By Ugo Nwagwu
celebrated commemorated Democracy Day. It also marked the one year anniversary of APC and President Muhammadu Buhari’s rule.
Several weeks ago, we ranked the Top 5 Ministers on the hot seat. As you can imagine, these things are fluid. Yesterday’s prisoner can be tomorrow cup bearer. You’d understand if you read your bible.
So I believe it’s only fair to update the list and see where we are right now.
- Tie- Minister of State for Petroleum – Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu
Previous Rank – 2
The fuel supply situation has been resolved although at a massive inflation inducing cost. After the prices of a liter of PMS aka petrol went up from N86 to N145, every supplier all of a sudden had so much product to sell that the queues essentially died overnight. However multiple issues still plague the office, the biggest being the seemingly daily bombings of Nigeria oil pipelines. The effect is a reduced production capacity of over 50% which means Nigeria can’t even take advantage of recent spike in oil prices. Kachikwu is the face of the Oil and Gas sector and right now, he needs a lot to start going his way if he’s to hold onto this job for the long haul.
- Tie – Minister of Petroleum – President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB)
Previous Rank – 1
Many Nigerians still don’t agree with a president Buhari filling the position with himself. That said, as Minister of Petroleum, he shoulders the responsibilty for the issues that come up. Right now, the biggest on his plate is the terrorist activities perpetrated by militants from the South-South. Oil revenues are down due to poor supply as a result of blown up pipelines. PMB is planning on visiting the troubled region which may be a first step to stemming the violence. Some say increased military action is the way to go while others advocate negotiations. Perhaps a combination of both could be the solution. Nevertheless, if the situation continues, no doubt it could devastating effects to the legacy of this administration.
- Minister of Information – Lai Mohammed
Previous Rank – 5
The only reason Alhaji Lai Mohammed isn’t higher on the list (and perhaps the reason he still has a job) is that those higher on the list have significantly more pressing issues to deal with and are thus under more pressure. One of the knocks on the current administration is the lack of a cohesive message. It has become routine to have cabinet ministers contradict themselves when talking about the same issues. This is one of the many roles of an information minister; ensure that the administration speaks with one voice. So this marks a failure on his part. The leaked document of the minister seeking loans for foreign travel was also embarrassing if not scandalous. If such things continue, Alhaji Mohammed would no doubt find himself higher up this list and perhaps out of a job soon.
- Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development – Chief Audu Ogbeh
Previous rank – Unranked
Tomato Ebola? Considering that tomatoes are a major ingredient in many Nigerian dishes, it is unsurprising that there is a public outcry over the scarcity as well as the soaring cost of the vegetable crop due to a pest ravaging tomato farms across the nation. Chief Ogbeh is on this list because the situation has reached critical mass. The fact that this isn’t the first time this pest has been an issue and that it has been tackled without fanfare in the past under previous administrations is troubling. It also speaks to a lack of foresight by the ministry and all fingers point to the head. If this isn’t tackled with intensified efforts and the “jollof rice enjoyment index” suffers, Chief Ogbeh might want to brush up on his resume because the average Nigerian will call for blood and he may be the fall guy.
- Minister of the Niger Delta – Usani Usani Uguru
Previous Rank – Unranked
One of the reasons for this list is accountability. Let us make famous those who appear to be incompetent at the execution of their jobs. While the apparent portfolio of the Niger Delta Ministry might not be easily accessed, it is safe to assume that what is going on in the Niger Delta should fall under his jurisdiction and it is currently completely unacceptable. Mr. Uguru should bear some responsibility for this. If a country operated as a business entity and the largest revenue source fell by more than 50%, there’s no doubt the division head would be on the outside looking in. Mr. Uguru should have been much more proactive in checkmating the source of anger in the region and at the very least found way to bridge the divide between the administration and the communities. If he’s not up to the job or doesn’t feel this is his responsibility, then it is time for him to go.
- Minister of Finance – Folake Adeosun
Previous Rank – 4
The economy is on the verge of recession (back to back quarters of economic contraction). The nation just experienced its first quarter of contraction in over a decade. Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) are practically nonexistent. Just last week, United Airlines announced it was pulling out of Africa’s largest country, a move already made by Spanish airline, Iberia. Dozens of other foreign companies are considering pulling out. Right now, the Nigerian economy is in shambles. As such many people think that the Finance Minister, Folake Adeosun is way in over her head in this job. President Buhari recently remarked that it would be up to Nigerians to tell him who isn’t performing among his cabinet members. If one had to be chosen, many if not most Nigerians would opt for the former finance commissioner.
* Just missed joining the ranks
– Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment: Okechukwu Enelemah
– Minister of Labour and Employment: Chris Ngige
– Minister of Budget and National Planning: Udoma Udo Udoma
** Dropped off from last ranking
– Minister of Power, Works and Housing – Babatunde Raji Fashola
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