In the past few weeks, the composition of the cabinet list for Lagos State, released by the state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has been in the news.
Mixed reactions greeted the composition of the list when it was released to the public by the state government, with many arguing back and forth in favour and against the names on the list.
Many communities felt short-changed and expressed their displeasure. The people of Ikorodu were not happy that despite their support and deliverance of huge votes for All Progressives Congress (APC) candidates in the last election, they were given only one slot in the cabinet list.
The people of the various indigenous communities in Eti Osa local government, despite being listed as the local government with the highest number of 12 nominees, protested that those nominated are not known to them.
The Muslim community in the state were not happy that of the 39-man list, only eight Muslims were on the list.
While the debate was intense on who should be and should not be on the list, the state House of Assembly came with a more devastating decision: rejecting 17 nominees out of the 39 names submitted by the Governor.
More astonishing was that some of those rejected by the lawmakers were members of the previous cabinet, and in fact, some considered to be super-members of the previous cabinet.
It was unprecedented in the history of the state and even Nigeria as a whole. Not since the rejection of the whole commissioners submitted by late Balarabe Musa of the People’s Redemption Party (PRP) to then National Party of Nigeria (NPN) dominated old Kaduna State House of Assembly in 1979 has there been such a wholesome rejection of commissioners list by any state House of Assembly in Nigeria. Balarabe Musa was later impeached by the Assembly members and one of his sins then was that he did not constitute a cabinet to work with him.
Many have questioned the decision of the Assembly to reject a ‘whopping’ 17 nominees, particularly those regarded as technocrats who many believed performed creditably well in the last cabinet.
The Assembly held on to its decision and the Speaker, Rt Hon Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa was emphatic that he and his colleagues will not rescind their decision, particularly when they have reasons for rejecting the nominees.
“We have our reasons for rejecting them (the nominees),” the Speaker had said last week, reacting to the fierce debates the rejection had generated.
Thegazellenews.com dug deeper into the issue and we came out with the major ‘sins’ of the rejected ‘technocrats’.
Our correspondent learnt exclusively that the technocrats were rejected for treating party matters and leaders with indifference and lack of respect.
“Because they are called technocrats, most of them show disrespect to the party and sometimes the leaders,” a lawmaker told thegazellenews.com.
According to investigations by this medium, most of them neither participate in party activities nor contribute to the party.
“How many of them pay dues to the party? How many of them participate in the activities of the party at the local level? Simply put, they’re not known at home not to talk of being known at other levels,” another lawmaker told our correspondent.
Perhaps what irked the lawmakers most was the attitude of the so-called technocrats during the last elections.
Thegazellenews.com learnt that the some of the ‘rejected’ technocrats did not participate in the last elections.
This medium learnt exclusively that some of them travelled out of Nigeria during the elections, some did not vote while some travelled back to their states of origin to vote.
“It was a high level of insensitivity, you did not contribute to the victory of the party but you want to benefit from it. No, that’s not morally right,” a leader of the party told our correspondent during the week.
There was also the issue of their relationship with their immediate environment.
“How many of them relate with the residents of their various communities? A lawmaker asked.
According to one of the Lawmakers, the state needs a cabinet that connects with the people not detached from them.
“We need cabinet members who are connected to the people. Cabinet members that can freely associate with the people of their communities, attend CDA meetings, and interact regularly with the people of their communities. Through this, the government will gauge the feeling of the people, know their demands and act on them.
“We don’t need a cabinet where commissioners will hang their shoulders. Commissioners that people won’t be accessible to the people,” another of the lawmakers told our correspondent.
Yet some were also accused of not having good working relationship with the staff.
There are reports that some staff even wrote to the Assembly using pseudo-names on why some technocrats should not be cleared.
In the aftermath of the loss by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the state in the last election, thegazellenews.com‘s investigation that one of the major reasons for the loss then was that political office holders were detached from the people.
“I don’t even know the Commissioner from my local government. They don’t come here,” a resident of Abesan Estate once told this correspondent.
Residents who spoke with this medium agreed that there is need for the appointees of government to connect with the society.
“They’re paid salaries and allowances with tax payers money, they should make themselves accessible to the people.
“When was the last time the man in charge undertake a tour of health facilities in the state to get first hand information on what’s going on?
“Has any Commissioner for Housing take a tour of the housing estates that belong to the state?
“What has the state Commissioner of Transport done with most of the BRT buses in the state packed and abandoned at Abule-Egba, Oyingbo and Ojodu without repair?
These are some of the questions being asked by residents when thegazellenews.com went to town last week.
“One of the nominees listed as coming from Kosofe is not known to the local politicians here. The fact that he has his residence here does not mean he participates in our activities. You call him a technocrat, are there no technocrats among party members who will serve his purpose and be accessible us?
“Indeed, Lagos needs a cabinet that connects with the people not a detached one,” a resident of Magbodo said on Friday, 1 September, 2023.