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Between Usman Bugaje’s conversation and Tinubu’s competence

Between Usman Bugaje’s conversation and Tinubu’s competence
February 21
12:35 2024

While I respect Dr. Usman Bugaje’s opinion, given the fact that he is a distinguished Islamic scholar, historian, political activist, civil society leader, former Special Adviser to Atiku Abubakar and one who rejected an ambassadorial appointment in 2016 under former President Buhari, I disagree with his assessment that President Bola Tinubu lacks solutions to Nigeria’s problems. Tinubu possesses the brilliance and intelligence necessary to lead the nation.

However, his approach of relying heavily on those who aided his electoral victory instead of seeking out the most competent individuals for crucial positions raises concerns.

This reliance on political appointees over proven professionals in key ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) appears shortsighted and potentially detrimental.

When appointments are based solely on political affiliation rather than competence, it undermines the effectiveness of those institutions and hinders progress.

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The current situation, where “myopic political followers” of “parochial political leaders” hold leadership positions in various MDAs regardless of their qualifications, perpetuates a system that prioritises political gain over national well-being. This approach, if continued, can exacerbate existing challenges, such as the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

To overcome these obstacles and ensure Nigeria’s prosperity, a shift towards meritocratic governance is crucial.

By prioritising competence and expertise over political connections in crucial positions, the government can unlock the true potential of its institutions and effectively address the nation’s pressing issues.

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Take the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for instance.

In 2007, NDDC spent about N2 billion to build two rice mills in Akwa Ibom and Elele Alimini in Rivers State.

Almost two decades after, those rice mills have become a thorn in the flesh of both the Commission, and the region in the face of a drastically rising cost of rice, a major staple food in the Niger Delta and Nigeria.

Through these two decades, successive management boards of the NDDC have continued to attempt to resuscitate and revive these rice mills which have even been rejected by concessionaires.

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A recent concessionaire on the multi billion naira Elele Alimini Rice Mill, The Elephant Group recently gave up on managing the facility years after it was handed over to them in 2017.

All this would have been prevented if we had competent people managing NDDC as a presidential intervention programme, and not politicians and political followers who pandered to the politics in delivering improperly planned multi-billion Naira rice mill projects.

The Niger Delta, once again, like always, continues to be a victim to mediocrity and incompetent ombudsmen.

Kerley writes from Port Harcourt, Rivers state.

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