Recommended

#Recommended: Expertise & Governance

By on March 31, 2016

O Canada…..What a cabinet!
Minister of Health is a Doctor.
Minister of Transport is an astronaut.
Minister of National Defense is a Sikh Veteran.
Minister of Youth is under the age of 45.
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food is a former farmer.
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness was a Scout.
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development was a financial analyst.
Minister of Finance is a successful businessman.
Minister of Justice was a crown prosecutor and is a First Nations leader.
Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities is a visually impaired Paralympian.
Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Canadian Coastguard is Inuit.
Minister of Science is a medical geographer with a PhD.
Minister of Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees was an Immigration critic.
There are scientists in the cabinet, and it is made up of 50% women.

Whilst I commend my favourite Prime Minister in the world, I am not sure Medical Doctors have the best training and experience for Healthcare Administration. This rings true for many other cabinet positions. I have always been an advocate for youth representation but the experiences in Nigeria (a very peculiar example) show that being young is not a guarantee for expertise, vibrancy or even a capacity to deliver or administer public offices.

However, I presume the essence of the post, in contrast to Nigeria, is to communicate that seemingly round pegs have been placed in round holes and each Canadian Minister has been trained in the respective areas. Whilst previous administrations in Nigeria attempted this with the major cabinet positions, government agencies and departments were seemingly handed to professionals of questionable experience to manage.

Critics have argued that administrative experience is the thrust of cabinet appointments and ministerial leadership. Whilst I agree in part, I also disagree that a Medical Doctor will make an effective Minister for Education even though he/she is well trained. There are always aspects of a field that require core expertise or technical know-how to administer. Another argument in favour of this school of thought is that a Minister can always appoint special advisers. The simple counter-argument would be that appointing an ‘industry insider’ reduces the expense of the Minister’s Office and Personal Staff. No Minister should expend so much in hiring advisers when he/she should possess the requisite experience to take these decisions.

President Muhammadu Buhari recently retorted to critics that he has 3 more years to prove them right or wrong. I doubt that response is desirable for a President who was so critical of his predecessors especially Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. So many developments from the Buhari Administration smack of shameless hypocrisy nonetheless, as a citizen I recognise my role to offer all the support possible towards the success of this government. This is simply because when Buhari succeeds, Nigeria grows and develops further. And if he doesn’t….(I will leave this till 2019 to express my fears), I hope he will have the integrity to admit the failures in his stewardship and extend an olive branch to his successor.

So far, whilst President Buhari has failed to match or surpass women representation in his cabinet, Prime Minister Trudeau has achieved 50%. One week after the world celebrated International Women’s Day (#IWD2016), the Nigerian Senate voted against the Gender & Equal Opportunities Bill (#GEOBill).

“I’ll Keep Saying I’m A Feminist Until There’s No Reaction…If you’re a progressive, you really should be a feminist because it’s about equality, it’s about respect, it’s about making the best of the world that we have…”

– Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Till 2019. For now, I rest…

NB: I saw the opening quote on Facebook and thought to share.

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EMILIA ASIM

Emilia loves to bring ideas to life, read and write, and is passionate about learning, meeting and connecting people. She has garnered experience in all facets of the Integrated Marketing Communication gamut (especially print, electronic and digital media), youth development and specialised media communications. A graduate (MSc. & BSc.) of Mass Communication from the University of Lagos, she has completed various training programmes on Sustainability, Corporate Social Responsibility, Environmental & Social Risk Management, Corporate Reporting, Development Communications, Corporate Governance and Executive Coaching amongst many others.