Nigeria and Lessons of Macron’s Presidency

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French Economy minister Emmanuel Macron (R) and his wife Brigitte Trogneux arrive to attend the annual Bastille Day military parade in Paris on July 14, 2015. AFP PHOTO / POOL / PASCAL ROSSIGNOL REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol /POOL (Photo credit should read PASCAL ROSSIGNOL/AFP/Getty Images)

By Eric Elezuo

The prelude to the final showdown between Emmanuel Macron of En Marche! and Marine Le Pen of the National Front (FN), was a hallmark of a story of anti-climax turned climax. It was one election where the winner was not known until the last result was announced. Its transparency was legendary. It was the French Presidential Election 2017.

In the final analysis, the election held, and the winner decided via a runoff election on May 7, 2017 with Emmanuel Macron triumphing by a reasonable margin.

The crux of the matter surfaced when one week later, just after one week, precisely Sunday May 14, outgoing President François Hollande, in an elaborate swearing in ceremony, handed over power to the incumbent President, 39 years old Emmanuel Macron.

If truth be told, Macron represents the new generation of leaders with the requisite youthful agility which Nigeria so much desire at this stage of its economic and political life, yet unwilling to put to work as a result of the inept attitude of the young generation as well as the looting of the aged class, who has used their looted wealth to silence the few outspoken ones

Going forward, Macron hit the ground running immediately as he appointed Edouard Philippe of the opposition Republican Party the Prime Minister the next day, May 15. That speaks of a President who made his plans even before expressing his intention to contest the presidency.

On May 17, two days later, the President and Prime Minister, working as the team they are, have set up the government, with ‘unprecedented characteristics’ based on total inclusion as follows:

“There are 22 ministers all together made up of 18 cabinet ministers and 4 junior ministers. Gender balance is perfect, with 11 of the 22 ministers being women. The ministers were drawn from a broad spectrum of France’s polity, including opposition parties and civil society.

“The mega Ministries of Economy, Finance, Industry and Budget, were given to two political figures from opposition Republican Party; 46 year old Bruno Le Maire, assisted by junior Minister, 34 years old Gerard Darmanin of Algerian origin).

The spread of ministerial positions was unprecedented as the Defence ministry was claimed by a woman, Sylvie Goulag, just as Laura Flessel, a black woman from French Caribbean territory Guadalupe and former Olympic gold medalist, grabbed the Ministry of Sports, a case of putting a round peg in a round hole.

Reports say that “Only four out of the 22 ministers are ex-ministers. Eleven of the 22 minister are from the civil society or industry and have never held elective offices before.

“The Ministry of Digital Technology was given to 33 year-old Mounir Mahjoubi, of Moroccan origin, who happens to be the youngest of them all.”

More unprecedented was the fact the list of the ministers was announced as promised by the Prime Minister at the exact time promised, and all the handover ceremonies were completed within three hours.

With the instruction from the Prime Minister to swing into action immediately, the new Minister of Interior immediately visited the Police in the western suburb of Paris. This happened barely an hour after assuming office, showing he had his road map already designed. There were no spurious congratulatory visitations and messages, or thank you (eye service) expressions. The next day, he was in Brussels for a meeting with his European counterparts to discuss security and immigration.

The Minister of Economy followed suit, and was in Germany the next day to meet with his counterpart and discuss the future of Europe.

Nigeria has so much to learn from the efficiency of France. Macron and his team did not consume all the energy in trying to grab political, they were also making plans of what to do with the power when it comes.

Time has come when the nation Nigeria should stop behaving like a young girl who spent all her time preparing for her wedding, but did not give a thought to the marriage itself.

This administration has been running for two years, but from the way things are going, there stills to be no clear cut direction. It took the administration six months to appoint ministers, setting the stage for the mediocrity that has been the hallmark of the Nigerian APC administration.

Time for the real change is now, and whoever is taking over from President Mohammadu Buhari, whether in the interim or in 2019, should take warnings, and of course lessons.

 

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