Since the President Muhammadu Buhari released the list of Ministers,reactions both negative and positive have followed. In this analysis, ABDULRAHMAN ZAKARIYAU takes a look at what the president and the ministers would need to take Nigeria to the ‘Next Level.’
Today (Wednesday), President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to assign portfolios to the 43-minister designate. However, some of these ministries are considered more important, than others. Interestingly, the ministers that well oversee these crucial ministries are often addressed as super ministers.
These ministries include the: Ministry of finance, power, works and housing, ministry of petroleum resources, ministry of transportation, ministry of defence and ministry of foreign affairs, among others. With regard to all these ministries, a lot need to be done to help President Buhari achieve his set objectives.
Ministers’ support important for ‘Next Level’ – Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari said the support of the ministers will assist his administration to take Nigeria to the next level.
He said “As ministers, I am counting on you together with advisers and Nigerians willing and able to contribute to build upon our road map of policies, programmes and projects that will lift the bulk of our people out of poverty and set them on the road to prosperity. Our administration’s eight years will have laid the grounds for lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years. This outcome will fundamentally shift Nigeria’s trajectory and place us among the world’s great nations.
“Honourable ministers-designate, you will be responsible for the development and implementation of policies, programmes and projects in your various ministries, departments and agencies in line with government priorities. You must also ensure that agencies under your ministries are effective, efficient and accountable in the discharge of their responsibilities.
“Honourable ministers-designate, we must work as a team. Although you have been chosen to represent your states as a constitutional imperative, it is vital for all of you to work as Nigerians. Furthermore, working as a team demands that we know what the next person is doing. You must open communications with your colleagues. Lack of communication leads to lack of cooperation and sub-optimal performance.”
That clearly is the president’s dream, a mission and vision and he expects the cabinet ministers to assist him to attain them.
President Muhammadu Buhari Monday while declaring open the presidential retreat for ministers-designate, permanent secretaries and top government functionaries.
Speaking at the retreat in Abuja, the president told the participants to constantly communicate among themselves and unite in carrying out their functions. He said he would be counting on the ministers and advisers to drive the policies, programmes and projects and set the nation on the road to prosperity.
He said the ministers would be responsible for the development and implementation of policies, programmes and projects in various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in line with government priorities.
The president said ministers must ensure agencies under their ministries are effective, efficient and accountable in the discharge of their responsibilities.
He said: “You will be responsible for the development and implementation of policies, programmes and projects in your various ministries, departments and agencies in line with Government priorities. You must also ensure that agencies under your ministries are effective, efficient and accountable in the discharge of their responsibilities.
“We must work as a team. Although you have been chosen to represent your states as a constitutional imperative, it is vital for all of you to work as Nigerians.
“Furthermore, working as a team demands that we know what the next person is doing. You must open communications with your colleagues. Lack of communication leads to lack of cooperation and sub-optimal performance.”
The president said his administration identified security, fighting corruption and revamping the economy as focal points.
“In our first term we identified three salient areas for close attention and action, namely to secure the country, to improve the economy and to fight corruption. None but the most partisan will dispute that we have made headway in all three areas:
First – we have rolled back the frontiers of terrorism; we are actively addressing other challenges such as kidnappings, farmer-herder violence, improving the safety of our roads, railways, air traffic and fire control capacities.
“Second – we are steadily turning the economy round through investment in agriculture and manufacturing, shoring up our foreign reserves, curbing inflation and improving the country’s infrastructure.
“Third – on corruption, we have recovered hundreds of billions of stolen assets and are actively pursuing control measures to tackle leakages in public resources. We will not let up in fighting corruption,” he said.
Another step towards ‘Next Level’
In a phone chat with Blueprint, a political analyst and public affairs commentator, Jide Ojo, said he expects the president to chat a performance key indicator for all ministries so as to take the country to next
“Well, it’s obvious that President Muhammadu Buhari needs to re-jig his cabinet first and for most. This, I say that once you are appointed you can take a nap and after four years you go. I think it should be performance based-appointment and performance-based retention of your position.”
Ojo further said: “There should be a chart of demand or key performance indicator for each ministry. He needs to get private sector consultants to help him set goals for each of those ministers and their ministries. So, there should a key performance indicator to say that this is what you are expected to achieve in six months or in one year, and failure to achieve it, without good reasons means that you are losing that appointment”.
Many analysts also shared the same view with Ojo, that with a performance charts will help all the ministers to sit up and make meaningful impact for the success of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
Stable power supply – Adeyeye
On power, Regulatory Manager- Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors, Adetunji adeyeye, says for President Muhammadu Buhari to take Nigerians to next level of power supply, the would be ministers must be bold enough to implement some of the policies.
Adeyeye said “the next minister have to address the commercial vibe in the transaction of the power sector. The government must be bold enough to provide some kind of intervention that will ensure compliance terms of pricing of power.
“So if you don’t want to provide subsidy you can put the price of gas at a particular price so that it will coercion the cost. The minister should also ensure that any gas that will be sold to the generation company are sold in Naira. This will create an impact in the improvement of upstream power sector.
“So the new minister should also ensure that government are consistent in terms of police direction. For a while now, government have been working on some policies that are sending wrong signals to investors. So I expect the new minister to be bold and look at some of these reasons why the power sector has failed.
“There is a document, world bank power sector recovery programme. The new ministers should critical study that document to address of the challenges in power sector”.
Interestingly, some specialists in the Power, works and Housing sector argued that unpacking of the ministry will help solve many problems. They noted that in the last four years, too much attention was given to a sector at the expense of other sectors in the ministry.
Security summit – Security expert
With regard to ministry of defence, which is ministry with the responsibilities of ensuring the safety of all Nigerians, a security expert, Golden member, International security Association (IWA) Switzerland Jackson Lekan Ojo, says the next minister of defence should work with all concern agencies and individuals to organise security summit aimed generating ideas to end the insecurity in Nigeria.
“I will advise the next minister of defence to persuade Mr President to call for national security summit. This will enable the people, private security experts, security scholars, top criminologists, military, paramilitary, and traditional rulers to come together to discuss some of these issues and suggest ways out.
“Any advice on security that anyone might want to offer Mr President is not supposed to be in the public domain. Advice on security most be discretely given, it must be a secret, confidential material, but is only in Nigeria that people advise Mr President ways to fight insurgency on TV and radio.