Possible reasons why President Muhammadu Buhari has not yet named his cabinet emerged last night with confirmation that he had been studying the report of the Transition Committee he empanelled to draw up a blueprint for his administration. A top source, who was part of the Transition Committee, said in confidence that Buhari had been studying the crucial report critically with a view to taking a final decision on the structure of his administration so as to deliver the promised change to Nigerians.
The report was submitted to the President in the first week of June 2015. In the report, the committee has recommended that community and state police should be used in Nigeria to check rising crime rate in the country. It also recommended the establishment of crime forensic laboratories across the country while all policemen attached to private individuals should be withdrawn forthwith to enable the officers and men to tackle rising crime wave in the land.
It noted that in a bid to check the incessant removal of the Inspector General of Police, the suspension or removal of the IGP should be done with the approval of two thirds majority of the members of the National Assembly.
Joda c’ttee recommendations
On how to ensure the success of the electoral system in Nigeria, the Joda Committee recommended the protection of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, by ensuring that he could only be removed or suspended from office by a two-third majority of the National Assembly. Similarly, the committee said that the Electoral Act should be amended to strengthen the hands of the commission in managing security during elections. It recommended that all those who were involved in electoral offences in the last election should be adequately punished to serve as a deterrent to others. “Henceforth voter registration should be carried out electronically and all other electoral statues should accommodate electronic voting,” the report said. If Buhari accepts the report as submitted to him, he would work with 19 full-fledged ministers and 17 ministers of state, bringing the total to 36, unlike the previous 42. The new structure would effectively seal the fate of zonal representatives as ministers which was applicable till the last administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. A breakdown of the new ministries shows that the former Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs is to be merged with that of Special Duties to form Special National Consideration to take care of Niger Delta and North-East, and will be manned by a minister and two ministers of state.
Ministry of Women Affairs, which now takes on the new nomenclature of Gender, Family Affairs, Youths and Sports is to be manned by one minister while Ministries of Mines and Steel Development and that of Petroleum Resources are likely be merged and renamed Energy, Mines and Power to be headed by a minister and two ministers of state. Similarly, the ministries of Police Affairs and Interior have been merged and renamed Interior but will accommodate the Police, Immigrations, Prisons and Civil Defence. Industry, Trade and Investment Ministry has been renamed Investment, Trade and Industry while the Health Ministry will take on the new nomenclature of Health and Human Services and be manned by one minister only.
On the other hand, Agriculture which now takes on Water Resources will be managed by one minister. Aviation and Transport, which now becomes one ministry will be called Ministry of Transport, and will be headed by one minister and two ministers of state. Works, Housing and Environment will now replace the former three ministries and will be manned by a minister and two ministers of state.Ministries of Justice, Education, Tourism, FCT, Defence, Finance and Foreign Affairs which used to enjoy at least a minister and ministers of state will now be managed by a minister.
Presidency may be restructured
The Transition Committee noted with concern the high number of what it described as “top-heavy” political appointments in the Presidency resulting in an inefficient structure and overlapping responsibilities in the nation’s seat of power. To remove the overlapping functions, the committee has proposed the merger of the office of the Principal Secretary to the President with that of Permanent Secretary, State House and to be headed by a Permanent Secretary.It strongly recommended that the appointment of the official to that post should be based strictly on merit and not political considerations. Highlights of the Joda report also noted by corruption, thereby drawing back the system.