April 3, 2010

Implications of Jonathan’s Reshuffle

“Ministerial positions are political appointments and what happens is that with their exit they “convert” several public properties into personal possessions. This must stop”
Were Yar’adua & Jonathan Associates?
In an ideal Presidential system the President and his Vice govern jointly with the President holding the presiding authority (or veto in terms of the National Assembly) over discussions of their presidency. If this was the case the cabinet would have understood that they are accountable to the Presidency (of both men) in all their duties. So there should not have been a wholesale reshuffle at the temporary incapacitation of the President. Mr Jonathan may have submitted a few nominations before the last EXCOF was appointed by President Yar’adua but being associates means both of them had time to discuss issues, both of them are agreed on the major trusts of their administration and both of them consulted their constituencies and made input before appointments are made; and Mr Yar’adua takes the opinion of his Vice seriously before making major discussions.
The implication of the squabble in and dissolution of the old EXCOF is that this did not happen. In contrast the Ag President has shown a better clout as an administrator in making his nominations than President Yar’adua showed. No one, civil organizations, PDP party leadership and the National Assembly have shown any major objections to how he has consulted and made his nominations to the proposed new EXCOF unlike in the case of President Yar’adua’s.  The old EXCOF did not envisage the Vice President as one with a potential to even fire them or become Commander-in-chief by a legitimate constitutional act. Let’s take the US as an example, would anyone expect Vice President Joe Biden to sack the entire cabinet if President Obama became temporarily incapacitated? No! In fact even government policies change marginally with each administration notwithstanding if it is republican or democratic. But then again Nigeria is a maturing democracy and a lot of things are being worked out along way. With the reshuffle of the EXCOF by Ag President Goodluck Jonathan it simply means that Mr Yar’adua and Mr Jonathan were not associates in the true sense of the word and Mr. Jonathan was not chosen as the Vice based on his ability to be “a president in waiting”.  The lessons here are these:

  • The Vice must be worthy of the office of the President. He must have a good contribution to make in government both in delivering his constituency (state, region or geopolitical or ethnic area) as well as in decision making.

  • The Vice President’s constitutional duties may have to be reviewed. At present all his powers, when the president is in office, is as assigned by the President. If the President is a good administrator that would not be a problem but if not the Vice President is a constitutional celebrity with no real powers. Nigerians must consider if the office of the President would need more nudging to co-operate with his Vice.

The Tax Payers must not Pay with each Reshuffle
With a cabinet reshuffle in such a time as this the civil servants in the country must realise that the stability of the public service depends on them 100%. The permanent secretaries or director generals in each ministry must realise this. Ministerial positions are political appointments and what happens is that with their exit they “convert” several public properties into personal possessions. What happens is this, outgoing minsters take the existing furnishings, vehicles and temporary staff with them, the new minster orders new furnishings, vehicles and temporary staff. They actually run down the ministry even before they assume office. And this happens all the time. This happens throughout the country in all public appointments. This must stop. The tax payer must not pay for these reshuffles especially now that there is the potential to be another one soon after if Mr Yar’adua returns. The DG’s are the ones who must blow the whistle on this. Between the cabinet reshuffle now in process with the Ag President and the reshuffle that may have to take place again when and if the President Yar’adua returns one would envisage a lot of funds being spent in furnishing, vehicles etc for the ministers and so forth. There must be an asset register and asset lifecycle management for assets of all ministries and proper handover must be done before and after each reshuffle. For a long time during the administration of Babangida and Abacha the most public funds was spent on electioneering and that was the only business of those governments now that is over and the country is getting into another circle of waste, EXCOF reshuffling.
Are there Investigative Journalists in the Country?
It is amazing to me that with all the media in the country no one has been able to unravel the whereabouts of the President Mr Yar’adua. No one has been able to report incisively on the behaviour of public office holders before and after they assume office especially on such things as outgoing Minsters converting public property into personal possessions. This tends to imply that the journalists we have in the Nigerian media are all armchair journalists. No wonder someone would simply take a script written by an official and publish it as a fact under his column and circulate politically manipulative information as  fact. Take the meeting of President Yar’adua with Imams and Bauchi governor, were are pictures, what is the fact; in this information age that should not be a problem. Where is the power of investigative journalism? In a true democracy the press would be mounting photographers and reporters on the doors of the residence of Yar’adua, at the ministries, National Assembly offices etc monitoring movements and giving reports of every movement, getting interviews and asking powerful questions and keeping the public, the electorate informed and blowing up covers. But we have to wait for scripts from the so called press secretaries and them publish gossips as stories. What are we doing with our press freedoms when we have to wait for information about our country from Aljazeera, CNN, BBC, Reuters AP etc. These international media houses actually have more information about the working of our ministries and government than our very own media houses. What a shame. Why do we have correspondents in Liberia but we are unable to unravel the true state of Nigerian government.
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Emmanuel said...

Stop Corruption; it Kills faster than 'AIDS'

One very striking question that struck my mind this morningis : Why is Nigeria refusing to grow? even when we know that this is our only hindrance to growth.
public office holders keep's changing furnitures, houses and cars because they have been appointed position.
they refuse to reflect back on their past to get a feel of what the majority are passing through. ' One simple question they should ask themselves is; 10 yrs ago where was I?
The truth is that Leadership in Nigeria is a bussiness, Just Like most of the Churches have turned bussiness too.
If Leadership is what it is, Nigerians wount be strugling to mount it,as some even go the extent of killing. They have seen all the gains; converting public properties into personal possessions, an agender to make personal gains.

This fight against corruption should be an every Nigerians bussiness, "lets all change first" and join the fight! Pass the message to others, preach it: it is "killing the Nation",even more than the deadly 'Virus AIDS'.

But we will get there if we all fight it.Lets reflect on the 'National Anthem' & 'The Pledge' each day. God! heal us from this DEADLY desease called 'CORRUPTION !'

Name: Emmanuel Avula.(Leeds UK).

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