Opinion: Of Competence And Olaiya’s Inclusion In Tinubu’s Cabinet

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By Kemi Daniels

Professor Abideen Olaitan Olaiya is a member of the APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) that secured the victory of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as President -elect of Nigeria. His political trajectory dated back to the mid 90s. He contested for the position of APC National Secretary in 2022, he was the running mate to Late Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala in the 2019 gubernatorial race in Oyo state.

He hails from Oke Oluokun, Ibadan and bagged his Ph.D in Agronomy from the University of Ibadan in 2006.

His political experience dated back to 1995/96 when he contested for Chairman of Ibadan South East Local Government through the Zero party platform and subsequently under GDM and PDP. He contested for the Oluyole Federal seat in 2007 under Labour party with Former Governor Rashidi Ladoja as the leader.

He joined ACN in 2010 under the leadership of Chief Lam Adesina to produce Late Chief Abiola Ajimobi as Governor of Oyo State. Professor Olaiya together with Otunba Alao-Akala rejoined the APC in a political merger in 2019 to support the party in Oyo State. He has since contributed to the development of the party in all ramifications.

Olaiya, 56, lectures at the Department of Plant Physiology and Crop Production, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta.

Tinubu’s Government of National Competence and the overwhelming choice for Ministries Lead

A few days after the ‘almighty’ 2023 Presidential election was won and lost, some individuals called Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to form a government of National Unity to persuade the aggrieved and chart a call for unity in the country. This statement caused a swift flashback to the fearless statement of MKO Abiola where he promised the then Abacha’s Military Junta to form a Government of National Unity in an effort to reclaim his mandate of June 12, 1993. Were the circumstances similar in 2023? Of course, NOT. Did we need a Government of National unity? Yes, but we need to even step more further. And here the concept of competence sets in.

A Government of National Competence; first or second agenda?

No doubt, one of Asiwaju’s unique selling points is his talent for hunting talent. No one in the history of Nigeria’s political success has achieved better than him in regard to building a strong team and mentoring them to become leaders. To date, his Commissioners back in his governorship years is super relevant after 20 years. So, one’s attention was drawn to a statement credited to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu that he would form a government of national competence, this is a welcome development as against the proposed government of national unity.

An author once said “The secret behind the success of Dubai is in its leadership. Dubai Ruler, Sheikh Mohammed knows what he wants, and it is impossible for these projects to happen without his consent and personal supervision. It is obvious that he is giving men and women in Dubai full powers, but, at the same time, he holds them accountable for the outcome and the promises they make.” On this premise, it is certain that the first task for Asiwaju is not forming a government of National competence, rather, it is to have a clear understanding of what he wants for Nigeria. Thereafter, getting the team to deliver comes next.

Renewed Hope: Action Plan for a Better Nigeria

In answering the question of what Tinubu wants for Nigeria, let us take a quick look at what Tinubu’s plan entails as contained in his manifesto for Nigeria entitled Renewed Hope . The 80-page action plan is fully loaded with beautiful thoughts. It’s an action plan that needs a serious-minded team to execute. In some cases, these plans had their goals and intended solutions. Of all the plans, the flawless plan’s vision for Agriculture in Nigeria is superb. It’s actually fascinating, to say the least. The promise to bring back the commodity board which had been abandoned for so long, the creation of grain reserves and food storage, rural infrastructural development, irrigation, access to finance, farm cooperative among others are well thought out.

That’s just on agriculture, he still have unambiguous plans on national security, economy, power, oil & gas, education, and health care among other very important sectors.

The cabinet formation and list of competence
It is an open secret that the race for appointment in the Tinubu’s government has begun. The struggle is in two categories, presidency and ministerial. Under the presidency, we have the following as offices to be filled – Chief of Staff, CoS, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Special Advisers, SAs, and Senior Special Assistants, SSAs.

The name of the likes of Nasir El-Rufai, Abdullahi Ganduje, Femi Gbajabiamila, Babatunde Fashola, James Faleke, Wale Edun, Dimeji Bankole, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Bayo Onanuga and several others are all over the media space.

Flowing from names being touted in the media, it is expected that the bulk of people that will work in the presidency and in the cabinet are Tinubu’s core loyalists and competent members of the party.

For ministerial lobbying, this area comes with many complexities, scheming, and state political peculiarity. Notwithstanding all these, Asiwaju must look deep for productive personalities and not replicate a retirement benefit for former governors or political big-wigs.

Oyo State and her long list of ministerial aspirants

Oyo state stands out amongst others being a pacesetter with regards to Ministerial nomination permutations. It is going to be another form of battle royale reminiscent of internal intense party primaries. The scheming, no doubt, is similar in many other states as well.

The mere fact that Teslim Folarin of APC was unable to unseat the incumbent Seyi Makinde of PDP during the March 18 governorship election in Oyo state had made the ministerial contest even more competitive among the gladiators. Folarin has a national political war chest within the APC, and many had speculated that he may be compensated for losing the Guber race by a ministerial nomination. But this reminded me how Sunday Dare was appointed minister and Adebayo
Adelabu of APC who lost to Makinde of PDP in the 2019 governorship election was not compensated. Sunday Dare, the current Minister of Sports got the slot instead as an Asiwaju’s boy, and so he can’t be written off too in the new dispensation. The likes of Sen. Soji Akanbi, Prof. Adeolu Akande, Adebayo Shittu, KK Raji, Prof. Abideen Olaiya, Engr.Rauf Olaniyan, èrstwhile Deputy Governor to Seyi Makinde and many others are names on the radar.

Of all the names being bandied around, Prof. Abideen Olaiya stands out going by his credential in politics and profession as a good catch for Asiwaju’s passionate drive for Agricultural revival and food stability. Olaiya has the pedigree to do the magic in the agriculture ministry especially at this critical time when Asiwaju needs extraordinary performers and technocrats. More importantly, the Ministry of Agriculture had been managed by all kinds of non-agricultural experts since 1999. Aside Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, who had his degrees in Agricultural economics, no other minister till date can be said to have background in core agricultural discipline.

Ministries of Finance, Power, Education, Petroleum, Health, Foreign Affairs, Labour, and Employment are also ministries that deserve expert and committed individuals.

Olaiya preference stemmed from the fact that he is a loyal member of the party that have severally sacrifices his ambition for party success. He stepped down for APC governorship candidate in 2019 in Oyo state without any compensation . He was also asked to step down for national secretary at the last APC convention with the promised of refund not yet fulfilled till date by the party.

Olaiya was a strong supporter of Asiwaju presidential project, belonging to several support groups and PCC.

He is sincere and dedicated advocate of good governance with an NGO, Political Awareness Group (PAG) formed to his credit.

He is a competent professional in the field of agriculture, education, value reorientation and Youth development.

Olaiya is not just an ordinary Academic farmer but has personal farms scattered around Oyo, Ogun, Osun and Ondo States as well as supplying farm products and practical trainings/consultancy services to the farming communities.

Prof Olaiya was also involved in the establishment and management of private educational institutions from basic to tertiary levels, contributing immensely to attainment of millennium development goals in educational sector.

For competence in all ramifications and well suited personality for any presidential and cabinet position, Olaiya towers above his peers especially from Oyo state with intimidating credentials and academic excellence that fits in into Asiwaju’s Renewed Hope agenda for Nigeria.

Kemi Daniels , a public analyst, writes from Ibadan. Contact the writer on kemidaniels@yahoo.com

Views expressed by contributors are strictly personal and not of Precision Online Newspaper.

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