Weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari’s Independence Day speech, reactions have continued to trail his assessment of his administration in which he scored himself high, saying he has done well. Many operators in the private sector dismissed the pass mark the president awarded himself, arguing that available field experiences and data do not bear him out completely.
While many agreed, however, that there is some level of improvement, others contend that many of his ministers have failed to align with his change agenda.
To this effect, LEADERSHIP Sunday decided to rate and review the successes and failures of some of his minister’s since their inauguration on August 21, 2019 with a view to assist them brace up and help the Buhari administration deliver its campaign promises in the remaining years.
President Buhari had recently directed ministers and permanent secretaries to redouble their efforts and work in synergy towards total delivery of his administration’s set target to improve the livelihood of all Nigerians.
The president who gave the charge at Abuja during his closing remarks at the end of a two-day mid-term ministerial performance review retreat also instructed the ministers to “ramp up implementation” of their mandates along the nine priority areas of his administration.
Looking at the high expectations that greeted the Buhari administration and the role of ministers in delivering democracy dividends, many Nigerians expected that their scorecard would be impressive.
Unfortunately, to the dismay of many, the performance of his cabinet members is not being checked, hence, the severe criticism on their poor performance.
Here are some of the ministers Nigerians believe are underperforming:
Minister Of Education: Adamu Adamu
Adamu Adamu, an accountant and journalist by profession, was reappointed on August 21, 2019 after President Buhari’s reelection for second tenure. Sadly, two years down the line, the activities of the education ministry points to the fact that the sector has not left its pre-2015 state. There is no coherent policy to advance the quality of education. The education sector is today characterised by myriads of challenges, even worse than the sector has ever recorded.
The minister has been attacked by Nigerians for the lack of activities in his ministry. Not much has been heard from his ministry since he unveiled his roadmap for a radical change in the education sector between 2016 and 2019.
The country’s illiteracy level has not reduced and other issues like funding, quality, labour disputes and the staggering number of out-of-school children are yet to be addressed.
There have been calls by Nigerians for President Buhari to sack Adamu. More specifically, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has severally asked President Muhammadu Buhari to sack him because he is insensitive and lacks commitment to reversing the dwindling Nigerian education sector. ASUU added that Adamu failed to engage the union on its repeated demands and correspondences.
The most worrisome is the minister’s inability to appear at public functions. The minister of state for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, is mostly seen in public functions relating to the sector, raising questions about the where about of Adamu.
Adamu had promised through his Ministerial Strategic Plan (MSP 2016-2019) to stabilise the sector, a promise he is yet to fulfill, as bandits have shattered that dream.
Immediately he was reappointed, Adamu stretched out a ministerial blueprint tagged ‘Ministerial Strategic Plan (MSP) 2018 – 2022,’ in which he again promised to reduce the number of out-of-school children and promote community schools; remove every form of payment (levies) in basic schools; Curriculum and Policy Matters; Tertiary Education; Education Data and Planning, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), and Library Services in education, among others.
Although he has achieved a few of these goals, the major issues facing the sector are yet to be nipped in the bud. One of such achievements is the removal of unqualified teachers from schools.
However, Adamu has failed to address the number of strikes by labour unions in his ministry. The minister has not been able to resolve the issues that led to strike actions in the Nigerian tertiary education system, especially the ASUU strike. These strikes, no doubt, have further crippled the education sector.
Another area the minister failed woefully is the protection of educational institutions across the country. Since his assumption of office, educational institutions had been under attacks, resulting in closure of many schools, while thousands of pupils are traumatised and afraid to return back to school.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who spoke through his chief of staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, at the 4th International Conference on Safe Schools Declaration, held recently in Abuja, revealed that the persistent attacks on educational facilities and abductions of students and teachers have left more than 12 million children currently traumatised and afraid of going to school especially the girl-child.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) also revealed in September 2021 that no fewer than 20 attacks have been directed at Nigerian schools.
The Fund also said about one million school children, out of over 37 million, were afraid to return to the classroom as schools resume.
Minister Of Federal Capital Territory: Mohammed Bello
President Buhari’s reappointment of Mohammed Bello as the FCT minister generated controversy among residents of the nation’s capital, as many said his administration, in the first tenure, looked the other way while infrastructure and other public utilities in the city decayed.
Residents of the nation’s capital have continued to decry the non-implementation of statutory budgets of the territory on yearly basis, a situation they believe is gradually turning most satellite towns in the FCT to glorified slums.
Concerns from the residents are that social services, including healthcare services, electricity, transportation, water and other social amenities have all become epileptic in the FCT. Also, the issue of street and traffic lights are nothing to write home about, as they are no longer functional.
A tour of all the satellite towns in the FCT would reveal the dilapidated state of road and electricity infrastructures in places like Nyanya, Gwagwalada ], Kubwa, Lugbe, Karu, Zuba and Bwari, with Dutse-Bwari-express Road as the worst hit.
Sadly, part of the road networks which were in better shapes before Bello’s reappointment have become death traps. There are potholes everywhere. All the traffic intersections or junctions are riddled with potholes. The traffic lights are not working, even as miscreants have taken over the town. It has never been this bad.
The security situation in city centre is another pointer to the fact that the minister has failed to ensure the safety of residents of the territory, as kidnapping, day light robbery and other criminal activities are now a routine activities
Despite the fact that the Senate passed the FCT 2021 statutory budget of N329 billion in June, which President Buhari also signed into a law on August 25, 2021, the minister is yet to put the fund into use, with many insisting that it would have improved the living standard of the FCT residents.
In a recent online poll conducted by politics commentator, Kayode Ogundamisi, Bello was rated as performing badly.
Minister Of Science, Technology and Innovation: Ogbonnaya Onu
There is perhaps no ministry in the current administration that is replete with activities such as conferences, workshops and seminars other than the ministry of Science Technology and Innovation.
The minister, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, a first class Engineer, is steering the affairs of the ministry with the support of the minister of State, Mohammed Abdullahi, and the permanent secretary Edet Sunday Akpan. The ministry has 17 parastatals and research institutes augmenting the efforts of the government to drive the process of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI).
The ministry unveiled a logo to officially change its name from the ministry of Science and Technology to ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation to rebrand Nigeria’s technological vision and mission in order to meet up with global contemporary and future demands as well as compete with the rest of the world.
But despite this ambition in the last six years of the Buhari administration, the Nigerian economy and Nigerians have not felt the impact of science, technology and innovation especially that which is domesticated, and the reasons are legion. Experts have attributed the shortfall to “lack of expertise, low level of education, lack of appropriate market, inadequate infrastructures, poverty, economic fluctuation, political instability.”
An analyst who did not want his name in print noted that the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation is just struggling and appears far away from the stated objectives because even the budgetary allocations cannot carry the ministry far enough.
“Nigeria still depends on imported technological products because the country lacks strategies on how to harness the technological potentials within the country. This has been compounded by the political instability characterized by the growing insecurity in the country as well as poor funding”, he said.
An ICT expert, Haniel Jafaaru, said the only way Nigeria can stop depending on other nations for its technological needs is when the country grows its knowledge base which is yet to happen.
“When we are able to grow our knowledge base and equip our higher institutions with the right skill and not just having professors that don’t have research or having professors that have research without implementation.
“So, we need to go back to the drawing board, redesign our educational system that will focus on knowledge and not certificates. Because we are resource- driven everybody wants to leverage on that and just get a certificate and work in line with that certificate. But in a situation where we are knowledge-based everybody would want to do research and make the research work”, he stated.
Despite Mr Onu’s clamour for patronage of local manufacturers and inventors in his first campaign, his performance as the minister of science and technology, a year after inauguration, still reflects a ministry lagging behind in the promotion of indigenous products.
While Nigeria continues to largely depend on assemblage, importation rather than manufacturing, the minister’s promise of delivering nuclear technology for power in the country remains uncertain.
Minister Of Environment: Sharon Ikeazor
LEADERSHIP Sunday observed that from PMB’s emergence as president since 2015, the impact of those appointed as ministers’ of environment is yet to be felt. This is because, prior to the redeployment of the substantive minister, Dr Mohammed Mahmood Abubakar to the ministry of Agriculture, no tangible result was seen. Despite handing over to the minister of state, Mrs Sharon Ikeazor, no tangible impact has been felt too.
The country is yet to meet up with the Paris Agreement on climate change, which committed Nigeria to reducing “greenhouse gas emissions unconditionally by 20 percent and conditionally by 45 per cent.”
From emissions to gas flaring, spills, soot, and improper discharges of drilling mud during petroleum prospecting, among others, Nigeria is still a major victim of pollution due largely to unregulated activities across major sectors.
Also, the Ogoni clean-up project, which is yet to gain significant progress to the satisfaction of stakeholders, is another factor that drew back the rating of the ministry. Even with
Minister of Aviation: Hadi Sirika
The Ministry of Aviation is one of the major sectors of any country’s polity. It is a mirror the outside world uses in assessing the development of a country.
The minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, started brightly, especially in the first term of the Buhari administration. However, the minister’s inability to fulfill some of his major promises, quickly robbed off on his good start.
Sirika was appointed as the minister of aviation by the president after his first tenure as the minister of state for Aviation under Rotimi Amaechi, who was the minister of Transportation during Buhari’s first term in office.
At his inauguration on August 21, 2019, Sirika assured the implementation of the Nigerian Aviation roadmap and the moving of the industry to an enviable height.
There were four key promises that stood out in the roadmap of the minister for the aviation sector. These are the establishment of a National Carrier, the concession of four international airports, the establishment of Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) centre and lastly, the establishment of Aviation Leasing Company (Aircraft leasing programme)
The minister also promised the development of Cargo Terminals, the development of Aerotropolis (Airport City) with the latest promise in 2019 being the delivery of the N10 billion Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu upgrade by April 2020.
However, the successful delivery of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport upgrade is a key area the minister has been scored high by stakeholders.
The federal government on August 24, 2019 shut down the Enugu airport for rehabilitation and N10 billion was subsequently approved for its upgrade.
Though the project could not be delivered in December 2019, as promised by the minister, it was delivered on August 30, 2020 with domestic flight scheduled to commence immediately while international flights started on September 5.
On the concession of the four international airports, the minister just closed the bidding process on October 25, 2021.
Although there are several controversies around the concession, the minister received outline business case certificates of compliance from the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) for the concession of the airports in June 2020.
The minister’s low points seem to overshadow his high points.
The inability to establish a national carrier has been one of the major lows of the minister.
After the launch of the national carrier in London in 2018, the project met its waterloo, as the minister declared its indefinite suspension.
The national carrier, which is to replace the defunct Nigerian Airways, is yet to come through. The failure was tied to lack of investors and technical partners.
Meanwhile, the minister announced that the Nigeria Air project is still on the aviation road-map, regardless of its indefinite suspension. The minister said the establishment of the national carrier will be executed in the first quarter of 2022.
Also, the failure to establish an aviation leasing company is also another low for the aviation ministry. The establishment of an aviation leasing company, which has been in incubation since the first term of the present administration, is yet to be established.
In February 2020, the ministry of aviation said Ethiopian Airlines, Egypt Air and a consortium of A.J Walters/ Glovesly have been shortlisted as bidders for the proposed leasing company and the MRO facility. The minister had in 2017 secured N1.5billion approval for the execution of five projects in the aviation sector, part of which was the establishment of an aviation leasing company.
Following the shortlisting of the three companies, a bidders’ conference took place during which a consortium of A. J. Walters/Glovesly/Egypt Air was shortlisted for the Aviation Leasing Company.
At the same bidders’ conference, two companies; A.J. Walters/Glovesly/ Egypt Air and Ethiopian Airlines were shortlisted to handle the MRO facility.
Identifying the need for an MRO, the ministry said the centre will aid major aircraft maintenance and technological knowledge transfer which will create more employment.
The failure to fulfill the promise to establish an MRO centre is another low for the minister.
Ministry Of Women Affairs: Pauline Tallen
On August 21, 2019, President Buhari appointed Pauline Tallen as the minister of women affairs and social development. The ministry which was founded in 2005 has as its key objective the stimulation of action to promote civic, political, social and economic participation of women, coordinating and monitoring women’s programmes, providing technical and financial support for women amongst others.
Ms Tallen was appointed at a time when challenges faced by women in the country were and are still at record high. Some of these challenges include domestic violence, low inclusion of women in politics, child marriage, and female genital mutilation among others.
On assuming office, the newly appointed minister promised to tackle these challenges and also advocate for increased girl-child education.
On assumption of office, Tallen showed some efforts to place the women on the table of justice. However, the spate of gender-based violence and non-inclusion of women in politics has no doubt marred Tallen’s productivity.
The national president of the Initiative for Women’s Accelerated Development in Africa, Evelyn Onyilo, said Tallen’s performance can be rated as good, but noted that more milestones can still be achieved.
The ministry of Women Affairs is saddled with the responsibility of ensuring equal access to social, economic and wealth creation opportunities to all, irrespective of gender.
The ministry has the broad mandate to advise the government on gender and children issues, initiate policy guidelines and lead the process of gender equality and mainstreaming at both the national and international levels.
However, gender inequality has remained in Nigeria with poor representation of Nigerian women in elective and leadership positions, even though women represent 49 per cent of the country’s population.
Nigeria is reported to have almost the lowest representation for women in sub-Saharan Africa.
Stakeholders have described this as a failure on the part of Tallen who has the responsibility to advice the government on the need for women to be involved in policy and decision making in the country to be able to take decisions on issues that affect them.
LEADERSHIP Sunday gathered that as of February 2021, only 5.8 per cent of seats in parliament were held by women in Nigeria
A report by UN Women noted: “As of December 2020, only 46.7 per cent of indicators needed to monitor the SDGs from a gender perspective were available, with gaps in key areas, in particular: unpaid care and domestic work, key labour market indicators, such as the gender pay gap and information and communications technology skills.
Water Resources: Suleiman Adamu
The minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, has been rated below average by key players in the water sector. Adamu, who has been the minister since 2015, is said to have little or no achievements or success stories in the sector. This is even as experts in the water sector have complained bitterly that he has been focusing more on advocacy visits to states across the country to campaign against open defecation. They described his general assessment as “woeful”. Aggrieved experts in the sector have said they are unable to rate him high due to his dismal record.
Although the ministry has severally claimed it implemented the WASH Action Programme where 34 water supply projects have been completed, 159 rural water supply schemes in the North East, IDP camps, and some federal institutions and establishments were constructed, and 895 water supply schemes in 10 states, Nigerians still believe that the ministry’s productivity is totally low.
But the ministry has continued to boast that the river basin development authorities have now been strategically placed to facilitate national food security and support employment opportunities.
Ministry Of Mines and Solid Minerals: Arc Olamilekan Adegbite
The mining sector is well recognised in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan of the Buhari administration as one of the strategic areas for the diversification of the economy.
The ministry of Mines and Solid Minerals has as part of its bid to boost production and attract investments to the sector, introduce some incentives, including the N5 billion Nigerian Solid Minerals Development Fund (NSMDF), the N30 billion and the Natural Resources Intervention Fund (NRIF) for the promotion of exploration of new minerals and to strengthen the ministry’s regulatory capacity.
The ministry also strengthened the capacity of the Mining Cadastre office to issue licences to applicants in line with the Nigerian Mining and Minerals Act, 2007. The series of incentives led to resuscitation of activities in the mines, minerals and metals sector as attested to by the quarterly GDP reports of National Bureau of Statistics, though operators have continued to lament their inability to access the various financial incentives.
However, the major weak point of the minister, according to critics, is his failure to bring the Ajaokuta Steel Company back to life contrary to his promise.
On the other hand, the minister had insisted that the federal government would concession the plant rather than pump in fresh funds into it. Like his predecessors, the minister has failed in helping to unlock the promise of Ajaokuta by resolving the controversial ownership tangles, which have bogged the company down for many years.
George Akume minister of special duties and intergovernmental affairs Story
Also, the minister of Special duties and intergovernmental affairs, Senator George Akume since he assumed has not been involved in any major landmark achievements in the ministry, but observers beleive that he has been in a war of words with the governor in his home state, Samuel Ortom.
For instance recently during a press conference in Abuja Akume had called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to go after Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State and for the governor to stop attacking President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We call on Governor Samuel Ortom to tender an unreserved apology to President Muhammadu Buhari, for using foul language and for operating outside the set rules of engagement between the state and the federal governments.
“We call on the EFCC and ICPC Commission (Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission) to thoroughly investigate the application of the total federal allocations to Benue State from May 29, 2015 to date”
In the briefing which was attended by the elders/stakeholders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue Akume also called for a declaration of state of emergency in Benue state over insecurity, even as urged the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency direct the disbandment of the Livestock Guards in Benue State for their involvements in nefarious and criminal activities leading to the breach of peace and massacre of innocent citizens of Benue State.
Responding, the Benue State governor Samuel Ortom noted that Senator Akume and his group avoided responding to the issues of insecurity in the country which the he has repeatedly and rightly accused the presidency of complicity.
Ortom noted that the outing of George Akume and others in Abuja was nothing more than a massage on the ego of the Presidency to curry personal favours, adding that as long as he and his group secure their meal tickets, Benue can go to hell. A media attack on Governor Ortom instantly attracts a package from the Villa. He added that Akume and his group must have been under intense pressure to hold the press conference and hurl vituperation against the Governor, saying they had to do to keep their jobs.
There are also indications that Senator George Akume has been involved in the campaign to be elected as the next chairman of the ruling-All Progressives Congress (APC). Recently, his posters had flooded the state, which many believed has taken a greater part of his jobs in nation’s capital.