The ministers should go about their crucial tasks with all sense of responsibility 

At the inaugural session of the Federal Executive Council last Monday, President Bola Tinubu told the new ministers that to turn around the fortunes of the country, they need to work very hard. “We have talents; we have the level of intellectuals and capacity to turn this country around. You and I know that the expectation is high,” the president told his team. “Therefore, we must work hard, commit ourselves and create a buoyant economy that will serve every Nigerian.” We agree with the president that for the ministers, the challenges ahead are daunting. 

Indeed, given the magnitude of the challenge facing the nation today, none of the ministers should be in any doubt that the responsibility that lies before them are enormous. While political considerations may have informed most of the choices, what the ministers now must do is prove that they have what it takes to handle their respective portfolios and that the trust invested in them by the president is not misplaced. Each of them must perform and perform creditably. Each must begin to identify very quickly what needs to be accomplished and set out an implementation plan that is realistic, transparent and can be evaluated.  

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Whatever informed President Tinubu’s idea of 45 ministers aside from holding on to the petroleum portfolio, he must understand that failure is not an option. For well over two decades, most of the people at the helm of affairs have done too little to create the enabling environment for the economy to flourish and to have the necessary capacity to absorb the growth in population or at least arrest the slide in the job market. Our economy has lost millions of jobs in recent years because of weak governments that have been unable to stand up to external pressures. Social sectors like education and health have also been practically abandoned with billions of dollars expended annually on medical tourism to countries like India while our West African neighbours now make huge revenues from Nigerians who study in their countries. 

 Nigerians are desperate for ministers who understand their needs and problems, and who will work tirelessly to address them. In those critical sectors to which the new ministers have been assigned, Nigerians do not want to see leaders who are insensitive to their plight. They do not want ministers who would play to the gallery, saying what they think the people want to hear, but do absolutely nothing to better the lot of the people. They do not want to be told that huge amounts of money have been allocated to execute key projects only to find out that the money has disappeared into the pockets of those charged with ensuring execution or their cronies.  

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Put simply, Nigerians do not want to continue the same familiar road that has not led the nation anywhere. It is therefore incumbent on the ministers to reflect on the failings of their predecessors and determine that they will leave office with their heads held high. They should understand that if this opportunity were wasted it would not just be to their personal detriment, but also that of the wellbeing of more than 200 million people. It is equally important for some of them to know that there is no need to fix what is not broken.  

Finally, it is assumed that the newly appointed ministers have the intelligence, integrity, temperament and discipline to leave their marks as they have been given the chance of a lifetime to serve their country with dignity and honour. At the end of the day, Nigerians will hold them to account. 

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