I have not been looking at Minister for the Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, with keen interest – I have been looking at him with utter puzzlement!
What in the world is he thinking?
He really thinks he will just come in as Minister for the Interior, shake up what had existed since way back when, overhaul Immigrations, turn around Prisons, shape up Civil Defense, and so on and so forth?
Who are you to clear a backlog of 200 thousand plus passports in how many weeks?
Where – in Nigeria?
That’s just not how we do things in this country, Honourable Minister!
But wait a minute: isn’t that exactly what Tunji-Ojo is supposed to be doing if he truly knows his work?
Most astonishingly, Tunji-Ojo has within a very short time made us quite proud by deploying the quintessential Bola Tinubu touch in actualizing the assignment our President gave him.
On the contrary, I have long noticed a highly problematic phenomenon about political office holders, whether in elective or appointive positions.
They get into office and instead of taking charge, allow themselves to be taken hostage by the civil servants they met in place.
Nothing is more likely to guarantee the failure of a politician, or, at any rate, a political office holder, than to wittingly or otherwise allow those you are supposed to lead end up leading you whilst pretending to be following you.
Adenike Grange, accomplished and celebrated professor of Pediatrics, allowed herself to be led (actually misled) by those she was supposed to lead and ended up losing her job.
Truth is, if you are given a political appointment, a delicate balancing act is thereupon called for on your part.
You must of course require and be receptive to the briefing of those you met on ground and respect them, but, you are their leader, the President’s appointee, a Minister of the Federal Republic and their boss, and, they either shape up or be shipped out.
Imagine if what we heard from the Federal Ministry of Labour was not always about negotiating with ASUU or the NLC but something such as an intervention that ensures that no fuel pump attendant in Nigeria should earn BELOW a certain amount well ABOVE the minimum wage.
Or, that any employee, be it in the private or public sector, must be enrolled for pensions and healthcare insurance.
Even as a lawyer, I do not know if the Ministry of Labour has ever prosecuted anyone for breaching the law by underpaying their staff or howsoever shortchanging them.
Imagine if the Ministry of Police Affairs made it a priority to have functioning world-class crime labs in the six geopolitical zones, or, at any rate, at least one in the South and one in the North.
Imagine if the Ministry of Science and Technology could, at the end of each year, “do Christmas for us” by detailing how many inventive Nigerians it had supported to become actual, active and viable entrepreneurs.
Imagine if the Ministry of Health came up with a policy that ensures that in any hospital, the emergency, pharmacy, accounts, and records departments should always be no less than within a reasonable proximity to one another that should not unnecessarily inconvenience patients.
Imagine if the Ministry of Agric viewed farmers/herders clashes as the food production challenge it ultimately is rather than the ethno-religious notions by which it is presently framed, and came up with economically sound solutions that do not disclose sociopolitical undeliverables.
Imagine, imagine, imagine.
That’s governance for you: imagination, action and evaluation.
Well, wait for it – wait for what?
For the backlash, of course!
I would be dumbfounded if those that had erected nonperformance and ineptitude in the strongholds Tunji-Ojo is now so courageously and imaginatively pulling down are not already going for his jugular.
They will do the same to other Ministers, presidential aides and appointees who will inevitably rock the boat as they settle down and get their show on the road.
What then do we do?
For our own good and the good of our country, we should react with the presence of mind and agility of participating citizens in the destiny of our nation, for it is only to the extent that we invest our President and his crew with the requisite support to execute his agenda that he will be able to deliver for us.
President Tinubu is the quintessential sporter and recruiter of talents, well known for equipping, priming and motivating them to excel.
Ministries and portfolios are different from one another, quite apart from the fact that people have their different styles and approaches to work, even as we all do in life.
What I’m sure of is that we have not seen anything yet because this presidential crew will surprise, impress and deliver for this country.
In fact, in other Ministries, departments and agencies, the signs are already equally promising and Nigerians have cause to look forward to a new paradigm of governance in our country.
Mohammed Idris Malagi, Dele Alake, Dave Umahi, Betta Edu, and a host of others are already showing their mettle within mere months in office.
The likes of Bayo Onanuga hit the ground running (except that in his own case, he was doing his work, all along, appointment or no appointment) even as Ali M Ali, has quickly signposted his determination to revamp the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN.
These are the kinds of guys Bola Tinubu rolls with: people you give a job and get that job done.
This is the crew President Tinubu is assembling and I have the evidence of his sterling record of pacesetting and sustained performance, leadership and mentorship to repose confidence in my President to deliver for my country.
President Bola Tinubu is a man who impresses by performing and his performance always ends up impressing.
I believe the will of God is already at play in Nigeria and I cannot see us losing the match unless we indulge in selfharm by refusing to cheer Team Tinubu to victory.
As for Bunmi Tunji-Ojo, I am inclined to remind him to watch his back but I will rather tell him to just keep forging ahead.
Whomever might be coming for him, he has already left far behind.
Restoring Nigeria will take some time but we can be rest assured we got it right this time by making Bola Tinubu our President.
Onokpasa, a lawyer, was a member of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Presidential Campaign Council, and writes from Abuja.