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Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Ministers must present scorecards publicly

Ministers must present scorecards publicly

Ministers

L-R; President Muhammadu Buhari, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federal Abubakar Malami, Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, Minister of State Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Heineken Lokpobiri and Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen Udoma Udo Udoma during the federal Executive council (FEC) meeting held at the Council Youths and Sports, Solomon Dalung and Minister of State Mines and Steels, Alhaji Bawa Bwari Chamber in Abuja.

AS President Muhammadu Buhari prepares for his swearing-in for a second term in office, he has already asked members of his cabinet to prepare and submit their handover notes.

In a statement issued recently by Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Buhari directed the Ministers to compile comprehensive status reports on policies, programmes and projects of their respective ministries, departments and agencies within one week.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, had also told members of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, to make sure that the handover memos they intended to present to FEC which is usually presided over by President Buhari, were with the Cabinet Affairs Office by Tuesday this week.

It is normal for members of the cabinet at state or Federal levels to take stock at the end of the tenures of their principals (President or Governor) to make the amount of work done during that regime easy to assess.

We, however, do not believe that it is enough for these officials to prepare and present their scorecards to the FEC. We recommend that Ministers should actually render comprehensive accounts of their stewardships directly to the Nigerian people in an open forum where Nigerians can ask questions and engage the facts and figures they may peddle.

We do not believe that submitting their scorecards to the President through the closed forum of the FEC meeting promotes enough transparency and accountability. It will not enable members of the public to know the quality and quantity of contributions these officials made during the past 40 months when they were appointed to assist President Buhari pilot the developmental affairs of the country.

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All public officials, especially Ministers, should have an independent mechanism through which their stewardships are measured. Merely compiling figures and handing over to the President without the benefit of independent assessment will not suffice. It is not democratic enough.

We suggest a model popularised by a former Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido. At the end of every one of his two tenures, Commissioners were made to go on live radio and television and tell the public how much was appropriated to their ministries and what they achieved with it.

Members of the public were allowed to call in, ask questions and share their views. The Goodluck Jonathan regime later copied it and Ministers rendered their stewardship to the public.

We believe that such method of accountability will enable Nigerians to contribute more effectively in the ongoing debate as to which of the current Buhari ministers should be reappointed or let go. We do not want obviously failed ministers to be brought back to Buhari’s second term cabinet.


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