Tinubu’s Cabinet: An Assembly of Political Beneficiaries and Close Allies by Olu Fasan

Tinubu’s Cabinet: An Assembly of Political Beneficiaries and Close Allies by Olu Fasan

President Bola Tinubu’s reputation as a shrewd talent spotter has crumbled since his ascendancy to the presidency.

Heralded for his skill in assembling capable teams during his governorship in Lagos State, the reality of his presidency has exposed a different story. 

The once-cherished belief that he could replicate his Lagos success on a national scale has been shattered as he unveiled a team of ministers with critical flaws.

Tinubu’s incoming cabinet is set to make history for all the wrong reasons.

With an overwhelming 48 ministers and over 20 special advisers and senior special assistants at the cabinet level, his administration is poised to lead with the most unwieldy and bloated cabinet in Nigeria’s political history. 

However, the magnitude of this issue pales in comparison to his inclination towards prebendalism.

Prebendal politics, defined as rewarding political supporters with public offices, has deep roots in Nigerian governance. 

Nonetheless, Tinubu has elevated this practice to unparalleled heights. 

Amidst widespread poverty and economic challenges, he has paved a clear path for political opportunists to seize positions of power, further distancing his administration from addressing the needs of the Nigerian people.

Tinubu’s appointed ministers can be broadly categorized into three groups, each emblematic of his political motivations. 

The first group consists of those rewarded for their roles in his emergence as a presidential candidate and eventual victory. 

The second group comprises election losers who are offered political platforms to reclaim their ambitions. 

Lastly, the third group includes long-time political allies from both Lagos and national spheres.

Notably absent from his incoming team are genuine technocrats. 

The dearth of true technocratic expertise exposes a critical flaw in his approach to governance. 

Technocrats, who possess technical proficiency to serve the common good, are often undermined by the intricacies of politics including deceit, manipulation, and incessant politicking. 

Many of Tinubu’s touted “technocrats” are, in reality, deeply entrenched in political maneuvering.

Take the example of Adebayo Adelabu, a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. 

Despite his technical acumen, his political aspirations continue to overshadow any genuine technocratic efforts. 

This pattern persists across Tinubu’s so-called “technocratic” selections, including former Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State. 

Their ambitions and loyalties cast a shadow on their ability to focus on effective governance.

This struggle between technocracy and political loyalty is a recurring theme in Tinubu’s cabinet. 

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s experience as President Olusegun Obasanjo’s finance minister serves as a stark contrast. 

Her readiness to prioritize technocratic integrity over personal interests remains a rarity in Tinubu’s circle. 

Instead, many of his appointees are entrenched in an echo chamber of personal allegiance.

Tinubu’s indebtedness to various benefactors has further shaped his cabinet choices. 

From those who aided his presidential bid to power brokers instrumental in his success, his cabinet boasts a significant number of former governors. 

However, investigative journalism reveals their questionable eligibility, with corruption allegations and dubious records marring their credentials.

Nasir el-Rufai’s involvement, particularly in advocating for a Muslim-Muslim ticket, illustrates the prioritization of personal and political gains over national unity. 

This is a departure from Nigeria’s history of religious balance in governance. 

Even individuals like El-Rufai and Festus Keyamo, known for their divisive politics, have secured positions in what appears to be a calculated move by Tinubu.

Tinubu’s electoral performance in his supposed political stronghold of the South-West has also raised questions. 

With victory margins attributed to the support of influential figures like Ayo Fayose and Governor Seyi Makinde, his hold on the region seems tenuous. 

The Northern votes that contributed to his controversial triumph are also viewed skeptically, given the machinations involved.



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