When President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office on Friday, May 29, 2015, he promised Nigerians that he will appoint the best hands in the country as his ministers.
On Wednesday, November 11, 2015 when the ministers list was released to the public, many Nigerians were shocked to find out that the president stuck mainly to the old guns, and worst still, the career politicians.
The effect of that decision by President Buhari is beginning to take a toll on the government, as most of the ministers are not on the same page with the government, while others have simply become ‘invincible’.
Most of the ministers who are not visible are junior ministers, who are being overshadowed by the supposed ‘larger than life’ image of their superiors.
1. Malam Mohammed Musa Bello (FCT)
Malam Mohammed Musa Bello
The minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) is gaining notoriety for his ‘absence’ in power. Since he assumed office, it has been complains galore in the FCT, as many residents continue to ask if there is anyone in charge of the city. Under Bello’s watch, the city is returning back to its pre-El-Rufai days, when chaos was the order of the day. The minister is however a very popular face in the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport as he is always bidding President Buhari goodbye to his numerous foreign trips and welcoming him back too.
2. Senator Aisha Jumai Alhassan (Women affairs)
Senator Aisha Jummai Alhassan
Taraba-born Senator Alhassan has been away from her duty post a large number of times majorly due to ill-health. Media reports suggested that Alhassan was undergoing orthopedic treatment in the United States of America, with some reports saying she has had difficultly walking. Many Nigerians were however delighted to see Alhassan in the presidential villa after few weeks of absence, briefing the press after a FEC meeting. Being away for too long should have been enough motivation for Alhassan to hit the ground running as soon as she returned. But the minister’s first port of call was her home state where she allegedly breached protocol by not paying a visit to the state governor.
3. Professor Omole Daramola (Niger Delta, state)
Professor Omole Daramola
A distinguished academician, Professor Daramola has struggled to hold down his own in a ministry that has been largely sidelined since President Buhari assumed office. To make matters worse, the senior minister in the ministry, Pastor Usani Uguru, is not pulling his weight effectively in a region he is supposed to supervise, leaving Daramola in a dire situation. In his ratings of Buhari’s ministers few weeks ago, popular social media influencer and commentator on Nigerian politics, Kayode Ogundamisi, rated Professor Daramola 1/10.
4. Mrs Aisha Abubakar (Trade, industry and investment; state)
Mrs Aisha Abubakar
Some say she got her appointment because she is the daughter of former permanent secretary and finance minister, Alhaji Abubakar Alhaji, who is the current Sardauna of Sokoto. She is the junior minister to Okechukwu Enelamah, one of the few technocrats brought into the government by President Buhari. She is only visible when there is a federal government delegation to visit a place. Much is not known about her past, but she has been described severally by the media as an ‘international banker’.
5. Mrs Zainab Ahmed (Budget and national planning, state)
Mrs Zainab Ahmed
Although she distinguished herself as the former executive secretary of Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Mrs Ahmed’s appointment was reportedly influenced by Governor Nasir El-Rufai who some media reports alleged is related to the minister. Even at the height of the budget scandal that almost brought the delayed the 2016 budget, Mrs Ahmed was no where to be found and was never visible in public despite the media siege. Those who know the minister however say, she has always been like that and prefers her work to speak for her.
6. Honourable Bawa Bwari Abubakar (Solid minerals, state)
Honourable Bawa Bwari Abubakar
A formidable politician, Abubakar is a former chief whip of the House of Representatives. He is one of the junior ministers whose visibility has been drowned by the senior minister in the ministry. In his case, he is contending with one of Nigeria’s finest gentleman and politician, Mr Olukayode Fayemi, whose competence and commitment is never in doubt. Another reason why Abubakar might be struggling to make his mark, is the unique ministry he finds himself. A ministry with enormous challenges and requires a thoroughbred professional to handle its affairs.
7. Mr Suleiman Hussaini Adamu (Water resources)
Suleiman Hussaini Adamu
His competence is not in doubt. The Jigawa-born civil engineer has been involved in the planning, supervision and management of several building, environmental and engineering infrastructure projects in Nigeria. Perharps, his ‘absence’ in the scheme of things might be due to the minimal attention the Nigerian government gives to ministries like water resources. It is a known fact that successive governments in the country sideline some ministries and regard them as not important. The onus therefore lies on the minister to be creative and pull his weight in the ministry in order to write his name in gold.M