By Segun Adeleye–
A prophet is regarded as an inspired teacher or proclaimer of the will of God. But is Tinubu also among the prophets?
For the strategists and those close to the President – Elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, if there is something they must encourage him not to stop doing; it is not to stop speaking from his mind, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
We have been living witnesses to the confirmation of the power of word. As the Word became flesh, we are what we say and what we say defines us.
When Tinubu made his now famous ‘emi l’okan’ (it’s my turn) remark at a campaign gathering in Abeokuta on June 3, 2022, there was nothing to show that he wanted to be disrespectful to the establishment. But he portrayed a picture of assertiveness by someone that knew what he wanted. Same thing was his involvement in the ‘o to gee’ (enough is enough) movement that toppled the Saraki political dynasty in Kwara State in the 2019 general elections.
As if that was not enough, Tinubu no doubt tactically kicked against the policies and posture of the outgoing Muhammadu Buhari presidency in the build-up to this year’s general election with his campaign performance at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abeokuta, on Wednesday January 25 when he said, “Let fuel be expensive; only they know where they kept it. Keep petrol, keep the naira, we will vote and be elected. You may change the ink of naira notes. What you expect will not happen. We will win. They thought they could cause trouble; they sabotaged fuel but with or without fuel, with or without motorcycles and tricycles, we will vote and win. This is a superior revolution. We will take over government through our PVCs. Even if they say there is no fuel, we will trek to the polling units.”
If these were not prophesies, then we must go elsewhere to seek for another definition.
Vision is to be written and made plain upon tables, “that he may run that readeth it.” One can only imagine what will happen to Nigeria if all the promises made during Tinubu’s electioneering campaigns across the country could be prophesies that can be made to come to pass? But as a tree does not make a forest, neither a prophet making a nation, common sense dictates that the president-elect will need an action cabinet or a dream team to turn all his promises into reality.
“Take away the wicked from the presence of the king and his throne will be established in righteousness.” No doubt, the failure of the past governments in Nigeria was mostly caused by those that made up their cabinets.
Looking at the cabinet of the outgoing government of President Mohammadu Buhari, one may not be wrong to say that he did not have a long list of people he could trust to help him deliver his promises, which could explain why Mr Babatunde Fashola, a former governor of Lagos State got appointed as a minister of a combined Ministry of Power, Works and Housing from 2015 to 2019. In fact, Buhari was said to have preferred appointing only 18 ministers, but for the constitution- Section 147(3) which mandated the president to “appoint at least one Minister from each state.”
He eventually appointed over 40 ministers despite assigning Minister of Petroleum to himself. He later sacked and replaced two of them- Minister of Agriculture, and his counterpart in the power ministry, with the president’s spokesperson saying the exercise “helped to identify and strengthen weak areas, close gaps, build cohesion and synergy in governance, manage the economy and improve the delivery of public good to Nigerians.”
Tinubu is expected to also face the constitution dilemma of appointing at least 36 ministers, but the wisdom will be to identify few key ministries where he must get the best Nigerians from any part of the world, irrespective of their political, religious and ethnic affiliation to help deliver his renewed hope. With high inflation, fuel scarcity and general disenchantment across the land, the least the new government can wish for is a team that will hit the ground running.
Equally important are the strategies that must be put in place in sectors such as petroleum, jobs, youth and sport, digital economy, security, agriculture, culture and tourism, infrastructure and information.
The strategic ministries that should be non-negotiable on the quality of who should head them are Ministry Of Petroleum Resources, Ministry Of Power & Steel, Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Ministry Of Works, Ministry Of Youth & Sport, Ministry Of Agriculture And Natural Resources, Ministry Of Information & Communications, Ministry Of Defence, Ministry O f Education & Youth Development, Ministry Of Culture Tourism And National Orientation, Ministry Of Digital Economy.
The choice of capable professionals that can help turn around the fortune of Nigeria will not be in short supply to Tinubu if he should beam his searchlight on all the nook and cranny of the world where Nigerians are leading lights.
If I were Tinubu, I will take a cue from President Joe Biden of the United States who appointed three Nigerian-born professionals into his cabinet- Osaremen Okolo, as a member of his COVID-19 response team; Adewale Adeyemo as deputy secretary of the treasury department; and Funmi Olorunnipa Badejo as one of the advisers on legal issues pertaining to the president and the White House.
There will be the pressure on the need for jobs for the boys, to settle the party bigwigs and all that played strategic roles that led to the victory of the president-elect, but this must not be to the detriment of the larger goal to renew hope. There will be other spaces in government agencies that they can fill as member of boards among others.
But what all members of the dream team must have in common is to be among the best with undeniable passion in their respective fields, and they must be selfless and addicted lover of Nigeria.
Meanwhile, what I believe should be the first and most strategic position; though not by appointment will be the seat of the First Lady. The President-elect’s wife, Senator Oluremi Tinubu will be expected to secure the home front and give him the peace of mind to focus on the big task.
She must learn from history what her predecessors did right and wrong. We had witnessed in the past when our first ladies became embarrassment and distractions to their husbands and the nation with one escaping to a German hospital for a failed tummy tuck surgery which cost her life, while another one out of greed got enmeshed in corruption such that a Federal High Court had to order the permanent forfeiture of N9.2 billion and $8.4 million recovered from her by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Moreover, with the bad blood generated by the Muslim-Muslim ticket that produced the President-elect, Mrs Tinubu, also a pastor will be expected to fill the gap and ensure that her husband is not hijacked by religious fundamentalists. Even though when the issue of the Muslim-Muslim ticket was trending, my thought was that can two of the past leaders who professed to be Christians out of four since the return of democracy in 1999 actually qualify as Christians? Did they meet the basic leadership standard set for Christians by Jesus Christ? That is a story for another day.
With estimated half of Nigerian population said to be Muslim, while under half are Christian, it will not be out of place to say that majority believe in the power of prayer and will not mind praying for their leaders and the nation.
Of course the nation and its leaders need prayer. Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. We can reflect and ask that could it be spiritual or bad luck that the two ‘Christians’ out of the four presidents since the return of democracy failed to meet the yearning of the people, while one of the two Muslims died in office and the outgoing one spent the better part of his first term in office on a sick bed in foreign hospitals?
With not a few believing that Tinubu is not physically fit for the job, though he had argued that mental readiness should be of concern, not a fitness to jump into a boxing ring, he will still need continuous prayers for the renewal of spirit because of the huge task ahead.
In this regard, Mrs Tinubu will be the prayer warrior for her husband and the nation for affliction not rise up the second time. She must build a coalition of patriots to pray for him every day for a sound mind and for the renewed hope not to be aborted.
*Segun Adeleye is the President/CEO, World Stage Limited; Creator, OELA Music; Author of ‘So Long Too Long Nigeria’ and Founder/Chairman, Segun Adeleye Foundation for Good Leadership in Africa (SAFFGLIA).