Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and golden member, International security Association (IWA), Switzerland, Jackson Lekan Ojo, says President Muhammdu Buhari should six-monthly assessment of ministers’ performances to retain or ease them out. ABDULRAHMAN ZAKARIYAU brings excerpts.
How would you react to the ministerial list as released by President Muhammadu Buhari?
From my own end, I will score Mr President10 percent for the crop of names of would-be ministerial nominees he submitted to the National Assembly for screening and confirmation. My reason for the low score is because very few of persons in the list actually merit being nominated to be ministers of Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Besides, this is because of their antecedents. Most of them are former governors and former ministers who, when they were governors in their respective states, were alleged to have almost ran their states aground. When they were ministers in the first tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, most of them failed woefully.
So, one had expected Mr President to look for fresh hands, persons with the capacity and vision to come on board. I think rather than named many of the people in the list as nominees, the president should have used all these people as board members or ambassadors. They should have functioned well that capacity, because I sincerely believe most of them don’t deserve to be ministers. These people are going to fail Mr President and Nigerians. But Mr President has appointed them, it is now left for him to allow Nigerians assess them and act accordingly when they underperform.
What do you think Mr President should do to deliver on his promises to Nigerians?
I want Mr President to take the position of a positive sadist this time around. I want him to wear his military uniform now, let him be tough with his appointees this time around. We need him to be the civilian despots. If he is tough it will help him in the fight against corruption. This is because now we want performance and if Mr President is tough most of them will perform well. After six months anyone who failed to perform the president should sack him.
The screening and confirmation of ministerial nominees was perhaps the Senate President’s first National Assignment, how would rate him?
The Senate President was largely supported by the presidency- that is the executive arm of government and so many persons in the APC. So as it were, he was condemned to dance to their tunes. The reason is simple if he does not or in whatever gives any evidence of being against the government, of course, he might be removed. And mind you those people that planted him there, nominated and send the ministerial nominees to the Senate.
In the time past, when David Mark was Senate President, during Pius Ayim and others, it was not a wrong thing for someone to ask a nominee to recite national anthem, first or second stanza. It has been the practice and that has disqualified some persons. But somebody asks a nominee to do that in the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan vetoed it and said it was not a question. What is it was not a question? Any questions no matter how seemingly insignificant can be asked a nominee because the nominee’s response could open up a lot of issues, let Nigerians into the mindset of the nominee. Sadly, under Lawan’s Senate Presidency almost everybody was asked to take a bow and go and this left a lot to be desired. That is not proper scrutiny. He was doing what those who supported him wanted and not what Nigerians expected him to do.
Do you think the attitude of the senate will eventually affect the performance of President Buhari administration?
If you have a rubber stamp Senate and a rubber stamp deputy senate president, they will do their legislative duty to the dictate of the executive. When they are supposed to be checkmated and they are now the one dictating to the legislative arm, what are we having? We have only one arm of government, the executive now becomes the father of legislature. So the principles of check and balances are lost.
How would you react to the proscription of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria?
The Shiites don’t carry arms, they go about their protest peacefully. Majority of them are youths and women. It is also important to note that the federal government had repeatedly failed to obey courts of competent jurisdiction that had given bail to the leader of the Shiites, El Zazaky and even awards some amount of money, but all the federal government could do was to proscribe the group. Dishonoring the court order is an illegality. The police have on many occasions opened fire on members of the Shiites group and now the group has been proscribed, this is barbaric.
What are they doing to insist that the federal government obeys and respects the rule of law?
Our court of law is becoming a laughing stock in the comity of nations. How and why did they declare Shiites a terrorist group? Don’t forget you have the bandits robbing, killing and maiming people, causing civil disobedience yet no court of law has proscribed them. Then the Shiites that are doing their lawful protest was proscribed. This is a signal that one day OPC will be declared terrorist group, Niger Delta Avengers will be declared terrorist group and before you know it some social club and individuals that are trying to bring the attention of the government to some prevailing social ills will be declared terrorists groups. I think there is the need for Mr President to have a rethink on that decision.
Are you optimistic about the second term of President Buhari administration achieving the next level programme?
With all these 43 ministers only a few of them can assist the president to achieve his set objectives. Mr President needs to monitor these ministers closely because if they underperform and they are allowed to remain unchanged, then they may lead the party to failure.
But the party is my party and I don’t want Mr President to fail. So ‘am saying all these because I want him to be successful. My candid advice to the president is to allow and direct these people to be assessed every month and anyone who fails the assessment test consistently for six months, such minister should be sacked. In the area of security, I also call on the president to change all the service chiefs.