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Ministerial Scorecard TOWARDS MAY 29

27 May 2013

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President Goodluck  Jonathan



PROLOGUE
As Hope Flickers in the Distance...

By Okechukwu Uwaezuoke

There would always be cynics on the standby to scoff. Whatever the government flaunts as its achievements, it would never so easily notch a high approval rating. The spotlight, meanwhile, gropes frantically for good governance. And good governance implies – or must transmute to – a better life for the people.  For of what use is the announcement of an increased budgetary allocation to the education sector – to the tune of N426.53 billion, going by the latest official figures – when the rot in the sector remains glaring? Most road users still groan about the deplorable conditions of the federal highways.

The spectre of insecurity haunts and taunts the distraught populace. Healthcare has continued to fall short of the people’s expectations. Then, the power sector is still far from being what it should be.  Yet... even as the masses groan under the scourge of mistrust – the mistrust of the government – hope flickers in the distance, somewhere at the end of the dark tunnels of their minds... True: the value system has turned belly up and brazen corruption remains a hydra-headed monster, which stalks the system. But the presence of technocrats in the President Goodluck Jonathan cabinet sometimes shifts the focus away from the bleak prospects. Beneath the veil of the official Transformation Agenda sloganeering, there are indeed moments of reprieve in this administration’s apparent incoherence. Among these moments are the aviation sector’s laudable projects, which include the remodelling of the nation’s airports and the total radar coverage of the nation’s airspace. Rail transportation is being gradually revived from its decades-long coma. The talk of less dependence on crude oil-based exports is beginning to look achievable. The agricultural sector might achieve more than sufficiency in food supply and buoy the nation’s hopes of promoting non-oil exports. Indeed, despite the cant and rant of the opposition parties – and perhaps the occasional shaking of the head at the depravity of the system by some informed few – nothing suggests that Nigerians have given up hope on a better future for their country. Formal and informal business activities are still showing signs of life.

These pheromone-driven activities have kept the mills of the economy turning. Bull runs seem to have returned to the stock market... These fairytale-like feats also affirm the resilience of the average Nigerian even under the most inhospitable conditions. Of particular interest in this regard is the culture sector, which ironically is ensconced among the least-favoured federal ministries. Besides the legendary success of the local home-video industry, spectacular achievements have been recorded by visual artists, writers and musicians. Hats off, therefore, to the creative industry that President Jonathan has deemed it worthy of grants worth billions of naira! Even with low budget, the culture ministry and its parastatals have admirably managed to plod on. On the festering problem of insecurity, many Nigerians would readily accuse the current administration of ineptitude. Could President Jonathan have underestimated how much things have degenerated when he took the oath two years ago to serve the nation? Apparently, it might take a while for Nigeria to be released from the vice-like grip of this monster. Nevertheless, even with some obvious gaffes the current administration deserves the thumbs up for some of its achievements. Perhaps, were it not for the grievous sins of the past, its efforts would have impacted more on the lives of the citizenry.

As the countdown to May 29 second anniversary of the President Goodluck Jonathan administration continues, our Correspondents covering the various ministries went round assessing the projects executed by and the programmes/policies being pursued by the various ministries in the last one year against the backdrop of the promises/pledges made by the various ministers. Below is the scorecard of the ministers…

  Minister of Aviation
From Airport Remodelling, Oduah Targets the Aerotropolis

For almost 30 years, virtually all the nation’s airports had been stagnant without any major uplift until Ms. Stella Oduah emerged Aviation Minister in 2011. And less than one year after, she started and completed the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) in Lagos from the rubbles of the obsolete structure that had existed there for years. Since then five remodelled terminals have been unveiled in Lagos, Abuja, Benin, Enugu and Kano. Transformation work is also going on at the international terminal of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and other airports in the country.

Beyond airport remodelling, the minister has encouraged the growth of domestic airlines by removing import duties on aircraft importation and spares for scheduled operators. The airlines would also be assisted by the planned intervention fund, which will enable them to acquire new aircraft and boost their operation. The minister is also developing cargo terminals at the strategic agriculture potential states for the exportation of perishable and non-perishable cargo. But her larger vision remains the Aerotropolis, through which she intends to develop a commercial hub modelled around the nation’s major international airport.

Minister Oduah is known to be energetic and carries on with unprecedented zeal in the sector. But issues are being raised about the funding of the airport remodelling, many of which are of dubious quality. The minister is also accused of infiltrating the aviation agencies with non-professionals and sitting on the promotion of medium and high level officers who have spent many years in these agencies. Also, aviation analysts are watching the handling of the altercation between the Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi and some of the aviation agencies over the state government’s aircraft to see if its aviation rules that is guiding the agencies’ action and not 2015 politics.

THISDAY Assessment – Good performance

Minister of Defence (de facto Minister of Defence)
Obada: Performing
Creditably in a Job for Men

Mrs. Olusola Obada has been a stabilising force since assuming office as Minister of State for Defence. Obada performed her role in that capacity creditably well as the supervisory minister of Navy overseeing the arrival of NNS THUNDER as well supporting the then Minister of Defence, Dr. Mohammed Haliru Bello, before he was sacked last year. Bello’s sack has been like a blessing in disguise for Obada who has been able to bring her experience as former deputy governor in Osun State to bear on her expanded responsibility as both the acting Minister of Defence and Minister of State for Defence for almost a year now. Her leadership has witnessed a rapid re-organisation and modernisation of the Nigerian Armed Forces to meet the contemporary challenges like terrorism, insurgency, piracy and oil bunkering. Under Obada, the military has seen the development of a harmonised Defence Policy in line with the current realities, and the admission of female cadets into the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) for combat training. Also, the military has witnessed the promotion of first female general in the person of Rear Admiral Itunu Honotu and first female military pilot Flying Officer Blessing Liman.

But the ongoing fight against insurgency is far from being won and this remains a challenge for the military. There have also been serious challenges including limited financial resources for purchase of military equipment and overstretching of the military, as troops are now engaged in both internal and external security operations. Another serious challenge is the rise in crude oil theft, pipeline vandalisation and other criminal activities in the Niger-Delta. One of Obada’s seeming weaknesses is the inability to speak authoritatively and take charge as a substantive Minister of State in matters of National Security. She is said to be more involved in ceremonial duties than actual policy formulation and decision-making.
THISDAY Assessment – Above Average

  Minister of Interior
Moro’s Stewardship
Enmeshed in Controversy

Comrade Abba Moro’s tenure in office has been characterised by controversies, prominent among them being series of allegations of recruitment scam in most of the agencies under his ministry.  However, Moro has also recorded some successes within the period under review including the establishment of the National Fire Academy, which has trained close to 300, and the creation of the National Fire Safety Code. Some senior officers were sent on overseas courses and local training courses. Also, most of the paramilitary agencies including the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and Nigerian Prison Service (NPS) have been modernized and with well trained counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency arms. Accordingly, the reforms at NIS has brought immense results with speedy processing of international passports, better secured borders.

The minister has also been a strong advocate of Prison decongestion, amendment of the obsolete Prison Act, secured borders and favourable expatriate quota regime. The minister has raised alarm over the need to decongest the prisons, reform the laws, expedite trials and build world class prisons, at least one in each of the six geo-political zones of the country.

Nevertheless, like stated earlier the minister has been enmeshed in a lot of controversies with various allegation of nepotism, high-handedness and overbearing interference in the administrative mechanism of various parastatals under the ministry. The most prominent of these are the widely publicized power tussle with the immediate past Comptroller-General of Immigration (CGI), Mrs. Rose Chinyere Uzoma, over the control of NIS, which led to her sack, and as well the ongoing bickering over who succeeds her. There is current stalemate in the appointment of a substantive, and some of the senior officers of Immigration Service have accused the minister of having serious interest on who becomes the new CGI as he is purported to be opposed to the confirmation of the acting CGI, Rilwanu Musa.

THISDAY Assessment – Poor Performance

  Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance
Strong on Fiscal Discipline But Unemployment, Income Inequalities Persist

The former World Bank Managing Director has provided the compass with which the nation has navigated financial matters. She has been the arrow head of the government’s economic management mechanism since August 2011.

Following a grinding nationwide protest that followed the removal of fuel subsidy in January 2012, the minister set up a probe committee headed by the Managing Director, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, to check the festering corrupt practices that led to unprecedented subsidy pay-outs between 2011 and 2012. Major fallouts of the committee’s work included the indictment of 25 firms for various infractions of the subsidy regime. This culminated in the prosecution of various indicted firms and individuals. Flowing from this, the minister has been able to firm up procedures to curb the excesses that led to the breaches.

The Nigerian economy has been adjudged strong by global rating agencies, though unemployment rate is high just as some other economic indices are not flattering. With inflation now down, exchange rate relatively stable, and fiscal deficit at just a little below 2 per cent of GDP –which is below the national threshold of 3 per cent, international rating agencies such as Fitch, Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s have given the country a positive economic outlook. Nigeria’s bonds were also recently included in the Barclays and JP Morgan Emerging Market indices.  The government has also evolved innovative domestic debt management strategy to enables it tackle the huge domestic debt. A Sinking Fund has already retired N75 billion of matured bonds this year as against the practice of rolling them over. This is aimed at decelerating the debt stock in line with government’s strategic plan.

The minister recently unfolded a raft of incentives/measures to resuscitate the capital market and check abuses, over four years after the asset bubble created by margin lending and insider abuse burst. One of these is the granting of a forbearance of about N22.6 billion on the margin loans of 84 stockbrokers. Also, stamp duties and value added tax (VAT) on stock market transaction fees have been eliminated-- These have helped the market to rebound. Okonjo-Iweala achievements in the ministry in the last one year are legion. There is the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWiN), which is a flagship response to the unemployment challenge in the country. YOUWIN is a business plan competition to encourage talented young entrepreneurs to set up new businesses or expand existing ones, which will employ other people. Winners of the competition get between N1 million and N10 million in addition to low interest credit, mentoring and other forms of support. The projection is that between 80,000 and 100,000 jobs will be created in YOUWIN’s first three years.

The Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) has commenced with an initial seed capital of $1 billion. With the SWF, the Nigerian economy is expected to become more attractive for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) while unrestricted spending of unanticipated income will be curtailed.

With foreign reserves of nearly $50 billion and the Excess Crude Account (ECA) of about $5 billion, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is already projecting Nigeria’s foreign reserves to increase to about $80 billion in the next four years.

However, on the flip of these positives are a number of socio-economic challenges including high unemployment, widening inequality, and huge infrastructure deficit gaps.

The minister has also been criticised for hanging on to the old prescriptions of the World Bank and the IMF, which champion spending cuts and austerity to the detriment of economic stimulus through which new jobs can be created.
THISDAY Assessment – Above Average

  Minister of Transport
Under Umar’s Watch, Railways Have Come Alive

Senator Idris Umar is not a neophyte in government having been in the National Assembly before, though he could not be described as an expert in the transport industry before he was appointed. Since his appointment, he has done a lot to reverse the bad fortunes of the agencies under his watch. These include Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, Akwa Ibom State. Others are the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) as well as the Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology (NIIT), Zaria, Kaduna State.

A major achievement by the transport ministry under his watch is the rehabilitation of railway tracks across the country. Umar has also given impetus to the provision of mass transit buses and rehabilitation of railway lines. The Lagos-Kano railway line was launched with fanfare a few months ago. Some soldiers were recently ferried to Lagos by rail. More railway lines and provision of modern coaches fitted with air conditioning system are expected in the months ahead. In particular, the Eastern rail line from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri may be completed this year. Not a few Nigerians have expressed delight that the railways system that had gone moribund over the years is now back to life. But Nigerians are watching to see how the Transport Ministry proceeds from that feat to affect other mode of transportation, particularly road transportation, where government needs to provide more mass transit buses to help commuters in inter-city transportation.
THISDAY Assessment – Above Average

  Minister of National Planning
Usman Keeps Nigeria’s Vision 20:2020 Hopes Alive

As the coordinating arm and the pivot of the government’s economic planning, the Ministry of National Planning under the watch of Shamsudeen Usman has continued to play a major role towards the effective implementation of the Transformation Agenda and the Vision 20:2020.  It is on record that the ministry had spearheaded Nigeria’s return to strategic development planning, after about three decades of abandonment.

The minister’s scorecard in this regard includes capacity building for MDAs, development of monitoring and evaluation framework for the government, regular conduct of assessment on the performance of the Federal MDAs, development of ministerial scorecards in line with the Vision and Transformation Agenda as well as the co-ordination of President Goodluck Jonathan’s performance agreement with the ministers.

Many analysts are impressed that Nigeria has continued to record economic progress over the years; a development that feeds into the country’s improving GDP ranking.

It is instructive that while growth in the developed and many emerging markets (including the ones Nigeria seeks to overtake) has remained either static or continues to regress, Nigeria’s economy has maintained a robust growth trajectory, averaging seven per cent in the last three years. Analysts attributed this positive trend to the foresight of Usman, who had earlier presided over the Finance Ministry. Recent data posted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) put Nigeria as one of the fastest growing economies in the world, after China and India, as a result of the impressive growth of the nation’s economy.
But the problem is always with the sustenance of such profile.
THISDAY Assessment – Average

  Minister of Petroleum Resources
Alison-Madueke delivers on fuel supply but needs to do more on transparency

Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke as Petroleum Resources Minister was able to increase crude oil production from 1.3 million barrels per day (at the height of militancy in the Niger Delta) to an average of 2.4 million barrels per day.

The minster also introduced a series of reforms at the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), which has led to stability in fuel supply. She also set up a number of task forces to improve transparency, accountability and good corporate governance in the industry.

These include a Special Task Force on Governance and Controls in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other parastatals within the ministry; the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force; National Refineries Special Task Force (NRSTF) and a task force to fast track the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) by the National Assembly. The minister also inaugurated a technical committee made up of experienced industry experts to assist the special taskforce on PIB.

However, ever since the task forces submitted their reports, there has been no action on the part of the minister to implement their recommendations, thus bringing to question her commitment to industry reform and engendering transparancy and accountability in the oil and gas sector. In addition, oil industry experts have criticised the continuous secrecy in oil pricing and sales.
The delay in the passage of the PIB also remains a major challenge for the minister.
THISDAY Assessment – Above Average
 
  Minister of Power
Despite major set backs in capacity, power privatisation offers promise

Nebo, who resumed duties in February 2013, replaced Professor Bart Nnaji, who resigned in August 2012.
However, Nebo is still learning the ropes, resulting in laxity by the staff of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), and leading to persistent drop in electricity supply in the country.

The laxity stems from his ineffective coordination and monitoring of the activities in the six generation and 11 distribution companies. From his previous records, Nebo is a performer but he appears not to have fully grasped the enormity of the task at hand, as far as his new assignment is concerned.

Nebo means well for the power sector but his failure to apply sanctions for non-performance like his predecessor, Nnaji, has made electricity workers fall back to their “business-as-usual” mindset of the pre-Nnaji era.

Nnaji, as minister, did not hesitate to sack the top executives of PHCN for failing to meet performance targets. However, Nebo is said to be relying on whatever information these officials feed him with as a measure of their performance. The implication of this lack-lustre performance is that electricity supply, which had hit 4,477megawatts, currently hovers around 3,500mw under his watch.
THISDAY Assessment – Average but promising

  Zainab Ibrahim Kuchi
Minister of State for Power

Zainab Ibrahim Kuchi, Nigeria’s current Minister of State for Power, is the immediate past Minister of State, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Mediators, in a professional capacity. The minister’s schedule of responsibility includes supervision of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), construction of new hydro power stations and wind-powered stations. However, most of the new hydro power stations and wind-powered stations are still in incubation. Her responsibilities also include regular interface with the labour unions in the electricity sector. For instance, Hajiya Kuchi early this year inaugurated the implementation committee on the settlement of severance for PHCN staff.
THISDAY Assessment – Average but promising

  Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment
Aganga’s Aggressive Marketing Yields Returns for Nigeria

Aganga’s mandate as the Minister of Trade and Industry is clustered around investment, trade, industry and enterprise. In these four areas, performance indicators have been very impressive over the past two years.

In investment, the aggressive marketing strategy of the ministry is yielding fruits. Within 18 months, the Doing Business and Competitiveness and Investor-Care committees were revived; the One-Stop Investment Centre at the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission was repositioned and strengthened; the National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria was established to drive healthy competition in business and starting a business can now be done within 24 hours.


The result: UNCTAD named Nigeria the biggest destination for Foreign Direct Investment in 2012, quoting total FDI inflows of $8.92 billion; KPMG ranked the country as one of the four major investment destinations and growth areas in the world; while Global Benchmarking Network also moved Nigeria up by 12 points last year, in its Global Competitiveness Report.


Trade: Trade balance improved significantly from $8.62 billion in Q2, 2012 and $1.60 billion in Q3, 2011, respectively, to $12.37 billion in Q3, 2012 due to lower imports of goods and services and increased exports earnings. For the first time, in 2012, Aganga did not issue any import licence to import cement into the country. Also, for the first time in 2013, Nigeria is now a net exporter of cement.
In the area of industry, statistics from MAN showed that industrial capacity utilisation increased from 46.44 per cent in 2010 to 48.24 per cent. But whether all these translate into employment for the teeming unemployed in the country remains to be seen.

THISDAY Assessment – Above Average

  Dr. Samuel Ioraer Ortom

Minister of State, Trade and Investment

Dr. Samuel Ioraer Ortom is the Minister of State, Trade & Investment, a position he assumed on July 11, 2011. Even before his ascension to the office as a cabinet minister, he had vigorously contributed to nation building both at the national and state levels. He also served the Governing Council of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) as board chairman from 2009 to June 2011.
As minister of state he has backed the minister in the negotiation and crafting of industrial policies, which have helped the sector to record some modest achievements under the present regime.

Ortom’s effort in collaboration with his principal in the ministry has resulted in a rise in non-oil export by 25.5 per cent between 2011 and 2012 while the contribution of oil to total trade declined from 71.7 per cent in 2011 to 69.2 percent in 2012. Aggregate exports, according to the Bureau of Statistics, rose by 8.2 per cent, from $22.53bn in the third quarter of 2011 to $24.37bn in the third quarter of 2012. This was just as aggregate imports nosedived by 42.7 per cent to $11.99bn in the period under review.

Also, in line with the Transformation Agenda of President Jonathan’s administration, the minister of state has helped in the implementation of far-reaching Investment climate reform programmes aimed at attracting and sustaining local and foreign direct investments and also improving the country’s business environment.

THISDAY Assessment – Above Average 

Minister of Environment

Mailafia Records Modest Gains in the Environment

The Federal Ministry of Environment under Mrs. Hadiza Ibrahim Mailafia has recorded some modest achievements through its various departments and agencies within the period under review. Her achievements include the approval of Nigeria’s National Policy on Climate Change and the National Adaptation Strategy and Plan of Action (NASPA).


Also the ministry has completed the National Strategy and Action Plan for the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel and has commenced implementation of our REDD+ Programme. Both initiatives are aimed at addressing deforestation, retarding the southward advance of the Sahara and contributing to climate change mitigation.


The ministry is tackling deforestation in seven Northern states by raising six million tree seedlings and is executing erosion and flood control projects in 62 locations nationwide. To date the, ministry working with other stakeholders has raised 6,720,000 seedlings in seven desertification front line states: Adamawa, Bauchi, Jigawa, Yobe, Kebbi, Katsina, Kano, Yobe, Sokoto and Borno State under the Great Green Wall Sahara Projects.


However, besides some skirmishes between its agencies, the National Environmental Standards Regulatory Agency (NESREA) and telecommunication firms over erection of mast, the ministry seemed to have lost any new initiative on how to address daily issues of pollution, waste disposal and environmental degradation challenges.

THISDAY Assessment – Average

Minister of Culture, Tourism and Orientation

Hospitality and Tourism Takes Pride of Place under Duke

With almost two years in the saddle, Chief Edem Duke has a number of achievements to his credit while in office. One is the Abuja Carnival, which was regarded as one of the tools Duke has employed to make a difference. The last edition was the first time the Federal Executive Council would announce it had endorsed the staging of the fiesta. Despite cries of lack of funds, the ministry managed to raise the number of international participants at the Abuja Carnival. At the last count (December 2012 edition) it was eight countries participating alongside 24 states in Nigeria.


The ministry was also able to stage the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) African Tourism Minister’s Summit in Calabar June last year. The event was seen as a major coup considering rival bid countries played up Nigeria’s security challenges.
The minister also continued with the establishment of culture houses in other countries. Following up on the first of such in Brazil in 2008, the Duke-led ministry opened a Nigerian culture house in China last year, announced plans for a similar one in South Africa this year and has voiced its desire to open more of such in the Caribbean (Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago especially) where the minister has been strengthening ties. 


Duke’s tenure has not been without controversy though, with the recent outcry over plans to revamp- the National Theatre complex in Lagos.

THISDAY Assessment – Average

  Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister

Modelling Abuja into a 21st Century City

Senator Bala Mohammed is on his second missionary journey as FCT Minister. He has the enviable record of being one of the few ministers who survived the cabinet reshuffle after the election of President Jonathan in 2011.


Mohammed started quite slowly but seems to have gathered momentum and have not only worked passionately to continue with most of the projects started under the previous administrations but has also embarked on new ones.  FCT Administration (FCTA) under him is on the verge of completing the Outer Southern Expressway (OSEX) and Outer Northern Express way (ONEX)/Kubwa Expressway, Airport Road, the Abuja Mono and Light Rail, Lower Usuma Dam Water Scheme, and recently the rehabilitation and resurfacing of some major roads in the Federal Capital City, particularly those located in Wuse and Garki zones.


Apart from the above achievements, the minister has also initiated other projects, which could define his legacy in FCT, like the opening of new districts and particularly the Abuja Land Swap programme that has polarized opinions on the viability or otherwise of the policy. The content of the programme has, however, has shown that if well handled, it could be one of the most sustainable and brilliant initiatives in the developmental history of the FCT. Mohammed has paid special attention to infrastructure development in the FCT, which he is trying to achieve through the Land Swap Policy. There has been rapid increase in construction of new roads, and pedestrian bridges to reduce traffic jam and road accidents.


Nevertheless, Mohammed has been accused of giving too much attention to the visible areas of the FCC to the detriment of the other areas. He has had his full share of controversies also, especially on the indiscriminate demolition of illegal structures, running battle with the aborigines, and the already mentioned Land Swap Initiative. Similarly, he has not been known to be very articulate in the execution of various administrative policies. The minister has therefore had his fare share of unpopular policy initiatives and somersaults like the banning and unbanning of the mini commercial buses, 2013 budget for First Lady’s Mission House, banning and rehabilitation of prostitutes, and naming of Goodluck Jonathan Estate amongst others.
FCTA has also not been very successful in keeping Abuja clean and organized, even th

ough there is a renewed effort towards that with Wuse Market as a prime example where things have been sanitized to a great extent. More importantly, one of the areas FCT residents are eagerly anticipating some actions is in the proposed Property Tax Policy and Rents Regulatory Agency that would reduce the burden of high cost of rents and decent accommodation in the FCT.

THISDAY Assessment – Above Average

Olujumoke Akinjide

FCT Minister of State

Akinjide on assumption of Office did not mince words on where her focus lies and how her legacy can be defined, which is the Satellite Town Development. As the supervising Minister for the FCT Area Councils, and Agriculture Secretariat she has been able to harmonise the monthly revenue sharing and accounting mechanism for the councils and as well been able to initiate policies that helped to ensure food sufficiency in the territory.


Concerning the Satellite Towns Development, it is apt to note that it was under her tenure and through her push that President Jonathan sanctioned the re-establishment of Satellite Towns Development Agency (STDA), with mandate to ensure accelerated development of these strategic urban and semi-urban centres.


Despite the fact that FCT residents are yet to see the visible impact of these initiatives to improve the lots of satellite towns, it is however clear that the policies are being put in proper perspective for effective implementation.


She has of recent also given attention to building of affordable mass housing for the FCT residents, especially located at the Area Councils and Satellite Towns.

It is, however, obvious that STDA is starved of funds and yet to live up to the requirements of its mandate.
Akinjide also seemed to have lost the great zeal and passion with which she tried to focus on satellite towns’ development. These towns are still neglected with lack of or poor infrastructural facilities.

THISDAY Assessment – Above Average

  Minister of Special Duties

Turaki Effectively Transits from Special Duties Portfolio to Peace Maker
When his kinsman Alhaji Muhammad Bello Haliru was relieved of his appointment as Defence Minister last year and he was eventually made a minister, speculations were rife that he was going to fill the position vacated by Halliru. But this was not to be. Instead, Alhaji Kabiru Turaki was made Minister of Special Duties on February 14 this year. 54-year-old Turaki had served in various presidential committees before he became minister. In day-to-day perusal of government activities, and to a layman, the schedules of duty of the Ministry of Special Duties may not be familiar. Perhaps as the name suggests, it is a ministry that takes care of matters arising in the nation, which does not fall under the purview of any particular ministry.


But in government circles, it is an ancillary of the presidency. According to the posting on its website its key duty is to make sure that decisions reached at the weekly meetings of the Federal Executive Council are carried out. In other words, the minister handling this portfolio is the Ministers’ Monitor. In clear terms, “the core mandate of the office is that of monitoring the implementation of federal Executive Council (FEC) decisions, though he performs other duties assigned to him by the president.


When Turaki took over the Special Duties Ministry, it was virtually inactive; it was being hampered by lack of finance, Turaki, in his maiden address promised to tackle this problem.  A couple of months after he was appointed, however, his litmus test came. He was saddled with the chairmanship of the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North. And barely weeks after he plunged himself into discharging this onerous task, it now appears that there could be spanner in the works following the declaration of emergency rule in three states in the North-east by President Jonathan.


Although he had re-assured that the declaration of a quasi state of emergency in the three Northern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa would not affect the work of the Dialogue Committee, the jury is out to see how successful the work of the committee could be.  And this would be the biggest testament to his political sagacity.

THISDAY Assessment – Jury still out

  Minister of Communications Technology

Broadband Access Remains Johnson’s Challenge

Mrs. Omobola Johnson, the pioneer minister of the Ministry of Communication Technology, has chalked up some milestone achievements since the ministry’s creation in 2011, but not without some challenges.


Just last year, it inaugurated a presidential committee on broadband, in recognition of the critical role broadband plays in national development. The committee has concluded its work and Nigeria will soon have a broadband strategy and roadmap that will facilitate Nigeria’s overall development.


To promote the development of the software sector, the ministry launched the techlaunchpad initiative in 2013 and has also launched an incubation centre in Lagos, with another set for launch in a few weeks’ time in Tinapa, Calabar to help the development of local software developers.

Last month, Johnson launched a government services portal to enable Nigerians access government services of all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) online on one portal.

Despite its many achievements in less than two years, the ministry is yet to address certain salient issues that will drive ICT development in the country.


The first is the issue of a single database, which will synchronise all other pockets of databases created by individual ministries and organisations. Then there is the lack of a national backbone infrastructure for the country, where telecommunication and Internet service providers could plug in to deliver services such as broadband to end users. Again, there is the issue of multiple taxation is yet to be addressed, where local government, state government and even federal government, impose arbitrary levies on telecommunication service providers, while trying to expand their networks.

THISDAY Assessment – Average

Minister of Education

Under Rufa'i EDUCATION Shows no Sign of Improvement


The education sector has not fared better under Prof. Ruqqayatu Rufa'i's watch. The universities still churn out semi-literates, school enrolment in primary and secondary schools in several states of the federation is still low, teachers are ill-trained and ill-equipped to impart knowledge to children, while teaching aids and facilities remain in short supply.


However, with the increase in budgetary allocation to over N426.53 billion, the highest ever, tertiary institutions have enjoyed better funding through various intervention funds especially from the Tertiary Trust Fund and the high-impact intervention fund which is about N3 billion per annum (for universities).


Rufa’i also set up a needs assessment committee for universities, which exposed the level of rot in the institutions. Her background as an academic may have contributed to better negotiations with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). This explains why so her tenure has witnessed fewer strikes. Besides, several lecturers are also enjoying the benefits of training and capacity-development programmes through TETFUND.


Rufa’i recently revived the moribund Foreign Certificates Verification Committee to ensure that qualifications received in foreign schools meet the standards required of them.


The minister herself admitted that Nigeria’s tertiary institutions have the capacity to take only one third of those seeking admissions. However the existing ones remain grossly underfunded in spite of intervention funds.


Also, the needs assessment committees for the polytechnics and colleges of education are yet to take off which is one of the demands of the polytechnic lecturers who are on strike at the time of writing this.


The crises which rocked the University of Abuja which is directly under her supervision did not help her image especially as the white paper to investigate the school from inception is still yet to be released, several months after the committee concluded its work.

THISDAY Assessment – Below Average

Nyesom Wike

Minister of State for Education

The minister’s launch and openings of the Almajiri Schools are still considered some of his biggest feats. The schools, funded by Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), provide free books, meals and uniforms for the beneficiaries. He has been working closely with UNESCO to reduce mass illiteracy and implement the actualisation of adult literacy especially in northern Nigeria. Special schools have also been established for girls in the North.


The ministry has also entered partnership with Holbury College, London to establish special schools that would suit the needs of other regions: in the South-east, schools are to be created close to the markets so that young boys who are business apprentices could still enrol for formal education. In the South-south region, the schools would be established in the riverine areas for the children of fishermen.
Wike is currently campaigning that unity schools should consider more merit than catchment areas in admissions to encourage the pursuit for excellence among primary school students.
However, after so much hype, the National Mass Literacy Trust Fund, which is supposed to provide a framework for willing donors to participate in eradicating illiteracy through an established channel, is yet to be launched.

THISDAY Assessment – Below Average

Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice

As Number One Law Officer, Adoke Learns to Walk a Tightrope

After a few missteps in office as Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Mr Mohammed Bello Adoke, (SAN) has finally settled down to his office as the nation’s number one law officer.


There are signs that with three years in office, the minister has matured and the office is no longer enmeshed in controversies reminiscent of the Halliburton plea-bargain arrangement.


Adoke was smart enough to avoid some of the pitfalls of his predecessors. For instance, he handed over the controversial prison the congestion scheme to the Legal Aid Council even though many people in his office were not happy with his decision.


Somehow, he has restored some level of dignity to the office and hardly dabbles into politics.
With his support, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission initiated high profile prosecutions many of which his predecessor would not have dared to prosecute.


However, prosecution of crimes remains a snag that appears to be weighing down his office. Many suspected Boko Haram members are yet to be successful prosecuted several months after they were arrested. It is also taking donkey years for many, accused of economic crimes to be successfully prosecuted. Lawyers from the Ministry of Justice do not appear to be getting the right training to equip them with the knowledge expected of them in prosecuting complex cases.


Although snippets of allegations of wrong doing against the office of the AGF remain, nothing however had been established against him.


If he succeeds in his collaboration to get a new criminal law passed and make resources available to support the training of lawyers in the justice ministry, Adoke may as well leave office as one of the AGFs to reckon with.

THISDAY Assessment – Controversial but above average

  Minister of Niger Delta Affairs

Orubebe: Big on Promises, Short on Delivery

Since he assumed office in 2011 as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, the task of overseeing development in the oil-rich region has been onerous. In spite of the attacks and daunting challenges, the minister has trudged on with uncommon zeal to reconstruct misconceptions that the ministry is not doing enough. If the minister had been a little bit relaxed in 2011, certainly, the excoriating remarks from Niger Deltans have put him on his toes between last year and now. The most vicious attacks on him have arisen from the all-important East-West Road traversing the states in the South-South geo-political zone, the completion of which he blamed on the paucity of fund. He has been able to surmount the funding obstacle through the intervention of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) and other multilateral development agencies.


Having realised that previous development plans in the Niger Delta failed due to lapses in implementation, insufficient coordination and the absence of a coherent framework to drive the process, the ministry, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other development partners evolved the Niger Delta Action Plan, a collaborative development strategy to effectively address development needs in the region through a coherent framework, anchored on effective coordination and implementation.


The ministry has launched a strategic plan to tackle shortage of manpower in various fields. Skills acquisition centres to train the youths and reduce unemployment in the nine Niger Delta states are also springing up.

THISDAY Assessment – Below Average

  Darius Ishaku

Minister of State, Niger Delta Affairs

The redeployment of Architect Darius Dickson Ishaku from the Ministry of Power last year to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs has not pushed up in any way in terms of visible performance. Perhaps because of the nature of his job as Minister of State, a spare tyre of sorts like deputy governors, not much could be said about Ishaku. He has remained virtually tied to the apron strings of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe.


During the recently concluded Niger Delta Stakeholders’ Conference and inauguration of the National Council on Niger Delta in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State performed by Vice President Namadi Sambo, he was criticized for alleged poor handling of the only assignment given to him—giving a vote of thanks.

THISDAY Assessment – Below Average

Minister of Labour

Wogu Maintains a Balancing Act to Keep the Unions Happy

A lawyer by training, Chief Emeka Wogu is considered one of the inner caucus members of President Jonathan’s government.  An erudite arbitrator and negotiator, his tenure has enjoyed relative peace in the industrial sector except for strikes or protests that border on national policies.  His greatest achievements are his efforts to realise the signing into law of several workers welfare bills, including the National Minimum Wage Act, Employees’ Compensation Act, Occupational Safety and Health Act for Workers, and Local Content Policy, which is targeted to generate at least four million jobs.


Wogu also ensured the restoration of pay relativity in the wages of federal civil servants and inaugurated the National Labour Advisory Council, which is key to dealings and negotiations with labour unions. He saw to the conclusion of the guidelines on labour administration issues in contract staffing and outsourcing in the oil and gas sector.


The Community Service Scheme of the SURE-P, which is under the purview of the labour ministry, has generated at least 3, 000 jobs per state in less than six months.  Parastatals under the ministry have also been active. The National Directorate of Employment has initiated several schemes to improve graduates employability and has trained thousands of youths in vocational skills.


Wogu’s tenure also saw the creation of a National Policy on Productivity measurement. And under him, Nigeria has chaired several committees at the International Labour Organisation conferences and African Regional Labour Administration Centre (ARLAC).


However, despite all these, the rate of unemployment remains high, especially among young Nigerians. Contract staffing also remains a plague in multinationals companies, especially oil firms. But everyone agrees that the problem of unemployment in Nigeria, which has been complicated by decades of negligence by successive governments, cannot be entirely resolved in Wogu’s tenure.  

THISDAY Assessment – Average

  Minister of Women Affairs

Maina Puts Women, Gender Issues on the Front Burner

Hajiya Zainab Maina, a former activist, remains actively engaged in gender rights issues all over the country. Through intense lobbying by her ministry, a Nigerian gender activist, Mrs. Oby Nwankwo, was elected into the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women Expert Committee.


The ministry has assisted several women to start small business after trainings and provision of start off capital through grants of soft loans.

Also the plight of people living with disabilities has received more attention under Maina’s administration; she has continued to lobby the Independent National Electoral Commission to ensure that Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) are no longer disenfranchised during elections. In conjunction with the states, the ministry recently trained about 300 PwDs in various vocations and provided the necessary appliances for the take off of their businesses.


Maina’s ministry has been involved in efforts to review the juvenile system to ensure that correctional centres serve the purpose for which they are intended and to discourage the practice of detaining minors in regular prisons.


However, domestic abuse of women and children continue to be on the rise. Save for the anti-rape bill that was recently passed by the National Assembly, several bills which seek to protect women and children have not been passed.


While 23 states have successfully passed the child rights act into law, not much success is being recorded on conviction for rape of minors. Also Nigeria remains high on the maternal and infant mortality index with a ratio of 545 per 100,000 live births on the maternal mortality index and 75 per 1, 000 live births on the infant mortality index.


Cultural and religious sensibilities have, however, been blamed for most of the difficulties associated with women and children’s rights in Nigeria.

THISDAY Assessment – Average

  Minister of Youth Development

Abdulkadir Fails to Engage Youths

The Minister of Youth Development Inuwa Abdulkadir seems to have gone to sleep after the transfer of Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi to the Ministry of Sports. As Minister of Youth Development, Abdullahi had come up with initiatives, including open forums for discussion with young people through the internet and town hall meetings, revamping of the National Youth Service Scheme to encourage entrepreneurship among corps members to help them become self-reliant after the service.  Apart from the NYSC, whose management remains up and running, nothing else seems to be going on in the youth ministry.

THISDAY Assessment – Below Average

Minister of Foreign Affairs

Ashiru Champions Nigeria’s Foreign Policy

A career diplomat, Ambassador Olugbenaga Ashiru has led the drive for economic diplomacy as the foreign policy thrust of the current administration. He hit the ground running when he directed all Nigerian missions aboard to make the economic thrust part of their mandates and also to prove Nigerians with more effective consular representation abroad. The country is also engaging local authorities of the countries where its missions are domiciled to ensure that the missions are speedily informed of issues concerning Nigerians. This has brought to the limelight the number of detained and convicted Nigerians in foreign jails.


The ministry under Ashiru is also actively pursuing the Prisoners Exchange Agreements with several countries; the UK- Nigeria Repatriation agreement was recently signed into law and is already being implemented.


Ashiru has remained vocal in championing Nigeria’s stance on continental issues, like the Malian crisis.  Ashiru’s ministry has maintained a proactive stance on issues affecting Nigerians in foreign lands. When South Africa deported over 100 Nigerians on the allegation of having fake yellow cards, Nigeria swiftly responded by deporting 56 South Africans with irregular papers. This elicited apology from South Africa. Nigeria also worked through ECOWAS to get Ghana to repel its policy that made it compulsory for foreigners to have a capital of at least $300,000 before they could start businesses in the country.


During his tenure, for the first time ever, the ministry presented an Annual Report for the year 2012.
Although, the country’s missions aboard are more alive to their consular responsibilities to Nigerians, their activities remain hampered by under-funding and delay in release of funds. This, however, falls under the purview of the Ministry of Finance.

THISDAY Assessment – Above Average

  Professor Viola Onwuliri 

Minister of State 1 for Foreign Affairs

Professor Viola Onwuliri, a Professor of Biochemistry, is in charge of Joint Commissions and many of them have been active under her watch, even while she mourns her husband who died in last year’s Dana air crash.  She also revived the Nigeria-Philippines Joint Commission, which had been moribund for over 20 years.

Onwuliri was recently elected the President of the Community of Democracies for a four-year tenure starting from 2015.

THISDAY Assessment – Above Average

  Dr. Nurudeen Mohammed

Minister of State 2 for Foreign Affairs

Dr. Nurudeen Mohammed, a medical doctor, is in charge of ECOWAS. He has been active in ECOWAS meetings and summits in Abuja, Cote d’ Ivoire (which holds the chairmanship of the Heads of ECOWAS Countries) and Bamako before and after the military intervention.


Mohammed was a prominent member of the Nigerian delegation during the impasse with the Saudi authorities over the deportation of some Nigerian women for not being accompanied by male guardians, during the last hajj.


Except for rare appearances at general events in the ministry, Mohammed is hardly seen, but he is actively involved in negotiations on the continent, including those bordering on Mali and Guinea Bissau.

THISDAY Assessment – Above Average

  Minister of Works

Paucity of Funds Hampers Onolememen's Vision for Roads

Mike Onolememen, an architect, stands out as the first Minister of Works with a firm grip on the ministry’s activities for his ability to create a practical work-template for the rehabilitation of the country’s failed roads.


On assumption of office, Onolememen isolated the major challenges in the road sector and grouped them as finance, choice of contractors, and nature of engineering designs.


On finance, he presented an overwhelming argument, which enabled him to get an approval from the National Assembly for the ministry to spend funds stock in a previous year’s budget circle. He dealt with the problem of wrong contractors head-on. To prevent the use of bad engineering designs, Onolememen established a Department of Design, with a laboratory, where road designs are tested before they are used.


In 2011, he restructured the two highway departments (Highway, Planning & Design and Highway, Construction & Rehabilitation) into 12 departments for more effective operation. They are Highway, Planning and Development; Highways, Road (Design);  Highways, Bridge (Design); Highway, Materials, Geotechnics and Quality Control;   Highways, Construction & Rehabilitation-North Central Zone; Highways, Construction & Rehabilitation-North East Zone; Highways, Construction & Rehabilitation-North West Zone; Highways, Construction & Rehabilitation-South East Zone; Highways, Construction & Rehabilitation-South West Zone; Highways, Construction & Rehabilitation-South-South Zone); Upgrade of Public Private Partnership (PPP) unit to full department; and Upgrade of Road Sector Development team (RSDT) unit to a full department.


Onolememen’s tenure has witnessed a marked improvement in the condition of the major arterial highways. The notorious Ore section of the Sagamu-Ore-Benin road has been reconstructed.


At present, 32 road projects have been completed and many more are nearing completion. The “Operation Safe Passage” embarked upon by the ministry has led to the recovery of failed portions of federal highways across the country.

THISDAY Assessment – Average but promising

  Ambassador Bashir Yuguda

Minister of State for Works

The Federal Ministry of Works has been able to achieve a lot in the management of the nation’s roads because Works Minister Mike Onolememen and the Minister of State, Ambassador Bashir Yuguda, work as a team. It is not common to find this kind of synergy, particularly in the Federal Ministry of Works, that makes the job easy for everyone. Yuguda, like the senior Minister, is always on the road inspecting projects across the nation and not restricted to any specific part of the country, as was the case in previous administrations. Often times you would hear him warning contractors against executing shoddy jobs and threatening to revoke contracts that are not producing the right results. Yuguda has assisted tremendously in the success recorded by the Federal Ministry of Works in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of failed roads in the nation.

THISDAY Assessment – Average but promising

  Minister of Agriculture

Adesina’s Vision for Food Security Remains Undiminished

Agriculture really presents a grim picture for Nigeria, with the spending of billions of Naira annually on rice importation, N100 billion annually to import fish, approximately N635 billion yearly on wheat importation, and $620 million annually on sugar importation.
Upon his assumption of office, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina understood he had his work cut out for him. He has made significant effort towards improving the state of agriculture in the country.


The ministry is shifting focus away from family-centred subsistence farming and to commercial agriculture. Under the structured transformation agenda, farm output is projected to triple in value from its current turnover of $99 billion (£62 billion) to $300 billion by 2030.


Adesina’s current focus is on rice and oil palm production. Three new integrated rice mills have been completed and they produce long-grain parboiled rice of good quality that compares favourably with imported rice from Thailand, India, United States and other parts of the world.


Foreign investors have been attracted into Nigeria’s rice production, with the capitalisation of at least one large-scale facility for the production and milling of rice in Taraba State. The 30,000 hectares farm complex will produce 300,000 metric tonnes of rice, equivalent of 15 per cent of Nigeria’s current imports.


Another key step is the abolition of the monopoly status of government-owned Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation, thus allowing private companies to compete with lower premiums for the right to provide specialised coverage to some 120 million individuals.
Adesina has tried to alter the paradigm of government involvement in the farm sector. To minimise the scan in the distribution of fertiliser, farmers now claim their allocation directly from local retail suppliers.

THISDAY Assessment – Above average but he talks more than he delivers

Alhaji Bukar Tijani Borno,

Minister of State, Agriculture

Alhaji Bukar Tijani Borno, the Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has been solidly behind his principal as they both pursue the objective of the Agriculture Transformation Agenda (ATA). He has brought his extensive experience in the management of the FADAMA projects to bear in the pursuit of increased production and productivity of the nation’s agricultural sector.
It was an embarrassment that Nigeria as a nation lost its pride of place as the leading exporter of groundnut with a world’s share of 42 per cent as far back as 1961. It also had 27 per cent of the world’s palm oil export, 18 per cent of cocoa and 1.4 per cent of cotton as the major West African cotton exporter during that period.


Nigeria’s dominance in the export of groundnut was taken over by China, United States of America (USA) and Argentina as at 2008. Indonesia and Malaysia took over in palm oil, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana also became leading exporters of cocoa while Mali and Burkina Faso led in cotton exports.


Tijani is working with the Minister of Agric Akinwumi Adesina to reverse the negative trend with the ongoing agricultural transformation agenda of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, which is directly building on President Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda. Of late, emphasis has been put in diversifying the sector form cassava cultivation, rice production and increased fish production among others.


The minister of state is helping to champion a comprehensive government strategy to reduce the cost of food imports, diversify the economy and develop rural areas of the country.  Over the next three years, the target is to hit 20 million tonnes of local food supply to the domestic market as well as creating 3.5 million jobs along the agricultural value chain, a goal, which is already being progressively attained.

THISDAY Assessment – Above average


  Minister of Information

Maku Gives a Voice to the Government

Labaran Maku came to his job with a huge wealth of experience in journalism, teaching, and politics and he has brought these experiences to bear on his work. Perhaps, his most significant achievement is the introduction of multimedia platforms, including the social media, in public information dissemination and management. This strategy has proved a more pragmatic approach than the previous eras of lavish propaganda and sloganeering. The Federal Ministry of Information now has a strong presence on twitter and Facebook. The website of the ministry, which was more or less moribund, is now a lively hub of online activity.


Maku’s tenure saw the realisation of the long-expected Freedom of Information Act, which institutionalised public access to government information. The FOI law has enhanced transparency in public institutions and it has been a vital aid in the fight against corruption.


A significant plus point of the Maku era is the spaces he has created for all federal ministers to render account of their stewardship to the public. They include the Ministerial Platform series, aired live on the Nigerian Television Authority and other major stations, and the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria weekly 30 minutes programme, which features ministers in interactive sessions with the public.


There is also the National Good Governance Tour, which is a media-focused inspection of completed and ongoing projects across the country executed by the federal, state, and local governments.


However, the federal government-owned media organs are still widely believed to be inundated with content that largely sing the praise of government without necessarily telling the truth on the pulse of the nation.

THISDAY Assessment – Above average but could do better with access

  Minister of Sports/Chairman National Sports Commission

Without Olympic medals, Abdullahi moves to reform sports

In barely one year as Minister of Sports and Chairman, National Sports Commission, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, has made great strides that even his most virulent critics admitted things are beginning to look up in sports. Abdullahi was appointed substantive sports minister in May last year after nearly six months of overseeing the sector following the departure of Alhaji Yusuf Suleiman to pursue political ambition in Sokoto State. Abdullahi’s experience at the Youth Development Ministry came handy at the ministry of sports. Having to deal with issues concerning Nigerian youths, the former Kwara State education commissioner seems to be back to a familiar terrain. He has proved that what is essential in getting results in sports is proper handling of the little resources (barely N5billion a year budget) and the individuals saddled with the responsibilities of running the day-to-day activities of the NSC, which most Nigerians believe used to be the most corrupt government agency.


Of course, the confirmation of Abdullahi at a time Nigeria’s domestic football was in turmoil posed a major challenge to the 44-year-old journalist. Several litigations had driven away sponsors from the Nigerian Premier League. Both Total Promotion that was fronting for a telecommunication company and Globacom Limited were at each others’ throats over who had the rights to the league.


There were several court cases instituted against the NSC and the Nigeria Football Federation by stakeholders and others out of sheer mischief to drag the country’s Beautiful Game into disrepute. How Abdullahi managed to resolve these issues, with the support of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Anyim Pius Anyim, is a matter that deserves thumb up for him. Now there is peace in the NFF. Globacom has returned as the title sponsor of the league and a new caretaker body, the League Management Company, is in place to give professional club football a new direction of pure business concern.


In the period under review, Nigerian athletes went to Benin Republic to conquer the rest of the continent at African Senior Athletics Championships. The last time Nigeria achieved such feat was at the edition hosted by Senegal in Dakar in 1998 with the likes of Mary Onyali, Falilat Ogunkoya etc. And just weeks back in Warri, Nigerian junior athletes built on what their seniors did by also winning the maiden African Youth Athletics Championships in Warri, Delta State.


Before the Warri show, Nigerian paralympians did the country proud at the London 2012 Paralympic Games winning six gold medals in various disciplines. It was redemption for the able bodied who failed to win even a bronze despite getting to the final of six events in athletics.


Just like athletics, the Super Eagles did the country proud, winning the last Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa in February. Nobody gave Coach Stephen Keshi and his wards any chance given the fact that Nigeria did not even qualify for the 2012 edition jointly hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.  While preparations are on for Eagles’ good outing at the Confederations Cup scheduled for next month in Brazil, the team is also on the verge of qualifying for the next 2014 World Cup also to be hosted by Brazil. The national Under-20 and Under-17 have equally fared well. The Golden Eaglets returned from Algeria with the bronze medal while the Flying Eagles have also qualified for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup slated for next month in Turkey. The female teams have not also done badly. Only last week, the NSC under Abdullahi’s watch, conducted elections into 21 national sports federations in a manner adjudged the most transparent and fair in recent time.


Despite all these lofty achievements, observers of the sector have expressed fears that inadequate funding of the country’s preparations for the next Olympic Games may bring back the sad memories of London 2012. Olympic, they argue, is a four-year preparation plan and not the manner in which we go about the business of waiting till the very year of the Games before embarking on fire-brigade preparations.

THISDAY Assessment – Average but promising

  Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development

Housing Deficit Remains Pepple’s Challenge

Ms. Ama Pepple is currently drawing flak for not inaugurating a technical board for the management of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) as prescribed by the Act that established the authority. Regardless, Pepple has brought a good measure of order into the affairs of the Federal Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development. Pepple’s philosophy is that every Nigerian deserves a decent and affordable home. First thing to note about her activities is the fact that it was when she became minister that the ministry was given an identity of its own. Previously, the ministry was under the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and, during this period, Works was given more prominence with Housing left to the Minister of State, who often complained about not having funds to run the ministry. It stood alone as Ministry of Housing briefly but the federal government soon merged it again with the Works ministry, and it went back into obscurity. Pepple took a look at the activities of the ministry and decided there was need to have a blueprint on which to build the ministry’s activities. She then commissioned a committee of respected professionals in the building and construction sector led by Sir SPO Ebie, a renowned Estate Surveyor and Valuer, to produce a new National Housing Policy since the last policy expired in 1993. The new housing policy was presented to other industry experts for review and for their inputs to be incorporated, following which it was adopted for implementation. The new national housing policy is thus the new guidebook used in the industry.


Pepple did not boast about building millions of housing units but said policies would be put in place by the federal government to enable private developers have access to land and easy documentation, which are two crucial components of housing development in the country. Last year, Pepple took the housing issue to the top when she convened a Presidential Retreat on Housing, which was attended by President Jonathan. At this meeting, which also had state governors in attendance, the federal government set up a committee that would work with the governors to ensure that they reduce fees charged for land procurement and documentation. The committee is still working with all the 36 governors and the with the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory to arrive at an agreeable table of fees and on the timeframe for the processing of land documents like certificate of occupancy. Apart from land documentation, the minister has concentrated her energy on the issue of funding. Housing development needs long term funds, which are not available in the regular banks and, the primary mortgage banks/institutions come up short and, sometimes charge commercial interest rates, which is counter-productive to the practice of mortgage system.

THISDAY Assessment – Average

Minister of Police Affairs

Olubolade Fails to Deliver on Improved Police Welfare

Police Affairs Ministry was instituted to oversee the affairs of officers and men of the police force in order to ensure that they are also protected as they battle insecurity and criminal activities in the country. The ministry under the watch of Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade (rtd) could be said not to have achieved the optimum he desires for the police officers because of the growing insurgence in the land, the battle against which has tended to occupy the attention of everybody in the force. Lack of training facilities, lack of logistics and funding, as well as lack of trust and cooperation among the security operatives in Nigeria also contribute to the woes of the police.


Though the salaries and other remunerations of police officers and men have increased in the recent times, but a lot is still expected from the Federal Government through the Police Affairs Ministry in ensuring that the officers get their worth to further encourage them to defend Nigerians. The board of the Police Service Commission has just been reconstituted with former Inspector-General of Police Mike Okiro as chairman. It is expected that the PSC would also take up the issues around insurance covers, security and welfare of police officers as they come under increased attack from insurgents.
THISDAY Assessment – Below average

  Minister of Water Resources

Under Ochekpe Water Remains a Scarce Resource

Ministry of Water Resources headed by Mrs. Sarah Ochepke has received accolades, especially from President Jonathan for the introduction of water aid and sanitation. The ministry has upgraded the River Basin Authorities in Nigeria, as well as other adjourning countries. Water Resources Ministry has also collaborated with other relevant ministries, including Agriculture and Rural Development, Women Affairs, and Youth Development in providing irrigation facilities for modern agriculture, thereby providing employment opportunities for Nigerian youths living in rural areas.


All these achievements, however, have not translated into water for all Nigerians. Inadequate budgetary provision and inadequate personnel are said to be some of the factors limiting the ministry’s performance.

THISDAY Assessment – Average 

Minister of Health

Chukwu Yet to Provide Adequate Healthcare

Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu has a lot going for him in the administration of the Health Ministry. In spite of opposition from non-medical health workers whose agitations have frustrated the enactment of the new health bill that seems to hold the solution to most of the problems in the sector, the goodwill from doctors and many other stakeholders has helped him to get things done. The ministry is easily one of the busiest as one thing or the other is done on a daily basis to improve the health care delivery system.


The World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF and most other international agencies and countries have been supportive of the minister’s efforts.


The major hindrance, however, has been the inadequacy of funding, which the health bill is expected to address, but the ministry in conjunction with stakeholders has been encouraging the private sector to play major roles in improving the sector. Hence, apart from private hospitals getting more involved in handling serious medical conditions for increasingly reduced costs, an organisation such as Rotary has brought doctors from India to carry out surgeries to repair impaired limbs caused by polio.


Much is going on in the primary health care sector, which is the fulcrum of health care delivery, since the majority of Nigerians who live in the rural areas have first access to this tier in the health care delivery chain. If the impact is not felt as it should, it is because the states and local governments that have the greater responsibility for it are often lagging behind.


Chukwu and his Minister of State Muhammad Ali Pate drive the process as much as possible through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency.


However, the minister is not doing enough to discourage health tourism, especially in trying to fish out medical personnel in federal government hospitals who are part of syndicates that make unnecessary referrals abroad for cases that can be handled in Nigeria. Reports have virtually established that these health personnel serve as contractors or agents for foreign hospitals that purportedly pay them for each of such referral.  

THISDAY Assessment – Average 

  Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate

Minister of State, Health
Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate is quite vibrant particularly in maternal and child health care. He is passionate in his drive to help in the eradication of polio and other childhood killer diseases like measles and tuberculosis.
Like the Minister of Health Chukwu, kudos must go to Pate for driving the process as much as possible through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency.

Perhaps because of his self-satisfied nature, Pate enjoys a cordial relationship with the minister, as he doesn’t show any signs of rivalry, which translates to a smooth running of the ministry.

THISDAY Assessment – Average

  Minister of Mines and Steel Development

Minerals Mining Picks Up Under Sada but Steel Lags Behind
Alhaji Mohammed Sada’s is a tough call because as Minister of Mines and Steel Development he is trying to bring back long lost glories in mining and steel development. While struggling to wade through the marsh of the mishandling of the privatisation of Ajaokuta Steel Company and Nigerian Iron Ore Mining Company, Itakpe, he has managed to appoint sole administrators for them, thereby preparing to get them back on stream.


Through a sustained and dogged commitment to policy stability, he has continued to create the much-needed enabling environment for the inflow of both local and foreign investment.


Sada added the Mining Regulations to the existing regulatory infrastructure consisting of Minerals and Mining Act 2007 Minerals and Metal Policy 2008 in 2011, thereby meeting the clarion call of stakeholders for the necessary instrument for the implementation of the Mining Act, 2007.


With that he completed the laying of a solid foundation for the sustainable development of the solid minerals sector.
This is to actualize its full potential for job creation, increased contribution to the GDP, Import substitution and exports promotion.
His efforts have led to the establishment of a regime of investor-friendly legal and regulatory framework, one of the best and most transparent mineral administration in the world and the completion of the airborne geophysical coverage of the entire country, making Nigeria one of the very few countries in the world to do so.


Sada’s era has also seen a number of bilateral agreements with advanced mineral jurisdictions such as Australia, Canada, Holland, China and South Africa aimed at assisting Nigeria to develop the sector.


There is consequently great awareness and interest in Nigeria in the opportunities available in the Nigerian solid minerals sector by both local and foreign investors.


Presently, over 50 foreign companies are engaged in exploration activities in different parts of the country. Among them are Energio, an Australian company, which recently declared on the Australian Stock Exchange a find of 500 million metric tonnes of iron ore in Agbaja, Kogi State, after drilling only 10% of its prospective area, and CGA, an Australian company, that has also announced an 800 million metric tonnes find of ore.


However, the discord among small and artisanal miners and between one of the major associations and the ministry has been a source of concern. Also, the smaller Nigerian miners feel grossly marginalised through the preference of the ministry of large foreign firms who they believe are recolonising the country in a way.


They say the minister pays more attention to the foreign outfits to the detriment of the local miners who the mining policy sets out to encourage.


THISDAY Assessment – Below average 

Minister of Science and Technology
With Bassey-Ewa at the Helm, Suffers in Science and Technology


The Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Ita Okon Bassey-Ewa, hugged the headlines in November last year for his inability to give the percentage of his ministry’s expenditure for that year. The minister lost his cool when some House of Representatives members, specifically the House Committee on Science and Technology, before whom he appeared to defend his ministry’s budget, wanted to know the proportion of his ministry’s disbursement to its income. Instead of invoking his mathematical prowess, the minister who was before the committee to defend his ministry’s budgetary allocation for this year, shouted at the chairman of the committee, Hon. Abiodun Akinlade, and the committee members, who insisted he must convert the ministry’s 2012 budget performance into percentage.


That altercation notwithstanding, it would appear not much is happening in Science and Technology Ministry partly because it is not a priority area of the Jonathan administration. Bassey-Ewa once told the House Committee that the government, which hired him to oversee such a crucial ministry, had simply sidelined it by refusing to include it in in its six priority areas in the 2013 budget. “The President in his Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) earmarked six ministries as priority areas and unfortunately, the Ministry of Science and Technology is not there. No country has ever enjoyed global attention without developing its science and technology potentials. It would be difficult to move this country forward without developing our technology,” he told the committee.


The programmes outlined by the 61-year-old don for the year included Computer for All Nigerians (CANI), National Science and Technology (NASTECH), Sustainability Science Programme, Indigenous Technology Programme, Technology Foresight Programme, Technology Needs Assessment Programme and The Science Park Programme. The level of implementation of such programmes is yet unclear. There is also no breakthrough yet in any of the four researches on security, culture society, environment and health that the ministry promised since last year. But many insist the Professor of Physics is eminently qualified to hold the office if the ministry is given all it requires and its properly situated in the national scheme of things.

THISDAY Assessment – Below average

Tags: Featured, Goodluck Jonathan, Ministerial Scorecard, News, Nigeria

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