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Fundamentally Flawed Deployment Of Ministers

The duties and responsibilities in the presidency is so much that PMB as petroleum minister will make a monstrous mess as president

The difference between political leaders in advanced countries of the world and Africans is that the former appreciate the importance of widening their knowledge on governance from being avid readers; while the latter blindly advance primordial calculations. Enlightened Nigerians believed that President Muhammadu Buhari [PMB] five months interval in constituting the Federal Executive Council was to facto in the Steve Oronsaye Panel recommendations on the merger of MDAs to reduce the cost of governance. PMB was expected to deploy professionals to unique ministries in accordance with presidential system of government to optimize efficiency, effectiveness and curb corruptive tendencies. The deployment of ministers is fundamentally flawed.

PMB disregarded public opinions on deployment of experienced professionals to science-oriented ministries like petroleum, works, power etc.

The ministry of agriculture should have been merged with water resources. These two ministries should not have been operated at the federal level if True Federalism has been reinvented. The rational is that climatic conditions are not the same in all parts of the country. The federating units should be formulating their respective policies on agriculture. The over-centralization coterminous with pseudo federalism led to an ugly situation whereby the federal budget is used to build dams and irrigations in the north to create the impression that the north is the food basket of the country. Youth and sports should have been merged with women affairs; solid minerals with science and technology, environment and housing. It smacks of devious agenda to merge the ministries of works, power and housing and headed by a non-professional, a lawyer; the works and power ministries headed by world acclaimed engineering professors Barth Nnaji and Chinedu Nebo in President Goodluck Jonathan administration. The minister will be a slave to the engineers in articulating memos on engineering and electricity, seminar/workshop papers for presentation at local and international fora. These fundamental flaws depict that the change mantra of APC is phony.

It is shocking that a journalist is the minister for education,while a professor of education is his assistance. It is time the socalled minister of state is abolished. In spite of prudent advice, PMB defiantly insisted in making himself petroleum minister. This is a monstrous illegality and brazen violation of the constitution; even as he was cajoled by harebrained lawyers who naively argued that he was in order. Did he forward his name to the Senate for screening? It is an insult to Nigerians for PMB to create the impression that he is the only honest person in the country to head the petroleum ministry; this is a demonstration of constitutional dictatorship. One would recall that his asset declaration did not acquit him as being honest as it was not done according to the requirements of the law; but the collective amnesia of Nigerians appear to have died the grave matter.

Fact remains that corruption is a symptom and not the fundamental problem in Nigeria; rather the problem is the blunt refusal of the feudal caliphate to resolve the National Question to dump the unitary-federal contraption encapsulated by the military imposed 1999 constitution and reinvent true federalism. It is overcentralization that fertilizes the ground for corruptive tendencies in Nigeria. The three agenda of PMB to tackle insecurity, corruption and nebulous job creation cannot assuage the deep yearnings and aspirations of other ethnic groups in the middle-belt and south.

PMB should not be the minister of petroleum because he is not an oil and gas engineer as Nigeria is no longer under military jack-boot where WASC holders or degree holder in Islamic religion or arts theatre used to be made a petroleum minister and other science-oriented MDA’s which led to brazen corruption. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo got away with the impunity of being “petroleum minister” because the senate waslily-livered and allegedly in his pocket. It was during his imperial presidency that the oil sector witnessed unprecedented malfeasance; even as accountability was not rendered as the nation was perceived as banana republic. This brazen impunity can no longer be used as example; and the senate should insist that a minister of petroleum be appointed. An Igbo adage says that when an abomination is glossed over for a year, it becomes a tradition. Nigeria can no longer afford a situation where non-engineers will be begging the engineers in the oil, power and works ministries to be preparing Memos and seminar papers for the ministers’ presentation in the local and international fora. The need for professionals to certain ministries could not be emphasized. Also permanent secretaries with the same qualifications should be deployed so that they could be speaking the same language. It is plain naivety to say that minister’s [or commissioner’s] position is a figure head. We should strive to appreciate advanced nations in putting round pegs in round holes to ensure good governance. The science-oriented minister would be in a position to vet memos and sundry documents drafted by professionals.

The duties and responsibilities in the presidency is so much that PMB as petroleum minister will make a monstrous mess as president. Probably, he is preparing the ground to give excuses for fumbling in the pretext that he is fighting corruption in the petroleum sector. Nigeria should stop being a laughing stock in governance. The ultimate solution is the implementation of the 2005 and 2014 political reform conferences to revert the country to realistic practice of federal system of government where the ethnic federating units will fashion their government in line with their value system and world view. In True Federalism, the federal government should be operating only three ministries viz; foreign affairs, defence and immigration; while the rest of the MDA’s will revert to the federating units with appropriate revenue sharing formular and fiscal federalism.

–  Polycarp Onwubiko

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