In a significant move towards accountability in governance, the Nigerian government has mobilised 140 officials to monitor and evaluate the performance of federal ministries, departments, and agencies. This initiative will commence with the first assessment exercise at the end of this month. These officials, drawn from 35 federal government entities, will assess key performance indicators and reporting mechanisms.
The announcement came during the third technical retreat for delivery desk officers of federal ministries in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. Hadiza Bala-Usman, the Special Adviser to the President on Policy Coordination, who heads the Central Delivery Coordination Unit, emphasised the seriousness of President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to improving life for Nigerians. She warned that ministers failing to meet their objectives could face dismissal.
Bala-Usman outlined specific assessment criteria, such as customer experience at airports under the Ministry of Aviation and using fertiliser in agriculture. Starting in January 2024, the quarterly assessments will culminate in an annual scorecard, reviewed during periodic retreats.
The process follows a three-day cabinet retreat held in November 2023, where ministers and permanent secretaries signed performance bonds detailing their deliverables for the 2024 budget cycle. These bonds will serve as the basis for tracking ministerial performance.
However, this initiative has drawn mixed reactions. Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Mike Ozekhome, questioned the government’s priorities amidst the nation’s challenges, while Chief Yomi Alliyu (SAN) expressed scepticism about the subjective nature of such assessments. Ebun Adegboruwa (SAN) argued that President Tinubu needs assessment, not the ministers.
Civil Society Organisations have called for decisive action against underperforming or corrupt ministers, with the Chairman of Civil Society Organisations in Rivers State, Enafaa Georgewill, advocating for accountability and discipline in governance.
The Nigerian government’s decision to assess the performance of ministers is a commendable step towards transparency and accountability in governance. This move, involving 140 officials to evaluate the work of federal ministries, departments, and agencies, signals a new era of performance-based governance.
We believe such assessments are crucial for ensuring that public officials are held accountable for their actions and promises. These evaluations must be conducted fairly and objectively, focusing on tangible results and the impact on the lives of ordinary Nigerians.
However, it is also essential to recognise the challenges inherent in this process. The criteria for assessment must be clear, measurable, and aligned with the nation’s broader goals. Moreover, the process should not be reduced to a mere bureaucratic exercise but should genuinely reflect the effectiveness of each ministry in serving the public interest.
This initiative also raises broader questions about the role of leadership in governance. It is not enough to assess ministers; a culture of accountability permeates all levels of government. As the nation’s leader, the President must also be open to scrutiny and evaluation.
Let’s embrace this opportunity to foster a more accountable and transparent government as we move forward. Let’s ensure that this assessment process becomes a tool for positive change, driving improvements in public service and ultimately enhancing the quality of life for all Nigerians.
Did You Know?
- Nigeria has 36 states and 1 Federal Capital Territory, each with its government structure.
- The Nigerian Constitution was enacted in 1999, marking the country’s return to democratic rule.
- Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy, surpassing South Africa’s GDP in 2014.
- The country is one of Africa’s largest producers of oil, with the petroleum industry accounting for a significant portion of the government’s revenue.
- Nigeria is a diverse nation with over 250 ethnic groups and over 500 languages spoken.