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Inuwa Abdulkadir: How Not To Sack A Minister

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In the last two and half years of the current President Good luck Jonathan's 'civilian' administration, majority of Nigerians have expressed bitter feelings regarding the poor performance and the lack luster performance of key ministers of the government especially those of them whose roles are expected to impact meaningfully in the lives of majority of Nigerians.

Not a few Nigerians have expressed displeasure with the poor performance of the health, education and police affairs ministries under the current cabinet level appointees even as the ministry of internal affairs and the defense sectors have also performed abysmally poorly resulting in the general break down of rule of law; peace and orderliness and heightened insecurity has become the order of the day.

The Nigeria Police Force under the current dispensation has become notoriously incompetent and has increasingly being converted to a mere 'armed brigade' of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party at the national level even as both the Inspector General of Police and the minister of police affairs have failed spectacularly to provide the needed leadership for the rapid transformation of the near-moribund and the professionally incompetent Police force to become efficient, effective and pro-active in crime prevention, detection and the enforcement of the principle of the Rule of Law thereby making most parts of Nigeria to become insecure even as rampaging armed bands of hoodlums and kidnappers and other non-state actors have become the overlords who now kidnap and maim/kill innocent citizens at will without the current administration doing much to check the menace.

Agriculture sector is also comatose despite all the media hypes regarding the so-called revolutionary measures being implemented by the current cabinet minister to transform the agricultural sector to become one of the largest creators of employment opportunities in the Nigeria's private sector with government's created enabling and policy environments.

The current Agricultural minister has made the right noises in the media regarding the plan by Government to introduce 'cassava bread' using our local variety of cassava which are in huge supply across the rural settings of Nigeria but again, the same ministry of agriculture is yet to hit the ground running regarding the provisions of the needed soft loans and credit facilities equitably redistributed for the rural farmers to enable them graduate from the current status as small scale and subsistent farmers to the level of mechanized famers who would be in good position to create huge employment opportunities for the jobless Nigerian youth and also to ensure that Nigeria becomes self sustaining and self sufficient in agricultural and food produce.

There is no gainsaying that right now Nigeria can not feed her huge population without falling back on imported agricultural finished and/or manufactured products from some backyard countries in Asia and Latin America. The ministry of Commerce and Trade is yet to implement measures to encourage local manufacturers of shoes in Aba, Abia state and other firms that still operate under very harsh atmosphere of lack of electricity power and infrastructure to power their plants but the minister is quick to junket round the globe in meaningless voyage of discovery and self adulations while local manufacturers in Nigeria are being strangulated by the unfriendly climate in Nigeria.

The Labour and productivity ministry is yet to come up with the precise statistical data of the jobless Nigerian youth even as it has failed to rein in the numerous foreign slave masters who set up cottage industries like biscuit manufacturing factories among others and employ Nigerians as temporary staff under harsh working environment in our own country and yet the ministries of Labour and that of Internal affairs are looking the other way while Nigerians are enslaved in their own Nation.

So Nigerians have always looked forward to a time that the current President can rejig his cabinet and bring in the right caliber of persons/technocrats with the requisite skills and patriotism to bring about the required changes in these economic sectors that have gone comatose so that once more Nigeria can be in the driving seat of the few nations that truly hope and are working to achieve self-sufficiency in the basic necessities of life for their teeming populace and also to be able to save for the rainy days.

Jonathan, our President for two years left Nigerians guessing when and how he will bring in the right people as ministers but recently he removed the minister of youth development who is barely six months old on the job and who indeed was not given the needed working enabling environment to prove his mettle but was easily booted out for political reasons. The Presidency said he was removed for failing to provide leadership for the election to take place in the National youth council of Nigeria- a purely non-governmental body.

Convinced that the public explanation offered by the presidency for the recent dismissal of minister of youth Development and a life member of the prestigious Nigerian body of Benchers- Alhaji Abdul-Kadir Inuwa from Sokoto state, was 'deceitful', 'wrongful' and 'absurd', a Democracy inclined Non-Governmental group-HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS' ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has demanded public apology to be tendered to the sacked cabinet member.

In a statement issued to the media after a consultative meeting in Abuja where its management deliberated on burning national issues, HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS' ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA said it was wrong for President Jonathan to anchor the removal of the youth minister on the premise that he [Alhaji Inuwa Abdulkadir] failed to provide leadership for smooth conduct of the election of the National youth council of Nigeria since according to HURIWA, the National Youth Council of Nigeria is not legally an agency of the Federal ministry of Youth Development but rather a Youth-Focused voluntary coalition of divergent registered youth related Non-Governmental bodies.

Besides, HURIWA said it was a serious symptom of dictatorship that the Nigerian president elected and sworn in democratically under a democratic constitution could order the public disgrace of his cabinet member through a press statement endorsed by a low profile official in the office of the secretary to the government of the federation even without the president extending to him (Alhaji Inuwa) the democratic courtesy and decency of allowing him return to Abuja from a National assignment in Calabar, Cross River state during the just concluded National yearly conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).

HURIWA said the action which was meant by the Presidency to demean the person and dignity of the accomplished legal luminary [Alhaji Adbul-kadir Inuwa] because of his affinity with a political adversary of the current President in the person of the governor of Sokoto state who is reportedly opposed to the President 2015 second term ambition, ironically turned out as one of the most damaging public actions of the current administration. The group stated that the poorly and hurriedly packaged reason by the Presidency for the youth minister's removal made matters worst for the public image of the President because all rational thinkers know that the National Youth Council of Nigeria is not an integral agency under the direct supervision of the minister of youth development of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

As one of the major signatories of the media statement by the Rights group aforementioned, I wish to express my disappointment that President Jonathan with all his democratic credentials as a former university teacher could approve the deployment of military 'gestapo' tactics through public media broadcast by a lowly rated media assistant in the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to announce the removal of his federal cabinet member who in this instance is not merely a career politician but a consummate professional lawyer who has been elevated to the prestigious pinnacle of joining the ranks of life membership of the Nigerian Bodies of Benchers.

The way and manner that Mr. President humiliated his immediate past youth Development minister has sent wrong signals to observers around the world that our new-breed politicians are yet to leave behind the dictatorial vestiges and vices of military dictatorship. Mr. President should apologize for this wrongful way of termination. We acknowledge that as President of the federal Republic of Nigeria, he can hire and fire but along the line of hiring and firing, courtesy demands that the dignity of such office holder must remain intact and clear, concise and legitimate reasons for the presidential action communicated to the populace devoid of half truths and deceit.

The Presidential Adviser was wrong to have claimed that the immediate past youth minister Alhaji Inuwa Abdul-Kadir was removed for failing to provide leadership for the conduct of the election of the National Youth Council of Nigeria since the Youth Council like any other Non-governmental body is a registered independent entity accredited by the Corporate Affairs Commission with Incorporated Trustees' NUMBER 13345.

Supervising the National Youth Council of Nigeria is not the statutory duty of the youth minister since even under the appropriation Act, it would be illegal and unconstitutional for government to necessarily make provision for the constant funding of a strictly non-governmental organization but government ministries can at best partner with all legitimate organization to serve public interest.

How did the Presidency come about this absurd reason for removing the youth minister even when other cabinet ministers that have clearly demonstrated poor understanding of their schedules in the last two years are still the favored 'sons' and 'daughters' of President Jonathan?

By law the Youth Council is the umbrella body for all voluntary youths organization within their area of jurisdiction and it serves as the bridge between the youth and the government, public/private sectors, Educational institutions and the diplomatic corps. It's a corporate membership and it is not political.

The National youth council of Nigeria was founded as the voice of the Nigeria youth and the coordinating body of all youth organizations in the country. The national Youth council of Nigeria is duly registered with Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). the council is non governmental, non -partisan, and non-profit making.

President Jonathan, it would be recalled, had stated that the immediate past youth minister was removed for 'mishandling the National Youth Council of Nigeria's election', which produced several factions. This reason is far from the truth and must be disregarded.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Emmanuel Onwubiko and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

Articles by Emmanuel Onwubiko