Finally, the senate has confirmed the appointment of the 13 ministers whose names were sent to it by the president for ratification after two weeks of screening which was televised to avail Nigerians the opportunity of knowing whether or not the ministerial nominees were qualified and competent enough to helm the affairs of the ministries.
Even though some of the ministerial nominees were told to take a bow without proper screening, the senate also confirmed the appointment of these individuals and this contradicts Senator Ayogu Eze’s avowal before the screening processed commenced that “the senate would be strict in its screening this time around because the sack of 20 ministers by President Yar’ Adua does not speak well of the senate which ratified the appointment of these ministers.” And despite Senator Uche Chukwumerije’s caution about the manner in which the senate was handling the screening of fellow senators and elder statesmen who were among the ministerial nominees, the senate President, Senator David Mark ignored Senator Chukwumerije’s advise.
There is no doubt that the senate ratified the appointment of the 20 sacked ministers and their retained counterparts based on its perceived competence to handle the intended portfolio but how come these ministers could not perform after about one year in office? It was obvious that many of the appointed ministers lack the necessary knowledge and expertise to drive the different ministries but they were appointed for political reasons.
Politicizing ministerial nomination has become the order of the day among Nigerian political leaders and this has tremendously affected the growth and development of this country. Men and women who lack the knowledge of their assignment and/or duties are appointed in place of technocrats which Nigeria is blessed with so many. Experts from Nigeria are employed by different countries of the world and they have contributed in no small measure to the advancement of such countries but these technocrats are not recognized by the government of their own country talk less of inviting them to help drive the economy of the nation.
People in positions of authorities see ministerial nomination as a way of compensating their incompetent political allies. Our political leaders play with the future of Nigeria like a toy, the interest of the generality of Nigerians is secondary to them. This is really a pathetic situation.
The likes of Mr. Henry Ajumogobia, the minister of state energy (petroleum) and Mrs. Diezoini Alison-Madueke, minister of transportation, both have shown high level of incompetence in helming the affairs of their ministries but they were retained by President Yar’ Adua. This is probably due to the good relationship between these two ministers and their political godfathers.
Among the 13 newly confirmed ministers, only Professor Babatunde Oshotimehin, the Director-General of NACA and Professor Dora Akunyili, the Director-General of NAFDAC have proven themselves beyond reasonable doubt. The former governors and nine others in my opinion have got nothing to offer the lot of Nigerians. Some people may not agree with my disposition but it is easy to see that these ministers were nominated solely to have more share of the national cake. The senators themselves were reported to have voted against the candidature of Dr. Rilwan Lukman but he was eventually cleared due to reasons best known to the senate president.
One wonders if many of the cleared ministers would be different from the 20 sacked ministers because both the president and the senate were not sensitive enough in appointing the new ministers. They have displaced merit for bureaucracy, aggrandizement and undue preferences in the appointment of ministers.
Obviously, the screening of 7 other ministers would follow the same pattern and this shows the extent of the Yar’ Adua administration’s commitment to move the nation forward. His government has no clear governing philosophy. The President really need to move to action for the advancement of this country because how well he handles his first few years in office goes a long way in gaining the confidence of the citizens.