President Muhammadu Buhari has finally set up a proper cabinet. His ministers have been inaugurated and are required to swing into action promptly as to aid the president eliver the promised ‘Change’.
It would be recalled that this week Buhari has finally inaugurated 36 ministers which were screened and cleared by the Senate. However, of the 36 inaugurated, there are ten whose ministries will be a key focus for the Nigerian people.
Nigerians will really be at the neck of these ten ministers, as they serve as pivot points for the change in direction of Nigeria’s destiny.
In no particular order, here are ten ministers and their ministries who can in no way endeavour to under-perform, because the Nigerian masses will not be forgiving if they cannot get the dividends of the change for which they have voted for.
10. The Ministry of Finance
Mrs Kemi Adeosun from Ogun state heads this ministry, a position that was held by Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in the previous administration.
The task ahead of her is daunting, seeing that her predecessor did a very great job and won the heart of the Nigerian people.
Kemi’s knowledge will be tested by the demands of this ministry, as Nigerians will be expecting her to deliver the misinterpreted promise of “one naira equaling a dollar”.
In the real sense of the word and to face reality, bringing the naira to stand at par with the dollar is an impossible task, but the nation will be looking out for policies and practices that will affect Nigeria’s budgetary estimates of revenue and expenditure.
The Nigerian people will be interested in how she mobilizes domestic and external financial resources for national development.
Her final test will be what the nation’s currency valuation will be with respect to the current value of the naira.
9. The Ministry of Transportation
Rotimi Amaechi, a former governor of Rivers state, heads this ministry. The minister whose appointment stirred controversy is saddled with the responsibility of overseeing the nation’s road safety, civil aviation, maritime transport and rail transport.
He is to develop transportation policies, organize public transport, construct and maintain infrastructural projects.
Nigerians will require of Amaechi a good report as to improvements in the standard of buses that ply the roads, they will require that there is a fixed fare or perhaps a benchmark which the increments cannot exceed.
Most of all, the dream of a perfect rail transport system will leave his name written in gold, and if he makes an impart in the waterways, then you can be sure that he will be immortalised.
He must ensure that the aviation industry does not lose its momentum of growth.
8. The Ministry of Labour and Employment
The political veteran Dr. Chris Ngige from Anambra state heads this ministry, a ministry which for ages has done little or nothing for the Nigerian people.
It is no more news that unemployment is one of the biggest problems besetting Nigeria.
Ngige’s task is simply difficult, as he must come up with strategies to see that a great proportion of the over 40 million Nigerians who are unemployed find something to do.
This doctor must look beyond having the people to be employed, he must make many to become employers of labour.
While doing this, he must also see to it that the interests of workers in general are protected and safeguarded.
7. The Ministry of Justice
Abubakar Malami from Kebbi state heads this very important ministry, so important in the sense that it is the bedrock upon which the house of change will be built.
Experts have said that the greatest reason why Nigeria’s growth has been stunted is the fact that the nation does not in totality operate under the rule of law.
Therefore, if this nation’s democracy is to grow and be preserved, then justice must prevail.
The Nigerian people will require that Malami changes the trends and reshapes the judicial system.
They will require that he addresses the issue of teeming cases still stuck in the courts. Malami must see to it that justice is not stalled or aborted as has been the case in times.
More to Malami’s task would be to restore the hope of the common people in the providence of the law.
6. The Ministry of Petroleum.
“I speaking, is the petroleum minister” those were the words of President Muhammadu Buhari at the ministerial inauguration, a statement which affirmed that he will be stepping in the shoes of Diezani Alison-Madueke.
Buhari takes over a ministry that has been rocked with waves of corruption, a ministry from which many have allegedly plundered the country.
It would be recalled that Diezani, who headed the ministry in the last dispensation, has been facing a series of corruption charges.
The good news, however, is that Buhari is not new to the sector, having served as the federal commissioner in 1976, under the command of General Olusegun Obasanjo.
He was chairman of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) which was created in 1977, a seat which he occupied until 1978.
However, much has changed since the 70s, and new policies have been imbibed. Therefore, the Nigerian president alongside Ibeh Kachikwu, the minister of state for petroleum, will have to join forces to see that the embattled ministry survives and yield proceeds that will change the economic status of the nation.
Only recently, Buhari announced to the world that the nation is broke, even to a point that it cannot afford to pay its ministers, a situation that must be reversed.
Hence, to put Nigeria back on track financially, this ministry must play its roles to the letter.
Buhari and Kachikwu in working as one must ensure the availability and security of sustainable supply of oil and gas for economic development and strategic requirements of Nigeria.
They must also coordinate development of natural resources of energy and minerals. And beyond this, they must be accountable, as the nation cannot afford any more filibustering and plundering of her coffers.
Nigerians will require of them value for every transaction, no discrepancy will be tolerated.
They must be very certain on the passing of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), seeing that the uncertainty which has stalled it since 2008, has caused over half of planned deepwater oil projects to be sanctioned by IOCs.
Government finances cannot give the people the best, not with oil prices below $50 per barrel. Hence, Nigerians will be looking out for urgent change.
5. The Ministry of Agriculture
This ministry is placed under the care of Audu Ogbeh from Benue state. The former PDP national chairman is saddled with responsibility of raising another means of revenue generation.
Audu has so much to do in that his ministry. It can be aligned with that of Ngige to create jobs, turning the minds of the people back to the agriculture which used to be Nigeria’s only source of livelihood.
It would be recalled that the nation was a predominantly agrarian economy, but that was before the discovery of oil in commercial quantity on Sunday, January 15, 1956.
The country remained agrarian, even after Shell Darcy discovered the Oloibiri Oilfield. However, that only lasted up to the early part of the 1970s.
Audu must be ready to set the road map for us to travel back in time, to the era when ships used the sail from Nigeria, laden with agricultural products such as cocoa, timber, groundnut, oil palm, rubber, cotton, cassava and etc.
He must be prepared to lay the foundations for revenue to be generated from the export of agricultural products, thereby helping the Nigerian economy to become diversified again.
Nigerians will require the introduction of innovative ideas to boost greater participation within the sector, beyond the giving out of seedlings and fertilizers to a plethora of subsistence farmers who have not as much as fed themselves, talk more of serving our teeming population.
4. The Ministry of Education
It is only through the right education that any nation can give birth to innovations. The task of making Nigeria’s education right again has been handed to Adamu Adamu from Bauchi state.
That the educational sector of Nigeria is nothing to write home about is not strange. It is not also strange that we churn out thousands daily who have been described as unemployable.
It is a thing of pity that Nigerians will rather school in the neighbouring Ghana or even Benin Republic than to be educated within our institutions.
The task is clear. The Nigerians are one of the most brilliant people in the world, so how do we train them at home and have them use the training to transform the country?
Nigerians will require that right down from our primary schools, Adamu will ensure the education obtained is qualitative. He will be required to bring back the days when attending private schools was just a waste of money, because the teachers in the public citadels of learning were well-trained and the schools well-equipped to impart knowledge.
The people will require that the new minister sees to it that the days of scholarship for excelling students are returned, when hard work is repaid with honour. There has to be a restored hope for those who have no means to pay fees. There must be a system to assist them.
Adamu must be able to boast of Nigerian universities that can stand at par with top universities in Africa and some of the best around the world.
3. The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment
Okechukwu Enelamah who hails from Abia state has been saddled with the responsibility of this ministry.
In a nation that is seeking alternate sources of revenue generation Enelamah will not be let scot-free if does not give a credible account of himself.
Aba, in Abia state where he comes from, used to be a great business hub. There were many industries thriving within the region. But today, they are no more.
What has become of Onitsha? Where is Kano today? What are we trading and who is investing?
Enelamah will surely have to rid himself of sleep, cause like Audu Ogbe, he must contribute immensely in the boosting of Nigeria’s economy.
Nigerians will require that within a short time there will be an increase in the production and exportation of non-oil and gas products.
He is in alliance with the Labour Ministry headed by Chris Ngige. They must execute projects that will lead to wealth and job creation and poverty alleviation.
He will be required to ensure that this country gets back to being perfectly integrated into the global market.
2. The Ministry of Defence
Mansur Dan-Ali’s test begins immediately. He has no chance to second guess himself. The nation is at war, the peace of the people is threatened.
The president has set a deadline to crush the insurgents within the northeastern region. The Biafrans are rising in the South East, so Dan-Ali’s plate is full.
He will not fight the war, but must see to it that peace is restored. It is in his office to procure equipment with which to oust the nation’s enemy.
Beyond planning and procuring, he must begin to lead Nigeria down the path of manufacturing, that is the future to superior power.
Hence, much must be given to training, so the Nigerian military, which is now undergoing a great reform, evolves and becomes more dynamic in their operations.
Nigerians will want to be assured that their safety at every point in time is guaranteed.
Beyond security, there will be the welfare of those who endanger their lives to keep the enemies from encroaching upon our peace.
A review of their allowances is paramount, as it is only when these things have been put in place that the ordinary Nigerian and proudly say that he/she would love to join the Nigerian Armed Forces as to defend the nation.
Dan-Ali has a great role in helping the Nigerian people imbibe once again the culture of the true patriotism.
1. The Ministry of Power, Works and Housing
Many have argued that there is no one more qualified to head this 3-in-1 ministry than Babatunde Raji Fashola.
He comes highly recommended, however, he surely will not be judged based on the excellent job he did as the governor of Lagos state.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria will be judged by how much he could translate what he did at the state level to the federal level.
Fashola needs no soothsayer to be told that his is a hot seat. Nigerians still suffer a great deal of power issues. Housing is yet another palaver that has plagued the people.
His task is not one to envy, as it would be spelt out clearly if he did what was required or not. It is either there is power supply or there is none, works cannot be hidden, the projects must be visible.
The ex-governor of Lagos state has to prove to himself and indeed the entire that he is worthy of the prize.
Nigerians would require a visible change in the power sector of him. There will be no mincing words, the nation cannot boast of improvement if the people do not have constant power supply and are homeless.
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The economy cannot grow without electricity. Investors need to be assured that would not spend too much generating power, such that at the end of the day, they cannot break even.
On what roads will the investors transport their goods? How long will it take to put the federal highways in order? How many more citizens will die due to unchattered roads.
He did it in Lagos, and was applauded for his deeds. Now he must do the same for over 160 million of Nigerians.
Fashola has made promises to the Nigerian people and you can be sure that they will to his words and hold it as a proof.
As a learned fellow he sure does understand that the evidence will be weighty if he cannot deliver the dividends of ‘the promise of change’.
Nigerians are watching keenly every step, every move. The people are very much aware of what they want and that is what translated into the new APC-led administration.
Four years might be deemed too small to judge them in totality, however, Nigerians will judge by each step, till the proverbial journey of a thousand years is completed.