New Ministers: Can They Pull Nigeria Out Of the Woods?


When the Acting Presi

      dent, Goodluck Jonathan, some two weeks back, dissolved the Federal Executive Council, many Nigerians saw it as a welcome development while to the members of the Yar’Adua kitchen cabinet, it was a rude shock. The Yar’Adua’s cabinet was loathed by many because  their allegiance to their boss was far above the country which they took an oath to serve. Therefore, the people expected a transformational cabinet that would not be encumbered with personal and sectional interest. But on the list of 33 nominees sent to the Senate, about one third were members of the disbanded  council. The question on the lips of Nigerians is: can these people pull the country from political doldrums that has found itself? The Tide on Sunday time out to know what Nigerians are saying on this issue.


Sgn. Ldr Emmanuel Ordu-Obuah

My opinion is that these people have served before; if those who are nominated again think that they can deliver then it means that they are running the same programme. However, I think that there are other Nigerians who can be given a chance to try at least. We can’t keep recycling people and expecting new result. I think it is Ziglar who said that “it is the highest height of madness to be doing the same thing over again and expecting new result each time”. We have been in this madness for too long that we are recycling the same old people and expecting a miracle from them. If a man has been tried once or twice and he couldn’t deliver; trying him a third time in a country where we claim to have 150 million people is not right. We are borrowing some negative tips from some African countries. Since I was born I have heard of Soglo and Kerekor being president in Benin Republic.

After Soglo, Kereko will take over. Are you saying in that country there are only two intelligent people? It is just like that in Nigeria if we say we are 150 million people, a few people have been tried twice and you keep trying them; is it that they are the only people who have the magic wand to get us out of the woods? I think some other people should have been tried this time instead of just recycling the old people.

Rev. Sammy Alabo

Basically, what is done is recycling but I won’t go ahead to say if the people will be productive or not productive because that is not the point. The point that we should actually look at here is no one outside can determine if the person is productive or not without looking at the policy constraints under which they are serving. If their leaders have told them put the left foot first and if that left foot is not going to produce anything; to the leaders, it is productive enough because he is simply being obedient. That is the measure by which he is judging his productivity. Productivity as it is judged by the policy makers and by the general public may not have the same co-efficient. So we can not even say that they are productive or not. But if we look at it from how do their actions or inactions benefit or are detrimental to the general public; then we can say yes, they are productive or not productive.

The question is, by what policy are they driven? And is that policy by which they are driven productive or productivity oriented or not? These are the issues and it all boils down to transparent leadership. That is the basic question.

Barr. Antony. O.D. Ezenwoko

My view is that we must view the nomination in the context in which they are coming and the scenario that played before the appointment. We all know what happened in the past where Acting president, Goodluck Jonathan was saddled with an executive council that is not of his making. And where some of them were flagrantly disloyal to him and this new appointment has been held as very positive and a show of consolidation of power. So it is bold enough for him to reconstitute the executive council and there is no way he could have done that by sweeping out everybody there and bringing a whole new lot. And I feel what he had to do was to adjust the council so that those that he can work with come on board.

But there is one thing remarkable about this council as presently proposed to be constituted; most of the old names, it appears, he is leaving them behind. There is so much inclusion of a new blood now and you have much of the younger people being returned. And I expect that some of them that were just ministers of state would have substantive portfolios. And we have a president now who is not saddled with health problems. So I think that with Acting President, Goodluck Jonathan, doing the supervisory role, we should expect much better than what we had before. That is my take.

Vivian Bellowu

To my mind, going through the list of the men and the women we have there, I think  to some extend we should expect some positive actions from them. Although, I am not very comfortable with some of the names. Especially people that you consider are old or recurrent faces that are being recycled as we are seeing. People like Anenih, I wouldn’t know why that name will keep being recycled in the nation’s polity as if in the entire nation there are no capable hands. Husband or wife, they are still one and the same thing. But beyond that I think, some how, it is too early to judge because we don’t know the portfolios that will be assigned to these men and women. There are some key positions that will sort of be a determining factor to the success or failure of Jonathan’s administration. Portfolios like power, energy, education, Niger Delta, among others. These are key portfolios that need men and women that have focus. People that have vision, that would key into the policy thrust of Goodluck’s administration.  Let’s give them time and see what they can offer because they say the taste of the pudding is in the eating.

Incidentally, some of the old hands, I can’t really see  what they offered the nation that they should be fielded this second time. Names like Allison Madueke. I mean she was minister of transport sometime, and there is no landmark achievement that you can tell me that this woman made but for a woman like Akunyile, I think I am rather comfortable with her although the ministry of information is not necessarily the area she can function optimally because I would prefer that they be fixed in portfolios in which they can function optimally. She can be a good minister for the nation but then she should not be fixed  in the ministry of information. The information management should be left for the expert. She should fixed in a field that is related to her background like the health area or something related to that. In that way they can function  to the maximum capacity.

Azigaloate J. Baabel:

My response is that nothing has change. It is still the same old  songs with its discordant tunes. The drummer is certainly new but the tunes, lyrics and the entire songs are more than familiar.  The only thing that has changed is that the likes of Mr. Michael Aondoaka  who sent his conscience asleep while the nation was asphyxiated  out of the scene. But for a few professionals here and there, the present list of ministerial nominees are encumbered more by political considerations than  by the yawning hopes and aspirations for social and  economic change which the nation desperately needs now.

The list  is fraught with political lackeys and jobbers who don’t have much to offer. You check out Godwin Ijediogor and Samson Ezeas masterpiece on an analysis of the Ministerial nominalMarch 27, 2010 and you will be surprised at the kind of list that confronts us.

I am afraid that the much touted desire for a genuine socio-economic development that is human-centred in virtually all the sector of the economy which is needed now to move us from being a backward nation in this era of globlisation will once again elude us.

Granted that the Acting President Goodluck Jonathan is promising Nigerians a measure of sweeping reforms especially electoral reform and the repositioning of the economy, yet he needs to keep an eye on some of the nominees already screened and cleared by  the Senate. Non-performing ministers should be shown the way out. He need not to have dissolved the whole cabinet to achieve this. There should be cabinet shake ups.