Favour Afolabi: Nigeria and the dearth of “Available Intellectualism”

Today marks 100 days (or so) since Muhammadu Buhari won the elections – and while I care about; and have made known my position so many times, about his non-composition of a Cabinet – perhaps the more worrying signal for me here is that “Our Polity has refused to even explore names in public discussions about the NAMES that should be considered for key MDAs.”

It has never been this bad (and sad) – in the times past, as new Governments came into Office; or as the incumbent was making plnas to reshuffle his cabinet, you would a flurry of “Intellectual conversations” regarding what names should be put forward due to their competence, temperaments, exposure, etc to fill certain offices.

This used to be a very engaging and enlightening exercise as it also provided an opportunity to know hidden gems – at home and abroad – that had excelled in different spheres that could come to serve the nation – it was in the midst of such processes that names like Charles Soludo, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nasir El-Rufai, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Oby Ezekwesili, Barth Nnaji, Adewunmi Adesina, Arunma Oteh, Mansur Mukhtar, Omobola Johnson, Dora Akunyili, Frank Nweke II, Olusegun Aganga, Yomi Kale, Nuhu Ribadu, etc were discovered.

All these people – irrespective of their eventual political affiliations and directions contributed their respective quota to our National life before moving on to other responsibilities – so I’m really concerned that in the last 100 days, we have not been able to have newer names being mentioned especially regarding certain positions – as important Finance, Economy, Oil, Agriculture, etc.

Could it be that this nation is fast giving up on “Expertise/Proven Intellectualism” for “Politics?” Because all we hear about is the constant jostling for “Chief Of Staff to the President” and “Secretary to Government of the Federation” (largely and strictly political jobs) compared to those of manning the Economy, our Education, Medical, Transportation, etc sectors.

I have always insisted that “The bigger problem Nigeria faces is with the Educated/Elite Class rather than with the Politicians” – they are the ones that from time to time choose “to switch off” from dealing certain issues that should ordinarily go beyond Politics yet choose to “play Politics” with these things while trying to be “politically correct” – and this particular subject is one in which they are now failing the nation. Add the media to that category – I’m not coming across Editorials highlighting and suggesting names as we should have considered neither am I getting that from “the newer media” – the Blogging Community – neither are we hearing anything from “The Elders in this Nation.”

Then again, perhaps we have all given up to say “Baba knows best; he will do what’s best for the nation” – for which I disagree – “Baba is not God” – perhaps this is even the problem he is facing right now – the over-concentration and dependence of “his tiny inner circle” – who seem to have the feeling of invisibility suggesting “we know what Baba wants!” Please, someone should wake Baba up; this is 2015; not 1983; you would have to be open to ideas – and consult widely to get this task of picking a team done – this excuse of “In the fullness of time, we would have finished studying the Handover notes to pick Ministers is beginning to sound stale” – my guess is “Buhari is short of GOOD names hence his reluctance to release what he has.”

Deep down, he now knows he over-promised during the campaigns seasons and he would now have to find Men/Women of higher stature, dexterity and brilliance than NOI, Adesina, Aganga, etc to prove to Nigerians that “he means business” – so I beg and appeal to Nigerians – especially thosee that voted for him to stand up to begin to suggest names” to Baba that he can use.

Those Intellectuals that always said “what’s the big deal with NOI or Adesina; anyone can do better than them” should please begin to drop the names of “those anyones.”

Favor Afolabi writes for Online Republic

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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