It’s more than a week since President Buhari installed a new ministerial cabinet that, up until then, took him a long time to put together. The ministers themselves aren’t a breath of fresh air, largely recycles names that sparked conversations online and what this could mean for Nigeria’s next four years under President Buhari. At YNaija, we are projecting that the ministers and their new portfolios must focus firmly on growing prosperity, creating jobs, reviving our infrastructure, increasing the current gains in the agricultural sector, increasing in internal revenue and drastically cutting borrowing.
They must do more to upgrade the social sector (health and education). More emphasis should be put in the engagement of our youth in gainful preoccupations to reduce violent and unnatural crimes. Insecurity is threatening to overwhelm the country and destabilise her unity. This must be halted. Buhari’s first term security architecture failed woefully. This is no longer acceptable. That said, here are the 10 ministers we have our eyes on:
1. Adamu Adamu (Minister of Education)
Mallam Adamu Adamu has been a loyal follower of President Buhari even before he was elected as President. With experience in journalism, he was first appointed as Minister of Education in 2015, and worked as the Secretary to Buhari’s transition committee. The education needs a transition of its own, given the occasional and oft-devastating strikes carried by the Academic Staff Union of Universities to pay lecturers their dues.
2. Pauline Talen (Minister of Women’s Affairs)
Only just seven women were appointed as ministers in the new Buhari-led administration, which flouts the 2005 National Gender Policy that stipulates 35 per cent appointive positions for women. Newly appointed Paulen Talen was the former deputy governor of Plateau in 2007, and was the first woman to become Deputy Governor in Nothern Nigeria. Over the years, the ministry of Women’s Affairs has looked like a mere institution, and there has been more engagement and social impact made from online feminists than what the ministry has done. We can’t wait to see how Talen pushes for women’s liberation in all spheres of national life.
3. Saleh Mamman (Minister of Power)
The appointed Minister of Power, Engr. Sale Mamman has said that the problems being experienced in the sector in the country are surmountable, stressing that he needs prayers and goodwill of Nigerians to succeed in his new assignment. While it’s good to rely on God, it’s even more important to get the job done. Ghana has near-constant electricity. Fix it please.
4. Osagie Ehanire (Minister of Health)
The health sector has been peppered with incessant strikes by doctors over the years, and there’s the grave issue of homegrown medical doctors emigrating to Canada and the U.S. for better working conditions and pay. Dr. Osagie Ehanire has served many medical boards in and out of Nigeria, and holds an (MD) from the College of Medicine, Ludwig Maximillians University, Munich. With his vast experience, we hope the health sector gets a face lift.
5. Major General Bashir Magashi (Minister of Defence)
The appointment of Major General Bashir Magashi to take charge of the nation’s defence ministry, a government department with the third-highest budgetary spending for 2019 –N159.13 billion, is one of the questionable things about President Buhari’s new ministerial cabinet. Magashi is a 75-year-old retired Army General and a former military governor of Sokoto State (1990–1992), and was appointed the commander of the strategic Brigade of Guards in September 1993 ahead of Sani Abacha’s coup in November of that year.
But his abuse of public trust by looting and shipping huge sums of money abroad is a major red flag, and with the unresolved issues of terrorism, kidnaps and banditry in the country, it will be interesting to see how Magashi fares.
6. Rotimi Amaechi (Minister of Transportation)
According to NAN, President Muhammadu Buhari had on reappointed Rotimi Amaechi as the Minister of Transportation and Babatunde Fashola as the Minister of Works and Housing. Amaechi as the Minister of Transportation started several jobs during his first term in the ministry. Now, the President wants him to come and complete them, which is why he was reappointed. Barely days after he was sworn in, Amaechi embarked on the inspection of the Lagos-Ibadan rail project and expressed his commitment towards ensuring the development of a robust rail infrastructure in line with Buhari’s vision of connecting Nigeria through an affordable transport system”.
7. Babatunde Fashola (Ministers of Works and Housing)
When Buhari first appointed Fashola as minister in 2015, he was put in charge of the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, a responsibility many critics said was too daunting for one person to take on. In Buhari’s second term, the former governor of Lagos has been give a slimmer portfolio in the capacity of Works and Housing while Salah Mamman takes over Power.
8. Zainab Ahmed/Clement Agba (Ministry of Finance/Budget)
Zainab Ahmed’s assumption of office for a second term came days after the presidency raised alarm that the country might be heading for a fiscal crisis if urgent steps are not taken to halt the negative trends in target setting and target realization in tax revenue.A presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, said via a statement said: “Anyone conversant with Federal Executive Council deliberations would have observed that issues bordering on revenue form the number one concern of what Nigeria faces today, and therefore, often take a prime place in discussions of the body.”
The onus is on Zainab Ahmed and the junior minister to set in the machinery to tackle the challenge for the revival of the country’s economy. The country is out of recession, according to the managers of the economy, but its impact has not been felt by the masses. Poor budget implementation is another challenge the minister must look into. The quest to return the country’s fiscal year to January-December lies on the table of the minister.
9. Abubakar Malami (Minister of Justice)
Abubakar Malami, who retained his portfolio as Attorney General/Minister of Justice, said right away that his reappointment was as a result of the collective efforts the staff of the ministry gave him in his first term. According to him, his return to the ministry showed that President Buhari recognised his good work during the last four years which he definitely wanted him to come back and finish.
That said, we hope Malami will intensify efforts at achieving a harmonious working relationship amongst all Nigerian anti-corruption and law Enforcement agencies, and a push for judicial reforms.
10. Chris Ngige (Minister of Labour and Employment)
One thing that Chris Ngige would have to address as he retains his position as Minister of Labour and Employment is building cordial relationships between Labour bodies and the government. The controversial new minimum wage was a dent in Buhari’s first term dispensation, and Ngige’s statement on medical doctors leaving Nigeria came with an aloofness that sparked controversy and questioned his capacity.