Dear 2023 Governorship/Presidential Aspirants, Joe Biden has a message for you

The past couple of weeks has seen the world’s attention fix on the presidential election in the United States of America with democracies across the world learning one or two lessons. The latest move by the Democrats’ candidate and President-elect, Joe Biden is something countries like Nigeria can learn from.

Biden who was a two-term vice president has announced not less than nine top staff appointments to his incoming administration but his swearing-in won’t even come this year, it won’t be until January 20, 2021.

On the contrary, the last time presidential election held in Nigeria was February 2019 and it took five months, precisely July, for President Buhari to send his list of nominees to the House of Senate. In his first tenure, aides and assistants including the likes of Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu were appointed on May 31, 2015, two months after Goodluck Jonathan conceded defeat.

Away from the presidency, governors run the government without a cabinet for months, sometimes years. For instance, former Osun Governor, Rauf Aregbesola didn’t appoint a cabinet in his second tenure until well after two years. 

At the local government level, caretakers have displaced chairmen as it appears comfortable for states to be in charge of local government allocations than oversee elections which would put the congruous leadership in place. Even caretakers are appointed months after the governor has been sworn-in.

Decisions on appointment of aides, advisers and cabinet are what should have been made in the buildup to the election. Any entity serious about taking over governance should have earmarked those who would occupy certain positions in the eventuality of victory. This would allow for not only ease of transition but also time to plan ahead of power assumption. While there are variables that could change and appointments to make room for hitherto opposition figure and last minute alliances, the spine of administration should have been drafted before taking the to the polls.

For the party which finds itself on the losing end, a shadow cabinet can be formed which would have members mirroring actual ministerial positions. This would allow for devoted scrutiny of government policies and actions. Many political analysts have already expressed that the opposition party in Nigeria leaves much to be desired in keeping the government on their toes.

From those in power to the opposition, this is a lesson on preparation for governance as another election cycle slowly approaches. Instead of scampering and scuttling months after election, the Nigerian political space can start giving preparation for governance the same intensity it gives elections. It has much to do with their success or otherwise in office.

In summary, election is just a process, governance is the destination.

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