge their duties in governance with little or no distraction.  The performance of the immediate past Minister of Agriculture in the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan amply illustrates this point. Career politicians are often distracted by their legion of hangers-on and followers, who always inundate them with endless demands from their wards, constituencies and states. This fact has been identified as one of the root causes of the endemic corruption in government at all levels in Nigeria. In addition, career politicians are more likely to be distracted by their ever-present opponents, both within and outside their parties.

Conversely, technocrats are more likely to be focused, as they are only concerned with how to deploy their expertise to make the difference in whatever portfolio assigned to them.  This is the ultimate strength of the second batch of ministerial nominees.