The month of May marks the first anniversary of the Muhammadu Buhari led administration’s second term in office. Although, his cabinet has spent just about 8 months in office, it is expected that there would be stock-taking of achievements for the government in various sectors over the last one year. This is as the fight against the coronavirus pandemic is still on in the country with some of the Ministers performing key roles in the battle.
In the spirit of accountability therefore and true to our tradition, we assessed the effectiveness of the Ministers in the month under review under the worse performing for the month and best performing for the month:
Osagie Ehanire (Health)
While the fight against the pandemic is still on, the Minister’s remark during one of the daily briefings of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 did a lot of harm to the campaign. Ehanire who had been asked about the whereabouts of the 15-man team of Chinese medical experts who entered the country on April 8 despite public opposition to their entry, responded angrily and asked the press never to ask him the question anymore.
It took Interior Minister, Rauf Aregbesola disclosure that the experts have finished their work but are still in the country because of the ban on air travel, for the country to get a clearer perspective on the issue.
Mohammed Bello (Federal Capital Territory)
Not less than 500 health workers (as well as teachers) in the FCT under the aegis of Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) and the Assembly of Healthcare Professionals lamented the delay in payment of their salaries and allowances since January and had threatened to embark on strike action by May 22. It took the intervention of the House of Representatives leadership to resolve the issues and avert the industrial action.
Although the Minister claimed that the FCT Administration had always paid salaries as and when due, thus pointing at the introduction of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), which he said was the reason for the hiccups, it is unacceptable that a critical segment of professionals at the frontline of the fight against COVID-19 did not receive their salary and allowances for 4 months.
There were also worrisome reports that some health care workers in the FCT who are not working at the isolation centres have no protective equipment such as face mask and hand gloves. The Minister however, deserves credit for the efficiency of the FCT Ministerial Task Force on City Sanitation in the wake of the coronavirus.
Effective menstrual hygiene campaigns as this, has direct and indirect effects on the overall well-being of women and girls – in the context of education, empowerment and health.
Sunday Dare (Youth Development and Sports)
In the month of May, Hon. Dare took laudable actions in ensuring that the welfare of athletes and sportsmen who have represented the country in the past, as well as their families are properly catered for. The Ministry wrote to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) directing the association to furnish it with its plans for welfare scheme (package) to enhance productivity and motivate the welfare of staff and athletes of the Federation, as well as welfare scheme for families of ex-internationals, the sick and injured athletes.
The development came days after he donated various foodstuff as well as a cash gift of N50,000 to Mrs. Janet Okwaraji, mother of the late Super Eagles player, Samuel Okwaraji who had suffered long years of neglect and abandonment as a result of the demise of her son, who died while playing for Nigeria in 1989. This is in spite of financial and material support to Sunday Eboigbe as well as the mothers of Ali Jeje, Rashidi Yekini and Sunday Bada, while pledging to pledged to pay them monthly allowance, as well offset their hospital bills any time they have a health challenge. Such actions coming on the heels of perennial outcry over the poor welfare of most ex-players and their families will in no small way engender the spirit of patriotism in Nigerian athlete.
Towards ensuring Nigeria’s youth reject illicit drugs, the campaign ‘I Choose Life, Say No to Drugs Campaign’ launched by the Ministry in May with the goal of preventing drug use and encouraging occasional users to discontinue use is also laudable.
With critical segments of the economy lockdown, the provision of short-term jobs is a major palliative for low-income citizens. In light of this, the move by the Federal Government to engage 774,000 persons under a Special Public Works Programme is commendable.The initiative coordinated by the Minister of State for Labour is expected to commence after the rains are over while a total of N46.2 billion has been made available for the payment of the workers to be engaged 1,000 per local government area and committees to implement the programme across the 774 local government areas in Nigeria already set up.
Hadi Sirika (Aviation):
Keeping up with the popular saying “Once beaten, twice shy;” the Aviation Ministry performed creditably in ensuring that the coronavirus cases in the country didn’t escalate through foreign entries.
According to the Minister, a British-registered airline, Flair Aviation, flouted the terms of its mandate to fly into Nigeria for the conduct of humanitarian operations as it was caught conducting commercial flights. The Ministry did a good job impounding the aircraft and taken in its crew for interrogation.
With numerous cases of foreign residents and businesses in Nigeria accused of flouting rules in the country without any penalty, believing they can get away with it, such action would go a long way in sending a strong message to them about the uncompromising stance of government in implementing its laws as well as going to super lengths in ensuring the protection of its citizenry.
COVID-19. Flair Aviation, a UK company, was given approval for humanitarian operations but regrettably we caught them conducting commercial flights. This is callous! The craft is impounded, crew being interrogated. There shall be maximum penalty. Wrong time to try our resolve!🇳🇬
— Hadi Sirika (@hadisirika) May 17, 2020
Editor’s Note: The YNaija Effectiveness Ranking is a perception index by our special editorial programme as determined by correspondent assessment, news reports, and opinion surveys. It is graded on the following parameters: President’s campaign promise, social impact, and infrastructural development.
Temidayo Taiwo-Sidiq is a Political Journalist, Analyst and Social Change Advocate with major interest in Nigerian Politics, Governance and Sports.