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Ministerial portfolios of ‘square pegs in round holes’



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By Ehichioya Ezomon

If some Nigerians were sad about the kind of nominees President Bola Tinubu picked for his cabinet, many more were heavy-hearted over the portfolios assigned to the ministers.
The composition of the cabinet was a mis-match in relation to some of the ministers’ educational and professional attainments and development, and experiences on the job over the years.
Hence Nigerians deployed words, such as depression, despondency, disappointment, discontent, disenchantment, displeasure, dismay, disillusionment, and dissatisfaction, to express their feelings over Tinubu’s allocation of portfolios to the ministers.
The President – touted as the best head-hunter among his peer-governors between 1999 and 2007 – was expected to be different from his predecessors in uninspiring appointments and allocation of portfolios.
Many had hoped Tinubu would bring his famed pedigree of selecting ‘A List’ administrators in Lagos State to bear at the federal level, to tackle the myriad socio-economic problems challenging Nigerians in his under three-month-old government.
Unlike the expeditious removal of petrol subsidy and floating of the Naira that sent prices of goods and services sky-high across all sectors – with the government struggling to provide palliatives to cushion the effects – the ministerial list was late in coming because of the President’s hedging. 
Pre-his inauguration on May 29, Tinubu’s presented as single-minded and “uncrackable” under whatever guise. And he lived up to that billing from the primaries through the campaigns and election, and the transition to assuming power.
He topped his “invincibility” with some bold policies on subsidy removals and floating of the Naira. That’s why it’s befuddling that the President hid from lobbyists – “to avoid undue influence” – in rolling out a list of ministers that would satisfy expectations of Nigerians.
Tinubu, speaking through Senate Majority Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele (APC-Ekiti Central) on July 25, even asked Senators, under Senate President Godswill Akpabio, and Nigerians for prayers, to direct his thoughts and decisions aright.
The President’s words: “Let me tell you, and you must encourage me. I need to make myself unavailable for the next 48 hours because a correspondence must come to the Senate, a very crucial correspondence.
“So, Mr (Senate) President, pray for me. You should tell the rest of Nigerians to pray for me, to be able to make the right decision within the next 24 hours.”
Still, many had thought Tinubu would break with the Nigerian “protocol,” and start to tease up his ministerial nominees piecemeal – along with their portfolios – as is the practice in diverse countries, particularly in the United States. 
Before the list gets to Parliament, informed citizens would’ve known and “scrutinised” the nominees for the portfolios to be assigned to them. This aids the work of the legislators in approving the nominees.
Though it creates more drama and anticipation, involement of the public in “vetting” nominees helps to expose their quality in terms of character, capacity, competence and experience, and their fit for designated portfolios.
And it’s easier to get people’s buy-in into government’s policies and programmes if given the chance to assist in shaping the content of the cabinet.
So, delaying, and hoarding the ministerial list that he presented in two batches didn’t seem to help the President – nor meet the expectations of Nigerians – when he submitted the first batch of 28 nominees on July 27 to the Senate for screening and confirmation.
It’s the same yawns and sighs when Tinubu released the second batch of nominees dominated by former Governors, party chieftains and personalities hardly known to Nigerians as capable of delivering on the job.
Nigerians had something to say – positive or negative – about the list. But generally, they gave the President some leeway, hoping he’d rectify observed “anomalies” in the list at the stage of assigning portfolios to the ministers.
But what did Nigerians see when Tinubu allocated portfolios to 45 of 48 ministers? Many classified it as “putting square pegs in round holes,” with some ministers lacking the requisite professionalism, competency and experience! 
They argued it wasn’t markedly different from former President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet – formed after a six-month delay – with the ministers majorly as low picks, resulting in gross failure of many on the job.
Tinubu’s reasons for allocating the respective portfolios, but peruse below and evaluate if the President’s passed his acclaimed head-hunting ability to assemble the “very best” for his cabinet:
Nyesom Wike (Lawyer/Rivers), Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. Dave Umahi (Civil Engineer/Ebonyi), Minister of Works. Adegboyega Oyetola (lnsurer/Osun), Minister of Transportation. Mohammed Badaru (Accountant/Jigawa), 
Minister of Defence. Bello Matawalle (Teacher/Zamfara), Minister of State, Defence. Atiku Bagudu (Economist/Kebbi), Minister of Budget and Economic Planning. Ibrahim Geidam (Accountant/Yobe), Minister of Police Affairs. Simon Lalong (Lawyer/Plateau), Minister of Labour and Employment.
Wale Edun (Economist/Ogun), Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy. Lateef Fagbemi, SAN (Lawyer/Kwara), Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice. Sa’Idu A. Alkali (Economist/Gombe), Minister of Interior. Yusuf M. Tuggar (Prof.-Int’l Relations/Bauchi), Minister of Foreign Affairs. Ali Pate (Prof.-Medical Doctor/Bauchi), Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare. Tahir Maman, SAN (Prof.-Lawyer/Adamawa), Minister of Education. Muhammed Idris (English-Media Owner/Niger), Minister of Information and National Orientation Zephaniah Jisalo (Educationist/FCT), Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Govermental Affairs. Festus Keyamo, SAN (Lawyer/Delta), Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development. Shuaibu A Audu (System Analyst/Kogi), Minister of Steel Development. Doris Anite (Medical Doctor-Financial Expert/Imo), Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment. Uche Nnaji (Politician/Enugu), Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology. Bunmi Tunji (Electronics-Communications Engineer/Ondo), Minister of Marine and Blue Economy. Bosun Tijani Ph.D (Economist-Systems Developer/Lagos), Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy. Adedayo Adelabu (Accountant/Oyo), Minister of Power. Ahmed M. Dangiwa (Architect/Katsina), 
Minister of Housing and Urban Development.
Dele Alake (Pol. Scientist-Journalist Ekiti), Minister of Solid Minerals Development.
Lola Ade-John (Computer-System Analyst/Lagos), Minister of Tourism. Joseph Utsev (Prof.-Civil-Water Engineer/Benue), Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation. Abubakar Kyari (Business Admin/Borno), Minister of Agriculture and Food Security. Uju Kennedy Ohanenye (Lawyer/Anambra), Minister of Women Affairs. Abubakar Momoh (Civil Engineer/Edo), Minister of Youth. Betta Edu Ph.D (Medical Doctor/Cross River), Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation. John Enoh (Pharmacologist/Cross River), Minister of Sports Development. Hannatu Musawa 
(Lawyer/Katsina), Minister of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy. 
 Yusuf T. Sununu (Medical Doctor/Kebbi), Minister of State, Education. Nkiruka Onyejeocha (Shipper/Abia), Minister of State, Labour and Employment. Ekperikpe Ekpo (Politician/Akwa Ibom), Minister of State, Gas Resources. Heineken Lokpobiri Ph.D (Lawyer/Bayelsa), Minister of State, Petroleum Resources. Abdullahi T. Gwarzo (Textile Engineer/Kano), Minister of State, Housing and Urban Development. Ishak Salako (Medical Doctor/Ogun), Minister of State, Environment and Ecological Management.
Tunji Alausa (Medical Doctor/Lagos), Minister of State, Health and Social Welfare. Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (Vet. Doctor/Niger), Minister of State, Agriculture and Food Security. Mairiga Mahmoud Ph.D (Lawyer/Kano), Minister of State, Federal Capital Territory. Bello M. Goronyo (Lawyer/Sokoto), Minister of State, Water Resources and Sanitation. Maigari Ahmadu (Lawyer/Taraba), Minister of State, Steel Development. Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim (Sociologist/Nasarawa), Minister of State, Police Affairs. 
Except three slots – and the Petroleum Resources portfolio – the President’s done with the cabinet. What remains is for the ministers to justify the confidence Tinubu’s reposed in them, and discharge their duties to the expectations of Nigerians!

Mr Ezomon, Journalist and Media Consultant, writes from Lagos, Nigeria.

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Over 1,000 mothers wait on God in prayer ahead of Nasarawa Guber tribunal verdict




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From Daniel Abel, Lafia

For an impartial judgment, Nasarawa women have made supplication to God prayers ahead of the governorship election petition tribunal pronouncement in the state.

The women from various religious assemblies across the 13 Local Government Areas of the state gathered on Sunday for a prayer rally for peace, God fearing judgment in the state.

The women said they came to cry to God for divine intervention so that justice can be done for peace and prosperity in favor of the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Dr. David Ombugadu whom they claimed they voted massively in the March 18 election in the state.

The women clad in black dresses, carried placards with inscriptions suck as ‘All eyes on the judiciary’, ‘God is also watching’ ‘we demand just judgment’ as they rendered emotional songs in Hausa at the rally.

They held the prayer session asking God to intervene, deliver the state from hostages and injustices.

Speaking shortly after the prayer session in Lafia, the leaders of Nasarawa women Coalition for Justice, Hanatu John, explained that the reason for the rally was to seek the face of God in the case involving Dr. Ombugadu of PDP and Governor Abdullahi Sule of APC.

Dr Hanatu who expressed confidence that God will not fail the aged women in their prayers under the scorching sun, will give wisdom and courage to the judges presiding over the Nasarawa governorship tribunal to deliver judgement with the fear of God.

“All residents of the state including members of the All Progressives Congress are aware that the PDP candidate, Dr. David Ombugadu won the March 18, 2023 election, not the incumbent governor, Abdullahi Sule as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

“These women you see here are over 1,000 in number cutting across various faith. They voluntarily came out from all parts of the state to pray for the person residents of the state gave their mandate because they are tired of the APC led government.
“They no longer want to be deceived, that is why they are all gathered here today in solidarity with the PDP.”

It would be recalled that Dr. Ombugadu had dragged Governor Abdullahi Sule before the Election petition Tribunal after the declaration of Abdullahi Sule as the winner of the March 18, 2023 governorship election in the state

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10 ‘Big lies’ that are synonymous with Tinubu’s govt, by Phrank Shaibu




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**Says, even subsidy removal is one of them as PMS is still being subsidized from the backdoor

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s Special Assistant on Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu, has chronicled what he described as “the 10 big lies” that have so far characterised President Bola Tinubu administration.

Shaibu in a statement on Sunday indicated that the repeated lies were signs that Tinubu’s only plan was to use propaganda to deceive Nigerians rather than do any proper work in rescuing citizens from the bottomless pit of bad governance they had been pushed into, in the last eight years plus 117 days of the administration of the All Progressives Congress.

He asked Nigerians not to be deceived by the apology issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Chief Ajuri Ngelale, and other aides to Tinubu.

Shaibu said they were only remorseful because they had been caught and not because they were penitent. Shaibu said the fact that Tinubu had more media aides than economic and security advisers was enough to prove that his administration would rely on propaganda as a state policy.

“My advice to the Nigerian media is to always fact-check any claim made by this government as this would help maintain their credibility. If the Tinubu government says it is morning, go outside to verify if the sun is shining,” he said.

Atiku’s aide listed the following as “the 10 lies of the Tinubu regime I have compiled so far:

“1. The first lie that was told by Bola Tinubu was in his inaugural speech, where he stated that petrol subsidy is gone. With oil prices now at $94 per barrel and naira exchanging at N1,000/$1, the price of diesel has risen to about N1,000 per litre while petrol remains at about N620 per litre. It is obvious to the discerning mind that petrol is now being subsidised, a position which all oil marketers have espoused. Nigerians should not be deceived. Tinubu’s claim that there is no subsidy is a lie from the pit of hell, and the fact that they are even hiding the information means there is no transparency, and the money is probably being stolen again.

“2. The second lie told by these charlatans was that the United Arab Emirates had lifted the visa ban on Nigerians immediately and that all Nigerians were free to visit Dubai. This lie was well celebrated by many undiscerning Nigerians whose only crime was to believe the deceptive words of an illegitimate government. UAE authorities later confirmed to CNN that it was all a lie. What a national embarrassment!

  1. A third lie told by this deceptive government is that Tinubu was the first African President to ring the NASDAQ bell. It has since been established that Malawian President, Jakaya Kikwete, rang the bell on September 21, 2011.
  2. Another lie was a statement issued by Ajuri Ngelale on August 27, 2023 where US Presidential Envoy and Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Ambassador Molly Phee, was quoted as saying, “President Joe Biden is asking to meet with you on the sidelines of UNGA and you are the only African leader he has requested to meet. It is a mark of his high regard for your leadership.” Well, this has turned out to be another embarrassing lie as Tinubu has departed UNGA and never met President Biden.
  3. A fifth lie was a claim made by Tinubu on the floor of NASDAQ where he stated that “We have retooled the exchange rate to a reliable, dependable one figure floating of the naira. You are free to take in your money and bring out your money.” But this is another lie from the pit of hell. The exchange rate on the I&E Window is about N780/$1, while the rate at the parallel market is about N1,000/$1. Besides, foreign airlines still have over $600m funds stuck in Nigeria. Tinubu, therefore, lied when he said “you are free to take in your money and bring out your money.”
  4. On August 14, 2023, the Nigerian government said on its official Twitter handle that the Nigerian Air Force struck terrorists gathering at Kurebe in Shiroro LGA in Niger State. The government claimed that the terrorists were neutralised. Well, Premium Times has now revealed in its latest report that this is nothing but propaganda as those who were killed were innocent civilians. Is it not tragic that the Bola Tinubu administration has now infected the military with its lies? Indeed, once the head of the fish is rotten, the body cannot escape corruption.
  5. As part of Bola Tinubu’s propaganda programme, the Central Bank of Nigeria said on September 6, 2023 that within two weeks, it would inject $10 billion into the foreign exchange market to clear the FX backlog. Days after the deadline passed, not a single cent has been injected into the system as the naira continues its free fall. The institution that Tinubu’s leadership cannot destroy does not exist.
  6. In his inaugural speech, Tinubu said, “As your President, I shall serve with prejudice towards none.” But this has turned out to be another barefaced lie. Tinubu has been running a government of the clannish, by the clannish and for the clannish, with all key appointments in every sector going to a section of the country including CBN, FIRS, customs, army, police, immigration while he himself is the petroleum and gas minister. Tinubu appointed 10 ministers from the southwest and only five from the southeast. If this isn’t prejudice, I don’t know what it is.
  7. Last month, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited claimed they had obtained an Afrexim loan of $3bn with which it would help stabilise the naira. We raised the alarm that it was all a ruse to deceive Nigerians. Now, we have been justified as the naira is now trading at $1/N1,000 on the black market, while Afrexim Bank has refused to speak on it. This was just audio money.

“10. Perhaps the biggest scam and deceit of the Tinubu administration was the Student Loan Act, which he signed on June 12. The new law provides loans for students’ tuition only. It doesn’t cover any other educational expenses. After the law was signed, all federal government schools began increasing school fees. But Dele Alake, the Special Adviser on Media as he then was, said in a statement that tuition in all government schools remains free and that the only fees that were increased were accommodation, laboratory, library and other costs. So if tuition is free and the Students Loan Act covers only tuition fee, that means the Student Loan Act is pointless, and no money will be released. In essence, Tinubu’s government has prodded government schools to increase fees while no loans will be given to the students. This is the height of deception and wickedness.”

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Tinubu’s desperation to hide CSU records is embarrassing to Nigerians -Timi Frank




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President Bola Ahmed Tinubu should stop embarrassing Nigerians by his desperate bid to frustrate the release of his academic records from the Chicago State University (CSU), former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank has demanded

Frank in a statement in Abuja on Friday expressed dismay over what Tinubu is trying to hide that prompted him to hurriedly appeal the judgement of a US Magistrate Court that ordered CSU to release his academic records.

Tinubu, according to a report by Peoples Gazette, had pleaded before a United States judge to save him from suffering “severe and irreparable damage” by placing an emergency hold on a recent Court order for his university records to be released.

The President through his lawyer claimed that the damage he would suffer would be impossible to mitigate if the order directing the release of his academic records to former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar is not delayed for possible vacation. 

According to the report, “Severe and irreparable harm will be done to Bola Tinubu if the records are released,” Tinubu’s lawyer had argued at an emergency appeal before Judge Nancy Maldonado of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago.

“If the records are released, harm will be done and cannot be taken back to the bottle,” Tinubu’s lawyer added.

“If you know you have clean academic records why are you fighting to stop their
being released?

“What ‘severe and irreparable harm’ will you suffer if the records are released?” Frank queried.

He insisted that due to Tinubu’s desperate acts in seeking to conceal his academic records and other legal issues surrounding his persona, most world leaders are now avoiding him and this has hampered his administration’s much publicized investments drive abroad.

“For instance, his much trumpeted proposed meeting with American President Joe Biden during the United Nations General Assembly in New York was silently cancelled with no explanations from either Tinubu or Biden.

“However, we have it on good authority that Biden was warned by the US intelligence community to avoid such a meeting.

“Besides, Tinubu claimed to have gotten Untied Arab Emirates (Dubai) authorities to lift visa restrictions on Nigerians but this has since been proven to be a lie.”

He called on Nigerians to own the fight to ensure that the President has authentic academic records and not to leave the efforts to an individual due to potential political and diplomatic damage it can do to Nigeria if glossed over.

Frank said: “This fight should not be for Atiku Abubakar alone. Nigerians must rise up and demand to know the academic records of their President.

“Tinubu’s desperate attempt to buy time with his recent appeal is a huge embarrassment to Nigerians both at home and in diaspora. Why does the court ordered release of Tinubu’s academic records appear like a matter of life and death to the President?

“Tinubu, please stop embarrassing Nigerians through this do or die attempt to stop your academic records from being released. Nigerians are eager to know who their President really is.

“The more you fight to conceal your academic records, the more you damage the image of the country and its ability to attract investors who want to do business with genuine and trustworthy partners and not those believed to have skeletons in their cupboards.

“Are Nigerians not entitled to know the authentic academic qualifications of their President?”

He called on the United States’ Government and its institutions to transparently adjudicate on this matter in the interest of Nigeria and not that of one man.

We demand the Chicago court to urgently hear this appeal and make its findings known without compromising the integrity of the American Court system.

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