The President might be having problem with the issue of trust, thereby looking to appoint only those that will stay loyal to him, but we also want him to look beyond loyalty. No matter how loyal appointees are to the President, they also need to know what to do and how to do it once they get the jobs. The ability to manage, design, and effectively carry out new programmes, implement key legislation, and deliver services should be prominent—indeed primary—criteria for choosing potential appointees.
It is worrisome that in Nigeria, when it comes to selecting people for the executive arm of the government, we tend to abandon professional standards. The professional standards we do observe are limited to technical and programme expertise. The ability to manage, design, and effectively carry out new programmes, implement key legislation, and deliver services has never been prominent criteria for evaluating potential political appointees in this country. Would any large corporation place at the head of its major operating division a person with no experience in managing funds or supervising people? What enterprise would fill every senior management position with a person with little or no industry experience? Who would accept the mindless notion that any loyal or good-spirited individual can run a government agency?
And whether or not the President appoints political opponents in his cabinet or not, the issue is that quality matters. The greater the administrative challenge, the more sophisticated the design needed to exploit it, and the greater the premium on analytical ability, managerial and political skills, and personality—on those skills that bring out the best in a government