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Balancing Technocrats and Political Actors Towards a Government of National Competence -By Malam Bello Hayatu

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The nation eagerly anticipates the composition of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s government as he assumes office. In a recent statement, President Tinubu emphasized his commitment to a government of national competence, focusing on technocrats rather than politicians for political appointments.

While the emphasis on competence is laudable, the importance of inclusivity and the need to consider a broader spectrum of individuals in the formation of a government that truly represents the aspirations of the Nigerian people cannot be overemphasized. It is hence, crucial to strike a delicate balance that recognizes the contributions of both technocrats and political actors.

These political actors, some of whom possess professional backgrounds and technical expertise, dedicated their efforts to securing victory for President Tinubu and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). Their foray into politics should not overshadow their exceptional professional track record. It is hence highly imperative to acknowledge the invaluable role played by them during the 2023 elections.

Disregarding their contributions would not only be unjust but would also undermine the democratic process. While prioritizing technocrats, it is essential to ensure that political actors with the necessary competence, integrity, expertise, and character are duly considered, as they bring wealth of experience and a nuanced understanding of the political landscape.

Moreover, special attention should be given to the gubernatorial aspirants of the APC in the 2023 elections. Particularly in states where the APC emerged triumphant, the unwavering commitment and loyalty and tireless campaigns of these aspirants cannot be disregarded. Though the winners may have been the preferred candidates of incumbent governors, it is the first runners-up and other aspirants who truly embody the aspirations and voices of the electorate. President Tinubu can foster inclusivity and ensure a wider range of perspectives and expertise, by including these political actors in the government, thereby enhancing the efficacy of governance.

Similarly, in states where the APC faced defeat, it is essential to give due consideration to the party’s candidates and their running mates. Recognizing their efforts and contributions would help bridge the divide and promote unity within the APC.

An additional concern that warrants attention is the potential overrepresentation of former governors and ministers in the cabinet. While their experience and insights are undoubtedly valuable, it is crucial to create opportunities for fresh faces and new ideas within the government. It is imperative for the President Tinubu to reevaluate their appointment in large numbers so as to provide space for emerging leaders, fostering a diverse and dynamic government that adapts to the evolving needs of the nation.

Furthermore, the issue of extending the service of civil servants beyond their retirement dates should be addressed. Prolonging the tenures of civil servants beyond their designated service years not only leads to stagnation within the workforce but also demoralizes younger employees who are due for promotions and recognition. To foster a merit-based and progressive environment, President Tinubu and his team should prioritize the adherence to established retirement timelines for civil servants. This will enable the natural progression of qualified individuals within the system and create opportunities for the next generation of public servants.

Looking ahead to the upcoming 2027 elections, President Tinubu and his team must recognize the significance of balancing the inclusion of both technocrats and political actors in government. It is vital to acknowledge the crucial role played by professionals and technocrats who are also active political participants to achieve a government of national competence. By embracing inclusivity and recognizing the political capital held by these individuals, President Tinubu can strengthen the bond between his administration and the Nigerian electorate, fostering a sense of trust, representation, and shared governance.

The eyes of the electorate remain watchful, and their expectations for a government that genuinely represents their interests should not be overlooked. The 2027 elections loom on the horizon, and the choices made in forming the government will undoubtedly shape the political landscape for years to come. President Tinubu and his team must seize this opportunity to forge a path towards unity, inclusivity, national progress and continuous electoral victory.

Malam Bello Hayatu is a member of the All Progressives Congress(APC). He writes from Zaria and can be reached through bhayat670@gmail.com

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