In a matter of hours the curtains will fall on the first tenure of the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration, as we are ushered into a new dispensation that promises Nigeria a better deal and an accelerated improvement on the masterly successes recorded in the last four years.
The Team that will work with the President in the coming dispensation will determine greatly the pace of progress Nigeria will record in the next four years. It is therefore of prime importance that these individuals be finely selected to reflect the sterling attributes of incorruptibility, proficiency, altruism and above all patriotism which President Muhammadu Buhari espouses.
One of the most sensitive of these appointments which require thorough scrutiny and conscionable assessment of the pedigree, character and proven credentials of the appointee to be so appointed is that of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation is expected to “ensure the effective coordination and monitoring of the implementation of government policies and programmes for the overall development of the country” and is saddled amongst others with the following critical responsibilities;
i. Coordinating policy design and formulation by Ministries, Departments and Agencies for approval by Government;
ii. Serving as Secretary to the Council of State, the Federal Executive Council and other
Constitutional Councils, which are chaired by the President;
iii. Coordinating the activities of Ministries and Government Agencies on the implementation of Government decisions, policies and programmes
iv) Dealing with constitutional, political and socio-economic matters as may be referred to the Presidency;
v. Coordinating the appointments to Headship of Statutory Bodies, Commissions and Agencies by the President;
vi) Liaison with Secretaries to State Governments; et al.
To underscore the significance of this critical office, nations always put forward their best when it comes to selection and appointment of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation or Secretary of State as most nations choose to refer. If the right parameters are to be adopted in the appointment of a new Secretary to the Government of the Federation, only a minuscule few will meet up the set standards.
A meticulous search through the gallery of leaders and public servants has revealed one such patriot with towering antecedents, pedigree, immutable character and astounding credentials in the person of Dame Pauline Kedem Tallen. Rising from humble beginnings as a class teacher to the zenith of political leadership as one of the first female Ministers at the dawn of democracy in 1999 and first female Deputy Governor from Northern Nigeria, her leadership/stewardship odyssey has seen her rise steadily and meteorically all at once as a fulfilled public servant whose career is laden with a plethora of sterling achievements traversing education, politics, administration, human development, women empowerment and peace building. In 1986, she was elected as Councillor from where her lustre of excellence shone bright to elicit her appointment as Commissioner in the Plateau State Ministry of Social Development, Youth, Sports and Culture, and later Commissioner in the Ministry of Health. She served as a member of the Presidential Inauguration Committee where she still exhibited the rare streak of diligence she is known for. Thus leading to her appointment as Honourable Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, from 1999 to 2003. In 2005, she served as Chairman Governing Board, Raw Materials Research and Development (RMRDC). In the same year, 2005, her infectious patriotism merited her conferment with the priceless Award of National Honors of the Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR), by His Excellency, President Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR in appreciation of her unwavering and invaluable contribution to national development.
By dint of hardwork, sheer commitment, proven track records and an unquenchable desire to better the lot of her people, she was elected as Deputy Governor of Plateau from 2007 to 2011 making her the first ever female Deputy Governor in Northern Nigeria. In recognition of her vast political touch across the nation, she was appointed National Adviser of The National Campaign Women Council APC under the Chairperson of Mrs. Aisha Buhari, as well as Member Board of Trustees of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in 2015. She is presently the Chairman, Governing Board of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA).
It is noteworthy to emphasise that throughout her leadership sojourn from the grassroots to the national level she has maintained fervid and unbroken incorruptibility fused with her excellent performance record which earned her a presidential commendation. She continues to maintain a steadfast walk on the almost solitary pathway of integrity, hard work, discipline, decorum, respect for work ethics/ rules, adherence to due process and above all maintaining a finely trained skill for inclusive leadership that addresses the felt needs of the Masses. A renowned nationalist, detribalized Nigerian and highly revered global citizen, she is famously quoted to have said “You know me well. I am not a tribalist. I do not treat people based on sentiments. I believe in fairness to all”. Indeed these are exceptional qualities a candidate for appointment as Secretary to the Government of the Federation should possess.
It is also worthy of note to emphasise the calm mien of this altruistic patriot with a controlled temperament, composure, exposure and religious tolerance which qualifies her for the job. She is also widely travelled with vast diplomatic reach which will help strengthen multilateral and bilateral relationships with other nations. We must reiterate that In all her Public life she has never been associated with corruption. She is known for selfless service and humanitarian endeavors. She has always been a Mother to the poor, widows, women and youths irrespective of where they come from. She will therefore add value to President Buhari’s government in her capacity as Secretary to the Government of the Federation. Another plus is her fervid knack for quality education which spurred her on as the first female to establish a private nursery and primary school in Plateau state – Shendam Private School – which has produced a lot of innovative front liners in the medical profession, law, engineering and several other critical sectors. It is no strange fact that there exists a strong nexus between quality education and development. It is therefore empirical to decipher the fact that Dame Pauline Tallen will contribute greatly in redirecting our national educational policy for the “town to meet the gown” on a trajectory of innovative development.
Finally, it is important to draw attention to the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari has promised inclusive governance and involvement of women in the top hierarchy of national leadership. This is clearly in consonance with global trends where women have been appointed/elected to top positions where they performed creditably well. Women such as Angela Merkel, German Chancellor; Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund; Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Jacinda Arden, Prime Minister of New Zealand; and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, President of Croatia – whose display of support for her national team at the 2018 FIFA world cup set a shining example for world leaders and inspired the Team to the finals of the competition; have all left indelible marks on the world leadership arena. In the United States of America, Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton respectively served as Secretary of State at various times and impacted positively on governance and policy matters.
Undoubtedly, posterity has thrown up Dame Pauline Kedem Tallen as that woman who will give the required Filip to the good intentions of Mr. President (as Secretary to the Government of the Federation) in the coming administration, measure up to and even surpass the achievements of other female world leaders and strengthen efficiency, transparency, prudence, rapid development and good governance for the accelerated forward voyage of our dear nation Nigeria. The best times are surely here for Nigerians as President Muhammadu Buhari is poised to work with an incorruptible and roundly competent Team.