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President Goodluck Jonathan’s Ministerial Nominees: Why They Are Not The Best


As Nigerians await the Senate’s screening and eventual announcement of the people who will serve as ministers in the present administration, one of the most commonly discussed topics is the ministerial list. While some nominations have been hailed in some places, some of the nominees have come under severe criticisms. In some cases, people from the nominees’ home states wonder how their names got on the list. In this piece, our reporters examine the nominees and why the general feeling is that they are not the best Nigeria has to offer.
Mohammed Bello Adoke, the former Attorney General is one of those on the list and it has earlier been reported by Street Journal that he is one of the candidates that will return to their former duty posts. As Attorney General however, not many Nigerians are saying Adoke did well.
When an alleged fraud totaling about N 6 billion was uncovered at the National Judicial Institute, Nigerians looked forward to the cleansing of the institution alas, the investigations being carried out by the Independent and Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) ended in the middle of nowhere. Thanks to the Attorney General. While the commission’s investigation was still in top gear, Adoke sent Dr. Uriah Angulu, the then Acting Charmin of the ICPC on terminal leave. Street Journal found out that the leave came about three months earlier than normal. Street Journal’s investigations revealed that the action was apparently taken to protect the Chief Justice of the Federation who happens to be the Chairman of the Governing Council of the National Judicial Institute.
It will also be recalled that the Vaswani brothers who were deported by the Yar’Adua administration were brought back by Adoke. And under him as the Attorney General, none of those who were indicted in the Haliburton bribe scandal was brought to justice. Mr. Bello Adoke went ahead to withdraw the charges the nation filed against Julius Berger Nigeria Limited allegedly involved in the $180m Halliburton scam. It is being said in some quarters that Adoke has not fared better than Mike Aondoakaa, one of his infamous predecessors.
Another inclusion many have found embarrassing on the list is Dr. Bello Haliru Mohammed. While serving as the Minister of Communications years ago, he was named in the Siemens bribery scandal. The Acting Chairman of the PDP allegedly received bribes to the tune of € 700,000. That he became Acting Chairman of the acclaimed “biggest party in Africa” has been seen by some as an indictment on the party. Till date, neither Dr. Bello Mohammed nor others who were named in the scam has answered any charges.
One other ministerial nominee who was at the receiving end of criticisms in the last dispensation is Mrs. Diezani Allison Maduekwe. Apart from the Kerosene scarcity that defied solution before she left office, Street Journal had investigated and reported some activities that went on while she headed the Petroleum Ministry.
She has allegedly built a strong cabal in the country’s petroleum industry and racketeering became the order of the day during her time as minister. Street Journal’s investigation also revealed that while the people were suffering due to the shortage of some petroleum products, the allocation that should have gone to marketers were given to some people who most marketers have chosen to describe as being of “questionable characters”. While Nigerians groaned, members of the cabal smiled to the bank.
In the case of Prof. Barth Nnaji, most Nigerians cannot but wonder if the nomitaion was by merit or if other factors were considered. Apart from having served as the President’s Special Adviser on Power, he functioned as the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Power. Incidentally, the effect of the funds expended on the power sector as well as the Presidential Task Force are yet to have any noticeable effect on the power situation in the country. To worsen the Professor of Mechanical Engineering’s case, his own workers allegedly accused him of being one of those frustrating the power sector reforms.
A lot of Osun State indigenes are still trying to find explanations into why Erelu Olusola Obada, the former Deputy Governor of Osun State should be the occupant of the state’s slot. For seven years, she was Prince Oyinlola’s deputy and their administration came under lots of criticisms. Some have however resigned to the assumption that it might not be unconnected with the 35% affirmative action for women promised by the PDP during the electioneering campaigns.
And in Edo State, tongues are wagging that the former Minister of Astate for Defence, Mike Onoihemenmen is more of a Tony Anenih candidate than that of the President. The allegation is that the old Chief nominated him for his own motives.
In some quarters, the belief is that with the ministerial list, no one should expect so much difference from the status quo. This is because of the number of the old and “recycled” hands that are returning as ministers. To some others, confirming a lot of those on the list will be nothing more than sending Nigeria “back to the future.”


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