Before the Ministers Get their Portfolios


Canticles… with Eddy odivwri

I hear the President will soon inaugurate the newly appointed ministers.

It is true. They will be sworn in on Wednesday,August 21, 2019.

Gosh, this President is indeed Baba Go-slow. He will be swearing them in ,almost one month after they had been cleared and confirmed by the senate.These are people it took him, almost two months  toassemble. Has he not known them enough? Why would he be waiting for another one month before inaugurating them?

It is called presidential privilege. The president has to be verily sure of the various capacities of the nominees, so that round pegs will be put in round holes. This is to avoid the misfits we had in the first term.

In fact, he has to organize a retreat for them before assigning them port folios

(hisses) Hmmm, I can tell you the same misfits will be found all over again. Nothing significant will change. You will still see medical doctor manning Agric ministry or something like that. Trust me, you will see it.

That is not fair. If you take a good look, you will notice that in this team, there are far more serious minded individuals that have the capacity to take the nation to the next level indeed.

(mimicking)…shu will notish far seyous minded individuals…. indeed!People like Timipre Sylva or Ogbonnaya Onu, Isnt it? Is it not the same Sylva whose38 houses which was seized before by the EFCC andwere eventually released to him? A former governor of a poverty-stricken state having 38 houses… and you decorate him with the tag of being serious minded.

Or is it the same OgbonnayaOnu, whose focal objective in the Ministry of Science and Technology, the last term, was to produce pencils? But almost four years after, we did not see any pencil, neither 2B oreven HB. Those are the serious-minded persons you are talking about, right?

You should be fair.

Dr Onu was one of them that was so thoroughly grilled by the senate during the clearing process. And he took time explaining many things he achieved in the ministry.

With all due respect, he explained a bunch of  bureaucratic inanities. And I think that was why the senate was pretty wary ofhis capacity, hence the long grill.

For a Science and Tech ministry achieving nothing substantial in three yearsplus, counts little for any discerning mind. In all, apart from a few ministers who made good impact, what was the overall import of the last cabinet?

I have always known you to be a pessimist and a crushing critic.

You cannot feign ignorance on the great things like improved national infrastructure achieved by the last cabinet.

I am not going to argue with you. Even in this cabinet, there are more politicians than technocrats. Some Nigerians didn’t want President Buhari back,  essentially on account of poor performance. But now that he is back, he has to give a good account of the trust of the people. He must recover the country from the hands of the cabal. He must micro-manage the ministers.Any minister not pulling his weight should be shown the way out. The idea of tolerating performing and non-performing cabinet members, all term-long, does not make much sense. There should be cabinet shake-up once in a while. Nothing should be taken for granted by the ministers.Time is short, Nigerians are suffering. The essence of governance must be felt by all, not just a select few.Nigerians deserve better life. Mr President should take a far more cursory look at the capacity of the ministers before assigning them cognate ministries to avoid performance gaps aswe had in many cases in the first term.

Nigerians don’t need excuses. They need measurable and visible results. Twenty years after, we are still struggling with 3,000 or so megawatts of electricity for nearly 200 million people, despite the super huge sums that have been sunk into the provision of stable electricity, but we still have more darkness than light.. Jobs are being lost because the economy is shrinking, instead of expanding.

I agree with what comes like terms of reference for the ministers. But you know that Mr President is quite a gentleman. He expects every appointed minister to understand the brief and do accordingly. He does not like over-monitoring the ministers who also should be leaders in their own rights. Don’t forget, some of them have been ministers, governors, lawmakers etc before. So he respects these statuses. So it beholds on them to do the needful.

Correct! But where they are not measuring up, MrPresident should intervene.That’s what we are saying. He should not allow them such a free reign in such a way that he does not even know what is happening in his own government.

I can assure you that MrPresident is a listening leader. He understands the pains Nigerians are going though. He will take concrete steps to address the issues plaguing the country. But always remember that government is a continuum. He will do what is possible now andwhoever comes after, should carry on from wherever he stops. Government is like a relay race, you know.

Nobody is saying he should lead into the future or solve the problems that are yet on ground. No. He should be prompt in addressing the issues plaguing the people, using his ministers. The take off point is in appointingcompetent and dedicated people, whose primary interest is in making Nigeria, not their own immediate families, better. When he does that, his name will go down in history as a great leader who came and caused more people to smile, not cry.