Another Perspective on Cabinet Removal,By Ola Lookman

Olugbenga AshiruThere are various speculations on the motives behind the sacking of nine cabinet members of President Goodluck Jonathan including various political undertones. In reality some of those affected had not effectively demonstrated efficient and effective strategies to address the challenges of their respective offices.

The sacking of the ministers was his first major cabinet reshuffle since his election in 2011 even in the face of several calls for reshufflement of ministers. In fact the action is overdue if it would serve as benchmark to ensure effectively service delivery by government appointees

Politics aside looking at the recent action of the President one may agree that to some extent it is justifiable going by the situation on the ground. The removal of those affected may not have any impact on key economic indices and on the polity.

They were former Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Olugbenga Ashiru; Education, Ruqqayatu Rufai; National Planning, Shamsudeen Usman; Land and Urban Development, Ama Pepple; Environment, Hadiza Mailafia; Science and Technology, Ita Ewa; Minister of State Defence, Olusola Obada; Minister of State, Power, Zainab Kuchi; and Minister of State, Agriculture, Tijjani Bukar.

Those in the government have disclosed that there was no political undertone to the sack of the cabinet members. According to some of them every leader of government is constitutionally empowered to nominate, appointment, reshuffle and remove members of the cabinets to bring new lease of live and colour to the administration. They call it re-tooling the government to achieve service delivery.

In a Presidential system like ours, it is at the discretion of the President to reshuffle his cabinet, especially half-way to the end of a tenure of the administration. What he is likely doing is to refocus his government, to inject in fresh blood to achieve greater service delivery to the people of Nigeria.

The president was said to have studied the way his government has worked, and has set his targets for the next two years in realising the objectives of his transformation agenda. it is part of the process of improving service delivery and not with any political undertone.

The Information Minister, Labaran Maku who also now acts as Defence Mnister explained that President Jonathan needed to inject new blood into the system for more service delivery, hence the

Meanwhile critically examined the situation, several factor could account to the sacking of the minister. Looking at those affected one can deduced to the fact that non-performance; alleged corrupt practices; poor management of turn-key projects; and the likelihood of doubtful loyalty to the administration can account for their removal.

Sometimes ago ministers were asked to sign a performance bond but some of them performed below the expectation of their mandates while others were noted to be awarding huge contracts for projects that are not visible.

Surprisingly while many people claims that the removal of the ministers were because of allegation of fraternalising with opposition and some rebel governors in People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the reality is that some of them are not in the good book of their respective state governors or their patrons who were presumed to have nominated them to the positions. Therefore reading politics meaning into this cannot hold.

For instance it is a public knowledge that Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, the former Minister of National Planning has never related well with governor of his state, Governor Rabiu’s Musa Kwankwaso even before the 2011 election. He is therefore singularly nominated by President Goodluck Jonathan even though he has overstayed in the cabinet coming to office in 2007 after the election of President Umar Musa Yar’Adua. He did well in designing the Performance Benchmark for the Federal Executive Council (FEC), it is nevertheless difficult in measuring his achievements which appeared to be long term.

In addition some of the affected ministers are close allies to the President Jonathan and his Vice President Namadi Sambo, like the Minister of Science and Technology and Minister of Environment respectively. Also contrary to political permutations, some ministers from the rebellious states controlled by the governors who are seen to be at the loggerheads with the Presidency and Bamanga Tukur led- People Democratic Party (PDP) were not touched in the reshufflement. They include ministers from Adamawa, Kebbi and Kwara States.

While we all agree the President has the right to appoint and sack his ministers, he should ensure that while appointing new cabinet members seasoned and credible personalities who will drive the transformation agenda with vigour and vitality should be considered in bringing about new lease of life to the administration.

Ola Lookman, Abuja. email:[email protected]

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