(EDITORIAL) Cabinet selection- Thumbs up Mr Trump, lessons for Nigeria!

by AljazirahNigeria | February 14, 2017 10:37 am

There are certainly clear lessons our political leaders in Africa particularly Nigeria can learn from the actions of about to be sworn in American President Donald Trump since he won the race to the Oval Office in a landslide victory that has left the global community still amazed weeks on end.

His actions before and immediately after the historic victory shows he is prepared for the job and is certainly not joking that the ‘rebirth’ of the United States of America was just around the corner.

Precisely three weeks after his trouncing of his major challenger, Hillary Clinton in a massive but highly intriguing 2016 presidential campaign, his transition team began churning out top staff hires and Cabinet members.

AljazirahNigeria learnt that there are just over 4,000 political appointments to be made by the incoming administration.

About 1,200 of them will require Senate confirmation — the Cabinet secretaries and their deputies, as well as those appointees who will oversee some independent agencies, like the CIA and EPA.

Many of these nominees must go through an intensive vetting process and Senate hearing.

Here are some of the top picks of the the largely abrasive incoming president that shows a man who means business.

There is the Energy Secretary, Rick Perry, a former Texas governor who sits on two corporate boards – one of them is Energy Transfer Partners – who is believed to be a great asset to the Trump presidency.

There is Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, the CEO of ExxonMobil, the largest oil company in the world which operates in dozens of countries and has oil and natural gas interests on six continents.

There is the Labor Secretary, Andy Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants, which owns fast food restaurants Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s who is believed to have the blunt political edge his soon to be principal has .

There is of course Homeland Security Secretary, Retired Gen. John Kelly, a ‘Marine with a reputation for bluntness.’ Kelly was the commander of U.S. Southern Command until earlier this year. In that posting, he oversaw American military operations in South America and Central America.

Before that, he commanded American forces numerous times in Iraq, and spent a year as the top Marine in that country. He then was an aide to defense secretaries Leon Panetta and Robert Gates.

There are other great assets like Housing and Urban Development Secretary, renowned Ben Carson; National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn; Defense Secretary, Retired Gen. James Mattis; Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross; Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin; Transportation Secretary, Elaine Chao; Health and Human Services Secretary, Tom Price; Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos; Attorney General, Jeff Sessions and other notable corporate and political personalities many political pundits believe would enrich the incoming government.

Mr Trump to show his seriousness to use quality hands equally came down to Nigeria despite his less than sterling love for Sfrican leaders to select Adebayo Ogunlesi, a Nigerian billionaire and investment banker.

Ogunlesi is expected to join Trump’s cabinet as part of a policy and strategy forum, which is poised to help Trump bring back jobs and “make America great again,” a statement by the Trump team said recently.

Ogunlesi is the chairman and managing partner of Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), a New York-based private equity firm, with over $35 billion assets under investment. Born in Sagamu, Ogun state, Nigeria, in 1953, he is the son of Theophilus Ogunlesi, Nigeria’s first professor of medicine. He is a sterling product of King’s College, Lagos,  Oxford University Harvard University.

AljazirahNigeria views it as a sad trend that while President Muhammadu Buhari spent over 6 months to assemble a dismal cabinet that has failed to meet the aspirations of Nigerians, Mr Trump has hit the ground running and will certainly perform excellently well if he allows this crème de la crème to perform at their duty posts without undue interference.

AljazirahNigeria believes that President Buhari and indeed incoming leaders both within and outside the shores of the nation should pick a leaf from this attitude book of Mr Trump which shows preparedness for the job at hand.

Picking capable hands for any political job is the bulwark of success for any political leader. The ability to also pick them on time after an intensive consideration is also germane.

The timing does not have to be months as in the case of our dear President especially if one is already prepared to take over the mantle of any leadership position.

President Buhari spent years campaigning to take charge at the Aso Rock Villa. Yet when the time came to pick a cabinet, it became a quagmire. Many of his decisions are still constituting a nightmare for Nigerians till date.

Trump has no such luxury but had to depend on a few months to embark on a rigorous campaign which led to victory and then a subsequent few weeks to pick those to work with him even before his official swearing in in January 2017.

The question is pertinent- must African leaders always have to learn the nuances and intricacies of political leadership from third world nations?
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