Saturday, July 2, 2011

........Poor start to a transformation agenda

1 July 2011

Editor Opinion

 MORE than 30 days after his inauguration, President Goodluck Jonathan finally submitted a list of 34 names to the Senate, for consideration as ministerial appointees. Another list of perhaps eight names may be submitted soon along with a request for Senate approval of 20 presidential advisers. 

Now that a list has emerged, for whatever it is worth, it comes without nominees’ proposed portfolios. It is, in truth difficult for the Senate to do a thorough job of ensuring that a square peg is put in a square hole. But this Senate must recognize that, notwithstanding its limitation, it owes the nation a sacred duty to ask the right questions that will, under the circumstance, reveal only good men and women fit and proper to be ministers of the country. In this matter, the Senate’s quality of judgment, even its integrity, is on the line. For, if there are lapses in the quality of governance, the buck will not only stop on the president’s desk; the Senate must share in the blame.

In his May 29, 2011 inaugural speech President Goodluck Jonathan pledged to Nigerians – and the whole world – a leadership that is “decidedly transformative,” adding that “the transformation will be achieved in all the critical sectors…”   “The time for lamentation is over. This is the era of transformation”, he declared in a note of finality. We have often noted that the task to revive Nigeria is present and urgent.  To transform it, as Jonathan pledged to do, is even more so.  The process of transformation, be it of an organisation, or a nation, requires transformational leadership – that unique set of change agents united in vision, purposeful of mission and, sustained by such shared values as motivation and morality, progressively elevate one another, and the followership to higher levels. It is doubtful if most of the personnel in the president’s list can sustain a transformation agenda.

The president sought to put together a cabinet that will satisfy as broad a range of interests as possible.  That is ill advised, as such a cabinet will satisfy no one, and will more likely disappoint every one including the president. Ultimately, it is the average Nigerians that will pay the huge price of poor quality decisions by incompetent ministers.  This is the risk on the card. The president should cast his net wider and, in the coming days, give Nigerians a First Eleven team of provably good men and women as ministers and special advisers. A transformational government must have, as a sine qua non, a transformational leadership. Let it not be said that Nigeria lags behind by all the major indices of development.  Our country urgently needs therefore, a confident, competent, efficient and responsive leadership.

Going by the prevalence of the theme to “transform” in the president’s inaugural address, he needs to keep faith with the pledge to the people of this country.  He must know that he needs aides who share his transformation agenda, who buy into it, and who will give their all to make it happen. It is after all his government, and so history will record it. This president must seize the moment. To borrow from his May 29 speech, the time for lamentation is over, let the era of transformation begin – and be seen to be so.

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