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Should ministerial nominees be partisan or technocrats?

April 10, 2018

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Should ministerial nominees be partisan or technocrats?

Nigeria has enjoyed democracy for more than a decade and yet our political system and processes are full of hanky panky. We have seen politicians emerge only to fill their pockets and that of their coming generations. Every campaign promise is the same, water, housing, roads, good education, and health since the days of Abiola. This means as a country we are not even growing. Is our democratic process the issue or the system at which they operate the problem?

“Technocrats are good only if they are willing to carry out the painful reforms which political governments fear to implement for loss of public vote,” said a political science expert.

The incumbent government who attained power in 2015 took 6 months to appoint ministers. This contributed to the country’s decline into recession, although the government places all the blame on mismanagement of resources by their predecessors. Meanwhile, his choice of ministers is questionable. Contrary to his “Change”, we saw familiar politicians who were part of Nigeria’s problem among his ministerial list. This begs the question, should we be agitating for a technocratic government in 2019?

The term “technocracy” – derived from the Greek word “tekhne” meaning “skill” – rose to prominence in the US when engineer Howard Scott formed a group of engineers in 1919 that later proposed a new form of economic management as a radical response to the Great Depression.

A technocratic government is one in which ministers are not career politicians; in fact, in most cases, they are not members of any political parties. They are instead “experts” in the fields of their respective ministries. The classic example is that the Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, during the Obasanjo regime, who was an internationally recognized expert in economics and government policies.

What technocrats are expected to do, is rise above the paralyzing political rancor in the country to build a new Nigeria with their expertise. Technocrats, by reputation, competence, and experience, can convince markets and powerhouses that they represent true change. Another advantage of technocrats is that they are swift to action and can roll up their sleeves to get to work.

In the end, if we keep recycling politicians we are not going to get the desired result. It is only apt that we give technocrats the enabling environment to lead this country for once.

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Founder & Publisher of Youthcentral.ng. I tell stories about young Nigerians across the globe, entrepreneurship and youth culture.