The YNaija August Ministers’ ranking projected what we expected from them, given that they needed some considerable time to settle into their offices. September is grinding to a halt and the evaluation is in – while some ministries under their new leaderships have shown an encouraging picture, others are still revolving around inertia.
Here’s the YNaija ranking for September:
10. Chris Ngige (Labour and Employment)
The issue of non-payment of the new minimum wage of N30,000 has lingered since President Buhari signed the bill into law back in April, and now there’s a threat of fresh strike spearheaded by organised labour looming. Under Chris Ngige’s watch, the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC) and the Representatives of the government failed again to reach an agreement over relativity and consequential adjustment for the implementation of the new minimum wage.
Furthermore, Nigeria is currently facing an epidemic of unemployment which has only exacerbated. Ngige revealed this himself recently, instead of working to ameliorate the issue.
9. Pauline Tallen (Women Affairs)
Nothing significant has happened since Pauline Tallen was inaugurated as Women Affairs minister, given how there are a plethora of issues facing women and girls, from maternity deaths to violence against women. Figures show that Nigeria has an alarming out-of-school children population of over 10m which is of serious concern, as it ranks amongst the highest on the globe.
The numbers capture millions of girl children who are denied access to basic education, especially in parts of Northern Nigeria. Port Harcourt had been embroiled in serial killings targeting women and one would expect a statement from Tallen condemning the heinous crimes. Tallen has a pedigree of service as a former deputy governor and senator, and also to raise the quality of livelihoods for Nigeria women but so far, she’s yet to step up.
8. 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 and Nigeria still languishes in perpetual power cuts. We hope he folds his sleeves on time and get to work, knowing the expectations of Nigerians about this all-critical sector.
7. Adamu Adamu (Education)
One of the key statements Adamu Adamu made before returning as Minister of Education is pointing out the staggering number of out-of-school primary children in Nigeria, which stands at 10 million while out-of-school children is six million. Since then, there hasn’t been any indication that he is working to drastically reduce these worrisome figures.
6. Sadiya Umar Farouq (Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development)
Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development is one of the new ministries Buhari created, with Sadiya Umar Farouq presiding over. The recent floods in Delta and Kogi claimed lives and all that was released from the ministry was commiserations.
At this point, the mapping out of flood-prone areas should have been conducted including measures to mitigate it. That said, Farouq recently attended the United Nations General Assembly to converge with other stakeholders and world leaders to address global trends and challenges.
5. Geoffrey Onyeama (Foreign Affairs)
September began with South Africa’s xenophobic attacks on Nigerians, rippling into the country as reprisal attacks in the destruction and looting of South African-owned businesses. Returning Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffery Onyeama had said that he will focus attention on ensuring the security of Nigerians living abroad and attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the country. But the response of his ministry towards the xenophobic attacks towards Nigerians was regrettably slow.
Private Nigerian airline, Air Peace had to intervene to evacuate Nigerians back home and although the government has gotten involved in the case through offering various kinds of compensation to affected Nigerians, the response could have been swift.
4. Zainab Ahmed/Clem Agba (Finance, Budget and National Planning)
Since Zainab Ahmed returned as Minister to oversee the affairs of the Finance and National Planning Ministry, there has been great expectations for her to hit the ground running through rejigging economic activities and pivoting the economy towards structural reforms to complement existing monetary policy initiatives.
However, these manifested as the federal government proposing a 50% increase in VAT rate on goods and services in the country and Nigerians bemoaning this tax policy. That said, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning deserves some commendation for producing a draft of the 2020 national budget early enough for senatorial consideration as well as for the appointment of BudgIT founder, Seun Onigbinde as Technical Adviser. A decision we consider as well thought out, even though he resigned.
3. Rotimi Amaechi (Transportation)
The hallmark of Rotimi Amaechi’s 100 days as Minister of Transportation has been the Lagos-Ibadan rail project. Last month, Amaechi was dissatisfied when he inspected the project and the work rate. This week, he tasked the contractors, the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) to speed up work while also announcing the commencement of the Kano-Kaduna rail project soon.
2. Rauf Aregbesola (Interior)
Shortly after being sworn as Interior Minister, the former Osun Governor promised to redefine the assignments of the ministry. Visa policy plays an increasingly important role for the security of countries around the globe and Aregbesola recenty approved lower visa charges payable by U.S. citizens into the country in reciprocation of a statement by the U.S. Embassy increase visa cost for Nigerians.
Furthermore, Aregbesola has been out with new initiatives to promote Nigeria as a premier destination for international travellers by making the process of moving people and goods more secure and efficient.
1. Sunday Dare (Sports and Youth Development)
Hailing from the same state with Oyo governor, Seyi Makinde who has done quite remarkably well thus far in delivering good governance in the South-western state, Sunday Dare who has a wealth of experience in journalism is expected to borrow a leaf from Makinde’s book.
Following recent reports that Super Falcons’ Coach, Thomas Dennerby considered leaving his post in the light of complaints of interference and lack of cooperation from some officials at the NFF secretariat, Dare asked the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to allow the Swedish tactician continue his job unhindered as the country’s Senior Women Football head coach.
Worthy of note is the fact that he has shown proactiveness in handling the crisis rocking different sports federations in the country, meeting with factional bodies and trying to make them embrace peace for the development of the various sports. On the youth front, he has indicated plans to explore a viable working partnership with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) towards alleviating a quantum of at least 7 to 10 million Nigerian youths out of unemployment through knowledge-based application of digital skills in apps and programming.
Added to this; compared to what we have seen in the past, he maintains an active social media presence and has been largely visible at gatherings involving the constituency while his body language shows he intends to leave a legacy in that area.
When Bernard Dayo isn’t writing about pop culture, he’s watching horror movies, anime and trying to pretend his addiction to Netflix isn’t a serious condition.