By Ike Jonas
Daily activities of government officials at the Ministries, Departments and Agencies MDAs have slowed down due to the unnecessary delay by President Muhammadu Buhari in forwarding names of his ministerial nominees to the Senate for confirmation weeks after assuming office for his second term.
It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari in late May 2019 after the conclusion of the 2019 general elections in which he was declared a winner by INEC asked Ministers and other top officials of government to hand over to the Permanent Secretaries in their respective MDAs.
In compliance to this directive Ministers and chairmen of the board of government agencies and parastatals prepared their hand over notes and handed over to the Permanent Secretaries in these MDAs before May 29 2019 on which date the four-year tenure Buhari was elected ended.
The Newsguru.Com TNG can authoritatively report that there are no activities in most government departments both in the areas of administration, finances and secretarial duties that is receiving the attention of civil servants at these MDAs presently.
Daily check on activities of workers on these government departments shows absolute lack of continuity in government business as civil servants from the rank of Director to the lowest cadre who mostly are cleaners roam around these offices without supervision or any form of control.
From the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to that of Sports and Social Development, Women Affairs, Finance, Education and Health ministries, it is the same tale of lack of continuity of government business.
And the question is who is to be blamed for this state of affairs? Is it the President whose responsibility it is to appoint Ministers in MDAs? Is it the Permanent Secretaries who are the accounting officers of these government departments or the Directors of various units in these MDAs? Who is to be blamed? These posers remain unanswered.
If we absolve the Commander-in-Chief C in-C of the blames, should we absolve the Permanent Secretaries also? Are they no longer accountable to the nation’s chief executive? Are permanence and continuity no longer the hallmark of the civil service?
For me, the Permanent Secretaries should take a huge chunk of the blame. The President also not be absolved totally for not providing the needed leadership at these MDAs for the time being. As the head of the Executive branch of government.
Buhari ought to have directed the ministries and agencies to open up their activities for public scrutiny in view of the absence of substantive Ministers supervising and controlling these MDAs before now.
He needs to ensure that fund allocated in those government departments in the annual budgets are properly channeled to where they were allocated before the exit of the Ministers.
At the Ministry of Education, activities are almost grounded as TNG findings show that no meeting has been held in the ministry for the past one month. There has not also been any media briefing or any formal engagement with a third party outside the ministry workers.
This situation which is akin to redundancy in the formal sector is the case in other MDAs notably the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Health, Labour and Productivity, and Women Affairs.
At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, only one press briefing has been held in the past month. That was the briefing of the Nigeria Ambassador to France Dr.Modupe Irele on the Nigeria-France Investment Forum held in Abuja recently.
A cross section of the junior staff of these MDAs who spoke to our reporter on condition of anonymity seriously blamed President Muhammad Buhari’s delay in appointing ministers for the ugly development.
At the Education ministry, two security men who also spoke with this reporter lamented that salaries of security men who stake their lives on day and night duties are not being paid on time.
The Newsguru.Com recalls that it took six months before President Muhammadu Buhari appointment and inaugurated the last set of Ministers and other cabinet members in 2015 after he was sworn in as President of Nigeria.
At the time, was criticised for taking so long to name his ministers at a time when the economy was severely hit by the fall in global oil prices, which ultimately contributed to the recession that hit the nation shortly after he took over the mantle of leadership.
The country was believed to be directionless during the period the country operated without a Federal Executive Council in place.