On Thursday 27 July, 2023, the highly anticipated ministerial list of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu was delivered to the Senate by the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, to kick start the screening and confirmation process. The President in trying to beat the 60-day window stipulated in the Constitution could only send in names of 28 ministerial nominees with at least 12 more names expected to be submitted in the coming days.
A cursory look at the list reveals a certain deliberateness by the President, which has escaped the notice of many – the President wants to kill many birds with one big stone. This first list indicates the President is setting up a government of national unity as he promised after his victory at the polls. This follows the nomination of current members of the PDP (former Governor Nyesom Wike) and Accord Party (Adebayo Adelabu) as Ministers.
The list also shows a deliberate headhunting of talents and proven performers by the President with an eye for those who will assist him carry out some of his landmark visions and campaign promises. Let’s take Ahmad Dangiwa from Katsina, who is likely to handle the Ministry of Housing for example. Ahmad Dangiwa was the former Managing Director of the Federal Morgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) between 2017 to 2022. Ahmad Musa Dangiwa, an architect by training is a pure definition of a technocrat and within 5 years radically transformed the Federal Morgage Bank of Nigeria.
He increased National Housing Funds (NHF) Collection from N232.8bn to a record N500bn, disbursed housing loans of about N163bn in just 5years (before then, FMBN disbursed a total of N152bn loans in 25 years), increased the Morgage Bank’s housing stock from 20,435 housing units across Nigeria as at 2017 to over 33,000 when he left office, increased National Housing Fund refunds to about N50bn from N10.8bn he met in 2017, reduced equity requirements from 10% to 0% on Loans of N5m and below and from 30% to 10% on loans above N5m to make houses accessible and affordable for Nigerians.
Ahmad Dangiwa also created the revolutionary Rent-To-Own Mortgage Product of the FMBN with 0% equity contribution and reduced the interest rate from 9% to 7%, he put in place the Individual Construction Loans for contributors with legal lands and reasonable bill of quantities to access and build their houses, increased repayment period for teachers, made access to renovation loans easier by removing collateral as a requirement and restructured the Cooperative Housing Development Loans, with around 5,000 housing units already built for 160 Corporate Bodies within his tenure.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is passionate about consumer credit as a way of reducing the propensity to be corrupt since you can get a house, car, etc with payments spread across your active working years. This is why he is bringing on board to his cabinet, an Architect from Katsina that has already performed creditably along that line in the housing sector. Two other examples of the President’s deliberateness with his ministerial nominations are Prof. Ali Pate and Wale Edun.
Prof. Ali Pate is an Medical Doctor trained in both internal medicine and infectious diseases. He has a Masters in health system management from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and an MBA with a certificate in health sector management from Duke University. He was an Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency from 2008 to 2011 when he became Minister of State for Health under President Goodluck Jonathan for two years before resigning. He took up so many international roles in the Health sector including World Bank Group’s Global Director for Health, Nutrition and Population as well as the Director of its global financing facility, leading the bank’s $18 billion COVID response between 2019-2021. In February, 2023 he was named Chief Executive Officer of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance. He is most likely going to be the Minister of Health.
Wale Edun. A name as constant as Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Alongside Dele Alake, Wale Edun has been one of enduring think-tanks of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu right from his time as Governor of Lagos State. He served the Commissioner for Finance in Lagos State between 1999 to 2007 and was instrumental, alongside few other members of then Governor Bola Tinubu’s kitchen cabinet, in shaping the developmental trajectory of Lagos in the Fourth Republic. He is a seasoned investment banker who has Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of London and a Master’s Degree in Economics from the University of Sussex, England.
Wale Edun is the Chair of ChapelHillDenham Group, Lagos, a leading investment bank. He was an Executive Director and Co-founder of Lagos Merchant Bank, Investment Banking & Trust Company Limited, now Stanbic IBTC. He has also worked at the World Bank and other international financial institutions such as Lehman Brothers and Chase Manhattan Capital Markets Corporation in New York, USA. He is simply a versatile financial expert. It is obvious Wale Edun played crucial role in the drafting of the Renewed Hope manifesto of the President and is therefore expected to be part of the drivers as Finance Minister.
Beyond these three individual examples I briefly analysed, one can see the deliberateness of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in nominating 7 women out of the 28 names so far submitted to the Senate, that is 25% of the list. He promised to give women a prominent role in his government and he is walking the talk. The list also shows the intention of the President to have former Governors who are proven performers in his cabinet. For example, the President personally made sure that Mallam Nasir El-Rufai will be in his cabinet and is set to be a Super Minister alongside Senator Dave Umahi who is undoubtedly the best Governor South East has seen since 1999.
Ex-Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Ex-Governor Muhammed Badaru of Jigawa State and the legal luminary from Kwara State, Lateef Fagbemi are also very crucial nominees that will play significant roles in the next four years of Tinubu administration. The entire nominees in this first batch is relatively balanced in terms of age, gender, political capacity and track record of performance. The President is bent on entrenching technocracy in his government and will assign portfolios to the nominees based on their areas of proven expertise. President Tinubu’s cabinet will surely be a cabinet of technocrats.