As the political landscape in Nigeria undergoes a significant shift with President Bola Tinubu at the helm, a comprehensive assessment initiative is set to be launched, aimed at scrutinizing the performance of federal ministries, departments, and agencies. A staggering 140 officials, carefully selected from 35 government entities, will spearhead this monumental task, seeking to evaluate the effectiveness of ministers in delivering on presidential priorities and ministerial objectives. The third technical retreat for delivery desk officers of federal ministries, held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital, marked the initiation of this ambitious undertaking.
The Central Delivery Coordination Unit, led by the Special Adviser to the President on Policy Coordination, Mrs. Hadiza Bala-Usman, oversees the deployment of these officials, who include permanent secretaries, directors of planning, and various other key personnel. Diving into the specifics, a senior official working closely with the Central Delivery Coordination Unit disclosed that the assessment would cover crucial aspects such as modalities, key performance indicators, and reporting mechanisms. The official emphasized the gravity of the evaluation, noting that ministers could face dismissal if they fail to meet the expectations set by President Tinubu.
Tinubu’s ministers face rigorous Assessments to ensure accountability.
Mrs. Bala-Usman reiterated President Tinubu’s commitment to improving the lives of Nigerians and warned that non-performing ministers would not be spared. Emphasizing the importance of the delivery officers and directors of planning in ministries, she underscored their role as the engine room for providing continuous feedback, monitoring ministerial progress, and reporting challenges to the central coordinating and delivery unit. In a move to ensure transparency and accountability, the assessment will focus on specific sectors. For instance, in the Ministry of Aviation, the assessment will scrutinize customer experience at airports, functionality of escalators, lifts, and conveyor belts, as well as the consequences of delayed departures for airlines.
Similarly, the Ministry of Agriculture will be assessed on the growth of the index of fertilizer use per hectare in line with the investments made in fertilizer interventions. A pivotal development in this initiative is the quarterly assessment slated to commence in January 2024. This periodic evaluation will scrutinize the performance of the 47 appointed ministers and will be based on the deliverables outlined in the performance bonds signed by each minister and permanent secretary. The bonds, signed during a three-day cabinet retreat from November 1 to 3, 2023, outline the specific goals and achievements each ministry aims to accomplish within the 2024 budget cycle.
Bala-Usman defends ministerial assessment amid legal and CSO scrutiny.
Addressing concerns raised by some legal experts and civil society organizations, Mrs. Bala-Usman defended the assessment, stating that it was crucial to hold ministers accountable for their responsibilities. Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Mike Ozekhome, questioned the timing of the assessment, expressing skepticism about its priority in the face of pressing national issues. However, the presidential aide emphasized the necessity of evaluating ministers to ensure they fulfill the promises made to the Nigerian people. In response to critics, Chief Yomi Alliyu (SAN) argued that assessing ministers could be subjective, as they are policymakers, not the ones directly implementing policies.
He suggested that members of the public should be the ones to evaluate the ministers’ performance. Another senior lawyer, Mr. Ebun Adegboruwa (SAN), questioned President Tinubu’s moral justification for such an assessment, emphasizing the need for the President himself to undergo scrutiny for the challenges facing the nation. Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) echoed the call for accountability, urging President Tinubu to suspend underperforming ministers or those involved in corrupt practices. Enefaa Georgewill, Chairman of Civil Society Organizations in Rivers State, emphasized the need for disciplinary actions, such as suspension or dismissal, to instill discipline and ensure good governance.
Related Article: New ministers reveal plans for Nigeria
Finally, the diverse reactions from political figures reflected varying perspectives. While a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, Segun Sowunmi, viewed the assessment as a positive and novel idea that could potentially enhance service delivery, others, like the National Secretary of New Nigeria People’s Party, Mr. Oladipupo Olayokun, considered it a standard practice to periodically assess performance. As President Bola Tinubu’s administration gears up for an unprecedented evaluation of ministerial performance, the nation watches closely, anticipating the outcomes that could shape the future of governance in Nigeria. The success of this initiative will not only hinge on the effectiveness of the assessment process but also on the subsequent actions taken based on the findings, reinforcing the principles of accountability and transparency in government affairs.