France’s presidential election’s final round was held on 7th May, 2017, with Emmanuel Macron emerging winner by landslide. One week after, i.e., Sunday 14th May, outgoing President, François Hollande, handed over power to the 39-yr old new President, Emmanuel Macron, who was then sworn in.
The next day, 15th May, President Emmanuel Macron appointed Edouard Philippe, of the opposition Republican Party, as Prime Minister. Two days later (17th May), President and Prime Minister have set up the government, with unprecedented characteristics: 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 are drawn from a broad spectrum of France’s polity, including opposition parties and civil society. The mega Ministry of Economy, Finance, Industry and Budget, was given to 2 political figures from opposition Republican Party, namely, 46-yr old Bruno Le Maire, Minister, to be assisted by junior Minister, Gerard Darmanin, 34, (of Algerian origin).
The Ministry of Defence was given to a woman, Sylvie Goulag – a black woman from French Caribbean territory, Guadalupe; next on the list was former Olympic gold medalist, Laura Flessel, who grabbed the Ministry of Sports. Only 4 of the 22 ministers are ex-ministers. Eleven of the 22 minister come from civil society or industry, and have never held elective offices before.
The Ministry of Digital Technology was given to 33-yr old Mounir Mahjoubi, (of Morocan origin), the youngest minister. The list of the ministers was announced as promised by the Prime Minister at 3 pm French time, precisely. All the handover ceremonies between outgoing and incoming ministers were completed before 6 pm (within 3 hours).
The Prime Minister ordered the new ministers to swing into action immediately. The new minister of interior went to visit the police in a sensitive city in the western suburb of Paris, barely an hour after assuming office, and is expected to be in Brussels on Thursday for meeting with his European counterparts to talk about security and immigration.
Likewise, the minister of economy will take-off Thursday, to Germany, barely 24 hours after assuming office, to meet with his counterpart and discuss the future of Europe.
Did we say we are running democracies in Nigeria and Africa, which we copied from the developed countries? This is the kind of efficiency in governance that should inspire us, even if some may give the usual excuse that “Rome was not built in a day.”
Is it normal that presidents, after being sworn in, would keep their people and nations waiting for 6 months or more before announcing the list of their cabinets, especially if the appointees are all from the same party (unlike in this new French government) and are well known figures, who participated in the election campaign?
Indeed, the French have set an unbeatable record of transition, the world over. We hope Nigeria will set a better example for Africa, come 2019.