This summary of Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari ‘s cabinet picks says it all:
With an extra five members, stuffed with party loyalists and an average age of 60, President Muhammadu Buhari‘s new ministerial team cannot be accused of exuding dynamism or imagination. Announced two days after about a dozen people were killed in the capital when Shiite protestors clashed with armed police, the composition of the new government reinforced the sense of a lack of executive urgency as the country’s national security crisis was spiraling out of control.
The list reinforces the view that President Buhari’s second term will be like his first: tortuously slow decision-making, a reluctance to sanction bad performance in the security services or in the ministries, personal loyalty trumping competence and a tolerance for politicians facing serial corruption charges.
…. The youngest nominee at 46 – five years older than France’s current president – is Ali Isa Ibrahim Pantami (Gombe), a world class technology expert and trained Imam who has led the National Information Technology Development Agency since 2016.
The median age in Nigeria is 17.9 years (which is not to say that cabinet ministers should be in their twenties).
The problem with having such an old cabinet is that ministers are likely to employ equally old lieutenants, with the outcome being that everyone in government ends up being either too tired to put in the much needed work or too busy with their personal “businesses”.
The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely one of leadership.
There is excitement in the air. All around the world and here in the US in particular everyone seems thrilled by the idea that tomorrow Barrack Obama, the son of a Kenyan man and a Kansan woman, will be sworn in to become the 44th president of the United States. I am excited too, partly because of my own political persuasion and partly because being a Kenyan this is a special moment when the son of a Kenyan becomes the most powerful man in the world. I am not big on identity politics but I simply could not let this one go.
Back to the topic of this post. As we await the arrival of the Obamas in the White House I cannot help but wonder how an Obama presidency will affect leadership on the continent of his father – Africa. Already in Europe and Israel we have seen candidates mimic Obama as they attempt to woo voters. I hope that the same enthusiasm for this man’s brand of politics and political organization spreads to Africa. I hope that an Obama presidency will plant the seeds for African leadership based on lasting ideals and ideologies and not myopic ethno-economic calculations.
So let us all make merry and be happy as the world begins a new chapter with a renewed America. And let us strive to imitate what is best about America – it’s resiliency and unique ability of self-regeneration and most of all its peoples belief in themselves, even when the odds seem longer than they can overcome.