As President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration continues to take shape, there are indications that he is looking for internationally renowned technocrats to man strategic ministries in his government.
LEADERSHIP reports that since he assumed office on May 29, 2023, President Tinubu has made political and security appointments featuring high-calibre individuals whom Nigerians have described as square pegs in square holes.
Not only that; he has also spread the appointments to reflect the country’s federal character principle.
It was gathered that at the sidelines of his recent participation in the France economic summit is his intention to attract professionals with international clout to work for his government towards achieving his campaign promises.
One of such figures, a source told LEADERSHIP, is former minister of state for health in Nigeria, Mohammed Ali Pate.
His appointment as minister of state in July 14, 2011 followed his role as the executive director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency in Abuja.
He later resigned on 24 July 2013 to take up the position of Professor in Duke University’s Global Health Institute, USA. During his time as minister, he oversaw the development and implementation of Nigeria’s Saving One Million Lives Initiative, which aimed to improve maternal and child health outcomes in the country.
Yesterday, speculations that he could become the health minister in Tinubu’s cabinet gained traction after he turned down a lucrative offer to become Gavi’s next chief executive officer.
Gavi has moved to appoint David Marlow, currently Gavi’s chief operating officer, to the position of interim chief executive officer, effective 3 August 2023 after Pate declined the offer.
Pate had been approved by the Gavi Board back in February to become CEO.
According to Gavi, Dr Pate told the global health organisation’s Board Chair and Vice Chair that he had taken an incredibly difficult decision to accept a request to return and contribute to his home country, Nigeria.
Based in Geneva, Switzerland, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, is a public-private partnership that helps vaccinate half the world’s children against some of the world’s deadliest diseases. Gavi also plays a key role in improving global health security by supporting health systems as well as funding global stockpiles for Ebola, cholera, meningococcal and yellow fever vaccines, among others.
Dr. Pate has made significant contributions to the field of public health.
He led far-reaching health sector reform programmes in Africa, East Asia, and other regions of the world while serving as a Senior Health
Specialist and Human Development Sector Coordinator for the East Asia/Pacific Region and Senior Health Specialist for the African Region at the World Bank
He also served as the global director for Health, Nutrition, and Population and director of the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children, and
Adolescents (GFF) at the World Bank Group, where he led efforts to mobilise resources and improve health outcomes for women, children, and adolescents in low- and middle-income countries.
He has also been conferred with the Nigerian National
Honour of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) for his services in the health sector.
He serves as the Julio Frenk Professor of Public Health
Leadership at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Visiting Professor at the Duke University’s Global Health Institute in the United States.