Aljazirah cabinet reshuffle (Series 4)

Aljazirah cabinet reshuffle (Series 4)

By Gbenga Odunsi

(Concluding part)

Ministry of Science and Technology

Minister: Ogbaonnaya Onu

Ogbonnaya Onu is presently the Minister of Science and Technology of the federal republic of Nigeria.

Dr. Onu who obtained distinction in physics and chemistry at the Higher School Certificate (HSC) examination he took at the College of Immaculate Conception, (CIC), Enugu, graduating as the best overall student.

Mr Onu has failed Nigerians in his ministerial duties. Under his watch, Nigeria’s automotive industry is yet to compete favorably with foreign companies, though the minister blames it on the absence of research and development. There is still absence of synergy between government, private sector, research and development institutions and the absence of a strong research leadership drive at all levels. Also, diversification of the sources of energy to forestall a setback by a single energy is yet to be effected.

Aljazirah opines that Omobola Johnson will do well in this position.

She was educated at the International School Ibadan and the University of Manchester (BEng, Electrical and Electronic Engineering) and King’s College London (MSc, Digital Electronics). She has a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) from Cranfield University.

She was country managing director for Accenture, Nigeria. She had worked with Accenture since 1985 when it was Andersen Consulting. Johnson is the pioneer head of the country’s communication technology ministry, which was created as part of the transformation agenda of the Nigerian government.
Johnson co-founded a women’s organization, WIMBIZ in 2001. She has earned several public commendations since taking up her first government assignment as minister in 2011. This is following the numerous achievements of her ministry notably among which is the launch of the NigComSat-IR Satellite. This has helped to complement the country’s efforts at fiber connectivity and the provision of greater bandwidth.
Under her watch, she created an enabling environment for local development of iPad-equivalent tablets; Signing of an MoU with Nokia to establish a lab in Nigeria to support the domestic mobile software industry; inauguration of the national council on information communication technology with states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) commissioners as members.


Ministry of Information and Culture

Minister: Alhaji Lai Mohammed

Lai Mohammed is the current Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture. He is a trained lawyer and former National Publicity Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC)

In the last one year, Lai Mohammed, a propagandist, has performed his duty extremely. Nigerians no longer believes whatever comes from him.

‘Liar’ Mohammed, as he is fondly called by Nigerians has achieved a number of things in the last one year.

Under his watch, he initiated the “Change Begins With Me” campaign to change the attitude of Nigerians for better and sanitize the society. He equally launched a pilot scheme in Jos as parts of efforts to meet the deadline for Digital Switched Over (DSO). Also, licensed 13 set-top box manufacturers and their factories commissioned.

Mr Lai began the process of making public-owned media credible and their staff more professional as well as ensuring editorial independence of the media. In doing this, the minister began by initiating a partnership between the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) to help build capacity of the corporation’s staff.

He has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Tony Elumelu Foundation to transform the creative industry into a profitable one and Nigeria’s greatest assets and revenue sector. Lai has secured the assistance of Japan and France to develop capacity in production of animation and children films. The Canadian government also offered to sponsor the training of about 1000 film makers on animation.

Furthermore, he set up a ministerial committee on the review of the motion picture council of Nigeria. This is aimed at regulating the Nollywood. Again, despite Nigeria’s GDP contracting to -0.36 per cent in the first quarter of 2016, the entertainment and recreational sector showed a growth of 8.4 per cent, according to NBS.

In as much as the information minister has done well, Aljazirah Nigeria believes Mr. Lai can do even better. We urge President Buhari to retain this minister to move the information ministry forward.


Ministry of Water Resources

Minister: Suleiman Adamu

In the last one year, Adamu commenced the auditing of all the ongoing water projects in the country. He has also launched the Partnership for Expanded Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH) which will cost about N510 billion. His administration has completed Galma multipurpose dam in Soba local government area of Kaduna State, which is also capable of providing job opportunities for over 1.1 million people living within its environs. The building of the dam started in 2006.

Adamu inaugurated a N5.9 billion water supply project which will supply water to Otuoke, the hometown of former President Goodluck Jonathan and 12 other communities in Bayelsa State. As well, he trained hygiene education teachers, youth corps members and other stakeholders in the six area councils of the FCT on hygiene promotion.

Aljazirah would like to use this medium to laud the achievements of this minster, while charging him to do better in his ministerial duties.


Federal Capital Territory (FCT)

Minister: Mohammed Bello

FCT minister, Mohammed Bello was chairman of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) from 2007 until 2016. He was also chairman of the presidential committee on Hajj in 2006. Under his leadership most of the hitches associated with the annual hajj were solved and in recent years it became a relatively smooth exercise.

Bello attended Barewa College, Zaria and holds a B. Sc degree in Management (Banking and Finance) as well as an MBA, both from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

In the 1980s he worked at ICON Merchant Bank and was in charge of credit and marketing. He subsequently worked in the private sector and was managing director of Bajabure Industrial Complex in Yola.

However, as FCT minister, bello has failed to eliminate deplorable condition of roads in all the satellite towns. Under his watch too, there is a glaring inability to clear heaps of garbage which have overtaken some major streets in the satellite towns and some areas in the city centre. Most traffic lights in the city are not working, endangering the lives of motorists and other road users. Bello has no clear plan on how to provide portable water for the satellite towns in Abuja

It is against this backdrop that Aljazirah Nigeria suggest Nuhu Ribadu to take over from Bello Mohammed.

Mallam Nuhu Ribadu was the Chairman of the petroleum revenue task force and a former Nigerian government anti-corruption czar. He was the pioneer executive chairman of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Ribadu studied law at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Kaduna State from 1980 until 1983, receiving a Bachelor of Laws degree. Following a year at the Nigerian Law School, he was called to Bar in 1984. He also earned a Master of Laws degree from the same university. He is a Ted Fellow and a Senior Fellow in St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford, UK.

The Nigerian president, Olusegun Obasanjo, appointed him to the chairmanship of the EFCC in 2003 and reappointed him in 2007, as well as promoting him to the position of Assistant Inspector General of Police. The government commission tasked with countering corruption and fraud.

During his duty Mr Ribadu was offered bribes to pervert the course of justice, amongst these was a state governor who offered him $15 million and a house abroad.

AljazirahNigeria is very confident that a man like Nuhu Ribadu will perform exceptionally well if given the opportunity to act in that capacity.


Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Minister: Geoffrey Onyeama

Onyeama is said to have failed to managed Nigeria’s foreign international perception and this has been traced to the lack of a foreign policy agenda. More than one year after inauguration, of Buhari’s government, the giant of Africa still does not have a focused foreign policy agenda. Onyeama has been criticized for delay for over a year in appointing non-career ambassadors to replace those the government recalled in July 2015.

He has also failed to react to killing of Nigerians in other parts of the world. Looted Nigeria’s funds are still trapped in foreign banks despite assurances they would be repatriated.

Most of the 119 Nigerian missions and embassies abroad are broke and cannot meet their obligations. They are faced with problems such as the inability to pay their workers, delays in the issuance of visas and passports, lack of funding for day-to-day operations, and inability to pay the rent of embassies.

Aljazirah Nigeria humbly suggests Fidelia Njeze to replace the current foreign affairs minister.  Njeze is the current Nigerian Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Njeze was previously appointed Nigerian minister of Aviation on 6 April 2010, under former president Goodluck Jonathan. Before that appointment, she served as Minister of State for Agriculture and Water Resources. She was also Minister of State for Defence in the cabinet of late President Umaru Yar’Adua.


Ministry of Justice

Minister: Abubakar Malami.

The ministry of justice under the leadership of Abubakar Malami who has also doubled as the Attorney-General of the federation, reduced Nigerian courts to some sort of joke. In the last one year of Malami’s administration, no conviction has been secured in any of the major corruption cases. There has been incessant disobedience of court orders, especially those granting bail to some Nigerians facing corruption charges.

Disrespect for the ECOWAS court ruling on bail to Nnamdi Kanu and Col. Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) despite Nigeria being a signatory to the sub-regional body’s treaty have painted the country in negative light. Looted funds are still trapped abroad. The AGF says, “It is impossible to give a clear figure of the total amount stashed abroad against the background of complexity, differences of rules, approach and processes, at international communities. But a group, Africa Secretariat says over £400bn worth of Nigerian money is stashed away in Europe, Asia and America”

Malami poorly handled the trial and subsequent withdrawal of charges against the Senate President, Bukola Saraki. Furthermore, the poor management of information on major high profile investigations and expected trials including that of Malabu oil deal makes Malami incompetent as an Attorney-General of the federation.

Human rights activist, Femi Falana is the best man for this appointment. Falana is a vociferous and dedicated voice in the fight for Human Rights and Justice for the common man. Falana is also closely linked to many civil liberty organizations.

He has fought several legal battles defending the right of citizens amongst which is the controversial dismissal of the Ilorin lecturers over their legitimate demands for justice. It is also worthy of note that the West African Bar Association (WABA) under the leadership of Falana amended the protocol, establishing the ECOWAS court of justice whereby the court now allows individuals, as opposed to countries in the region alone, to have access to justice when their human rights are violated.

By his convictions, he has risked his life, position and freedom to stand against injustice. It is therefore because of his sacrifices and that of patriots like him that Nigeria has become a more humane place for all of us.

For many obvious reasons, it is crystal clear that Malami is a square peg in a round hole. Falana will turn around the ministry of justice in six months if only President Buhari would appoint him as the Attorney General of the Federation.