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Critical sectors that may make or mar Tinubu’s govt



DIRISU YAKUBU examines some of the ministers that will determine the performance of President Bola Tinubu in the next four years

It is a difficult time to be a Nigerian. Living in a Hobbesian fictional world, where everything seems nasty, brutish and short, particularly in the turbulent eight years of Muhammadu Buhari’s reign; nothing has changed for Nigerians in the past three months.

President Bola Tinubu whose leadership Nigerians expected to birth a new lease of life, wasted no time in making the situation worse for them following the removal of subsidy from Premium Motor Spirit. Since June when the Commander-in-Chief announced subsidy removal, things have not been the same for Nigerians, many of whom now lament openly the pitiable conditions under which they live.

However, there is hope on the horizon that things are likely to change for good with the recent inauguration of the Federal Executive Council by the President. This optimism derives in part from the pledged commitment of the first citizen to make a difference in the lives of Nigerians, having admitted recently that the past few years have been difficult for the people.

The new ministers are expected to hit the ground running but how fast remains a matter of conjecture. For a President desirous of turning around the fortunes of a nation whose potentials have been dwarfed by decades of poor planning and policy somersault; critical sectors of the economy must be allowed to breathe without difficulty.

While in the saddle, Buhari placed Nigeria on the global map for the wrong reasons. From having the highest number of out-of-school children estimated conservatively at over 10 million to being the world capital of poverty, Africa’s largest country became a consistent symbol of jokes around the world.

He came on a three-point agenda namely, fight against insecurity, revival of the economy and war against corruption but at the time of exit, Buhari had left the world and millions of his supporters disappointed as none of the cardinal programmes of his administration came close to witnessing even a marginal improvement since he took over the reins of governance in 2015. Across the land, gunmen boasting their connection in high places killed for fun even as they had a field day breaking into correctional facilities to free their members arrested previously by security agencies.

The cabinet turned out not exactly what Nigerians expected, yet, the inclusion of the likes of Bosun Tijani, Muhammed Pate and Wale Edun as well as a handful of others is enough to look forward to greater things in the months ahead but for Nigeria to stand a chance of living true to her potentials, critical sectors of the economy must witness significant turnaround as quickly as possible.


For the better part of the immediate past administration, the rule of law was constantly in focus for the wrong reasons. Court orders not favourable to the Federal Government were sometimes ignored without a thought for posterity.

The disobedience of court order against the continued trial of former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, and flagrant refusal to obey court orders for the release of Ibrahim El-zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and Nnamdi Kanu readily come to mind.

Thus, President Tinubu will do himself a world of good by giving the judicial arm of government the respect it deserves, for in the words of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mike Ozekhome, much is expected from the judiciary if Nigeria must win back her status as one of the leading black nations on earth.

To attain this feat, the country needs “Massive law reforms, digitalisation of the entire court processes and practices, immediate enhancement of judges conditions of service, including salaries, emoluments, annual travels, medical care, local and foreign seminars, workshops, conferences and a guaranteed house to retire to.”

Nigeria witnessed one of her most challenging times under Buhari following the escalation of killings, kidnapping for ransom, and terrorism in different parts of the country. Despite his military background, Buhari had no solution to the deadly campaigns by terrorists who even embarrassed him on more than one occasion in his ancestral home of Daura, Katsina State.

In many instances, Katsina State witnessed attacks from terrorists with Buhari in town; an indication that they were neither scared nor believed that the then President had what it takes to address the security situation.

Like Buhari, Tinubu’s administration has started off on a bad note. With barely three months in the saddle, the former Lagos State Governor’s ability to secure the nation is currently a subject of debate. A fortnight ago, three officers and 22 soldiers died in Zungeru, Niger State, when gunmen laid ambush.

“Troops, while conducting offensive operations around Kundu general area in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State, got into an ambush. Following a firefight, three officers and 22 soldiers were killed in action, while seven soldiers were wounded.

“Subsequently, the NAF MI-171 helicopter was dispatched to evacuate the casualties. While outbound to Kaduna, the helicopter crashed with the corpses of the 14 personnel earlier killed in action, seven of the personnel were wounded in action, while two pilots and two crew members of the helicopter also died.

“Operations are ongoing to recover the bodies and investigate the cause of the air crash, which will be communicated. Surely, no group will strike its own troops with impunity,” the Director of Defence Media Operations, Major General Edward Buba, told journalists at a briefing on the tragedy.

Speaking with Saturday PUNCH, security consultant, Captain Umar Aliyu (retd.) came short of saying that the choice of the two ex-governors might leave Nigeria in a worse state.

He said, “When you look at where we are coming from and where we are, you can then begin to imagine where we are going. The immediate past Minister of Defence was General Bashir Magashi (retd). When Magashi came on board this same APC under Buhari, we wondered why it had to be him. The reason was that Magashi as of the time he was appointed minister by Buhari had been out of touch with governance. At that time, there were enough Generals who had served in a democracy from 1999 to the time Magashi was appointed Defence Minister but Buhari did not choose any of them. Buhari went on to bring in a man who served his entire career in a military dispensation. The man had no idea of what the democracy of security was all about.

“If a General could only achieve what we saw the last time, what more of an Abubakar Badaru and Bello Matawalle? Even though being a Defence Minister is not exclusively the job of a General, having the required antecedents is an added advantage. If you put a blind man in a dark room, with black walls, he is handicapped because even if you give him eyes, he won’t see.”

That said, Aliyu warned of imminent danger if the two ministers failed to master the intrigues in their new terrain fast enough.

“If Badaru and Matawalle do not tread carefully, there are hawks in the Ministry of Defence who will exploit their current situation and at the end of the day, the bulk will stop on their tables whether for credit or for blame,” he added.

Taking a different position, security expert and golden member of the Switzerland Security Association, Mr Jackson Ojo, said there was no cause for alarm, adding that the zero military experience notwithstanding, the ex-governors could make a difference if they would be able to muster the political will to get things done in the interest of the nation.

“The fact that he has a retired senior police officer as the National Security Officer and they are working in tandem is enough reason to hope for a new dawn. When the NSA came to Port Harcourt for the inspection of oil facilities recently, I was glad that he came with the Minister and Minister of State for Defence. It shows they will work in synergy with the NSA. Once the service chiefs see that these people are working together, they will have to cooperate.

Badaru may not be a security expert, but he has been a chief security officer of a state for eight years. The most important thing is the cooperation with the NSA. The two ministers can do a lot. It is good that the President has charged everyone to hit the ground running. That is an added motivation for them to perform because non-performance can earn them the sacking.”


The naira is on a free-fall; no thanks to the monetary inconsistency of the Buhari-led administration, with a Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, whose professional calling as a banker was compromised by his near venture into the world of partisan politics.

Although President Tinubu has brought in an economic expert, Wale Edun, as the Minister of Finance to steer the wheel of the sector, Abuja-based tax consultant, Adams Echono said the new man “would need to move very quickly to sanitise the Nigeria financial system. Nigeria is in dire straits financially and will need the expertise of Mr Wale Edun to bring some stability to the nation’s economy. The minister’s input will bring stability into our fiscal and monetary system, help manage our huge debt portfolio and ensure fiscal responsibility across all tiers of government.”


While it may be too early to hazard a guess at the programmes he is likely to unveil in the weeks ahead, Nigerians will be glad to have in the saddle a Minister of Education who will play his part in ensuring that the perennial industrial actions witnessed during the administration of General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) become a thing of the past.

The global ranking of universities is an area Professor Tahir needs to avail the nation of his wealth of experience and know-how. How he does this remains to be seen in the months ahead.

Marine and Blue Economy

The creation of the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy is seen as a strategic move by President Tinubu to delve into Nigeria’s untapped aquatic endowments. Blessed with vast waterways spread across the northern and southern plains, Nigeria has yet to reap bountifully from this sub-sector. This, experts attributed to decades of neglect by successive administrations; military and civilian combined.

The appointment of the immediate past governor of Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola, has been commended by industry players not because of his expertise but because of his willingness to learn and determination to make a difference.

The minister has expressed his readiness to bring in expertise to tap into the sector, earn the nation revenue and invest in the sector value chain for sustainable impact and job creation. Perhaps, the nation’s quest to attain United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal number 14 (Life under Water) is on its way to fruition with the creation of the Marine and Blue Economy

Speaking with our correspondent, Gombe-based agriculturalist, Sanusi Yunusa, tasked Oyetola to make the sector the next goldmine after oil and gas.

“I was particularly happy with the creation of this Ministry. Although I don’t know the minister’s brief, I do hope he is allowed to make decisions concerning fishery. There is no reason for this country to be spending huge amount of foreign exchange to import fish and fish products. We have the waters. The Lake Chad that is drying up should be quickly looked into as well. We have a lot of money-spinning opportunities in this country, but investment is lacking,” he said.

Mr Yunusa further called on the Federal Government to give the new minister the freedom to implement his ideas to avail the country the mileage embedded in the sector.


Except for the education and health sectors, works is one area President Bola Tinubu can carve a niche for his administration in the next four years. Some of the nation’s highways had in the past few decades turned to death traps, following successive administration’s failure to either rehabilitate them or construct new ones.

Despite claims by the immediate past administration that it constructed 600 roads spread across the country, Nigerians, majority of whom travel by road, would be glad to see the new Minister of Works, Dave Umahi hit the ground running. Good a thing, the immediate past governor of Ebonyi State has promised to bring his engineering ingenuity to bear starting with the lightening up of the Lagos/Ibadan expressway.

Although politicians’ words are often taken with a pinch of salt, there is a sufficient premise to hope in the new era given Umahi’s impressive achievement in infrastructural development in Ebonyi State, particularly in roads and flyovers’ construction. In what appears a deviation from the past, Umahi’s reign may involve local contractors with the Federal Government now mooting the possibility of embracing public private partnership once again.

Perhaps, the minister’s resolve to deploy technology will not only culminate into quality jobs but may spell doom for contractors whose stock in trade is poor service delivery.

Speaking recently in Abuja, Umahi said, “I will challenge my fellow engineers on the issue of concrete technology. Even in the midst of forex challenge and petroleum crisis, the nation is endowed with natural resources; so, we should be prepared for the renewed hope of the present government anchored on change.

“I am not an office person; I am a field person, which means we are going to make changes. We are starting inspection tours to inspect ongoing projects and to know the ones to come up with.”

Should the PPP arrangement come on board, direct and indirect jobs would be created to absorb a good number of Nigerians who would be too glad to deploy their creative energies to earn a living.


Power Minister, Adebayo Adelabu’s assuring words of stable and affordable power supply is music to the ears of Nigerians who have been treated to epileptic power supply for decades. Adelabu said the Federal Government would go the whole distance to take advantage of the Nigerian Electricity Act, 2023, which provides for a comprehensive legal and institutional framework for the operation of a fully privatised, cost and service-reflective tariff, to boost power supply across the country.