FEC: Why Tinubu  May Sack Alkali, Tnji-Ojo And  Other ‘’Non-Performing Ministers

By Suleiman Umaru and lateef Adegbite

When Hajia Hadiza Bala Usman, a former Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, and now special Adviser to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who incidentally was a former Lagos sate governor, on Policy Coordination hinted last February that non-performing ministers would be relieved of their appointments, nobody took her seriously.

Hajia Hadiza Usman: Tinubu’s special Adviser on Policy Coordination

This is because the statement was made by a political appointee and not the President that could have made it to carry weight. Unknown to Nigerians, the former NPA, Chief Executive Officer, CEO, knew what she was talking because she has the ears of the President who takes her evaluation reports on the ministers serious.  

The Nigerian President had charged the ministers, advisers and other government officials, in November, 2023,   ‘’to help him in the realization of his electioneering Campaign promises to Nigerians. The former Lagos state governor was said to have asked those in the Cabinet   who could not work assiduously towards the achievement of the mandate of their respective ministries to leave the government or wait be sacked.

He was said to have also advised the ministers, particular, to come up with old initiatives as he has established Results Delivery Units to assess their performance in office. At the end of the ministers, special Advisers and top government officials retreat, he was said have mad them to sign a Bond of Understanding with him.

The President was said to have told the ministers and the other political Aides including Permanent Secretaries who are performing in their respective ministries that there is nothing to worry about, noting that those who should fear are those who could ‘’not deliver on their mandate’’.

He was said to have made it clear to the ministers and the other appointed Political Aides that he has hired Hajia Usman, the former NPA, CEO, to Head the Administration’s Delivery Unit, in order to watch over their activities and make recommendations to the government for  necessary action. He was said to have asked those who have complaints against her ‘’to see him’’ urging those who are ready to work with her to stay and do their work.

Barely six months after the ministerial retreat where Tinubu had sounded it loud and clear that he will respect he recommendations of Hajia Usman, special Adviser on Policy Coordination, trouble looms in the Federal Executive Council, FEC, as  Tinubu, who has been under intense pressure to sack the non-performing ministers  appears to have given his words to do so.

There are indications that the Nigerian President who was said to have commenced a three- step approach for assessing the ministers and Heads of Ministries, Departments, that was  initiated by the Head of Policy Coordination, Hajia Usman, is set to drop the  underperforming ministers and political Aides.

As a prelude to sacking the non- performing ministers and Aides,  Tinubu, described aa  a  listening Nigerian President was said to have given the nod to Hajia Usman led Delivery Unit  to provide a platform  that will  allow Nigerians  to make inputs  about the ministers and political Aides that should be retained  and those that should go , ahead of the Administration’ one  year anniversary on May 29, 2024.

An informed source had told The Value News online Magazine that the Nigerian President ought to haveLaunched the Delivery Unit, Platform   on Tuesday, March 19, 2024 but it was said to have been shifted by a week to enable Hajia Usman and his Team   to complete the Platform development process to ensure that the right thing was done.

Given an insider information on he three- step approach that will be adopted to drop a non performing minister that had been initiated by the Policy Coordination Unit, the former NPA, CEO, whose appointment was not renewed for a second term by Buhari in 2022, had said that ‘’the first step will be the public’s assessment while the second step will be carried out by the Policy Coordination office’’.  She noted that the third and final phase of the exercise will be carried out by a group of Consultants that will be engaged by the Unit who will carry out their own assessments of the ministers’ performance over the last six months.

The Presidential Adviser on Policy Coordination, who could not hider her feelings had made it clear to those that cares to listen that ministers and Aides that would be sacked are those with records of poor performance.

Senator Alkali: minister of Transportation likely to be dropped by Tinubu over perceived poor performance in office

One of such ministers who should be getting ready to pack his bag and baggages to go is Senator Saidu Alkali, minister of Transportation.  The case of the minister who is in the bad book of Nigerians may have been made worse when he announced on Friday, March 19, 2024, the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, with Messrs MPH Rail Development Limited, a United Kingdom, UK, based Company. The Company was said to  have been established on September 26, 2019,  and contractd to execute   the PortHarcourt –Enugu-Calabar  -Abuja Standard Gauge  Rail project , following  a public  – private partnership framework.

Going by he terms of the MOU,  the UK based Rail Company , which had never been known to have  executed any major  rail project anywhere in the world  is expected to oversee  the PorHarcourt-Enugu-Calabar –Abuja   standard  gauge rail design , construction,  commissioning , operation  and final transfer  to the Nigerian government.

 Officials of the ministry, who are determined to protect the interest of the minister of Transportation, had said that the Infrastructure, Concession and Regulatory omission,   which may be merged with the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, going by the implementation of the Orosanye’s report, had said that the ministry could not have signed an MoU, with the UK based Rail company without the agency issuing the needed Compliance Certificate and the Outline Business Clearance to the Company.

In spite of the fact that the ministry  have already signed an MoU, with Messrs MPH , which many believe  is still  at its preliminary stage,   an insider told The Value News  that the company which still has much job at hand to do  before it could mobilise on site for the actual construction work to begin is expected  to submit within the next  90 days  of the signing of the MoU  the Environmental and Social Impact  Assessment Report, Financial Model  and programme of Action  , Full Business Case Study Report and Comprehensive Feasibility Study Report to the ministry.  

Many believe that submission of these documents and the outcome of their evaluation by the relevant Authorities will determine the desirability of MoU, which the minister had said was not binding on Nigeria. 

The question on the lips of many was that if the MoU, which had been signed  with a UK based   company which has only six Directors and no history of construction any  railway project since it came into existence in 2019, why did the Federal  ministry  of  Transportation  settle  for the company to handle such a multi-billion North American country of the United States , US , dollars  project in Nigeria, if not to turn it to another  abandoned project.   

A statement by  one Olujimi  Oyetomi,  Director of Press  and Public Relations  in the  ministry   shows  that’’ the MoU, is a prelude  to the final award  of the contract  that may run into billions  of US dollars  by the FEC, Constitutionally  Chaired by the Lagos state born Nigerian President. 

Oyetomi, the Media Aide to the minister had said that the signing of the MoU, with the UK based company will enable it to concentrate on preparing the relevant documents to support the quest for approval   of the FEC, for the project.   

Unconfirmed reports shows that one Jackson Andrew, a Briton, had registered the Company in 2019 as Mordecai JB Ltd, with him as the only Director. It was learnt that on November12, 2020, Smith David Neil, was appointed as a Director of the company, with significant control of its operations. The company’s name was said to have been changed to MPH Rail Development Ltd, on February 16, 2021. Note that the net assets of the company is 100 British pounds sterling.

The reports making the rounds was that with evidence of dormancy and compulsory strike off notice by the UK Government, for being ineffective in the space of five years the company was said to have employed    one Kuforiji, who was said to have   resigned, Osinowo Rotimi and two other Nigerian Directors within a space of six months in 2023, in an approach that shows its entry into Nigeria to do business. Guest what, the Eastern Railway contract was a scam, from the beginning to the end, going by the remarks of Andrew, the founder of the Company that they have been working on the South Eastern Nigerian rail system over the last three years.

The China Civil Engineering Construction Company, CECCC,  which had handled  a $6.8 billion  work on a major segment  of a railway  inking Lagos, the nation’s Financial and Commercial nerve center  and the ancient town of Kano  in the north and Maradi, in Niger Republic, was said to have signed a $3.02 billion   Rail contract  with the ministry  for the development of the Eastern Railway corridor in 2021 during the Buhari’s Administration  but that was how far it could go.

 Recall that in 2022, the Chinese firm, which had a rack record in railway construction across the globe  had won the Abuja- Kaduna  $1.79 Billion  contract for construction of the  second phase  of the Abuja  Mass Transit Railway, which was said to have been financed   by the Export-Import  Bank of China.

 Senator Alkali, the minister of Transportation, described as one of the most dormant ministers in the Tinubu’s Administration  may have gotten wrong to have signed an MoU , with Messr  MPH for the development of the Eastern rail lie which contract had already been awarded to CECC, under the Buhari’s Government     and  which  was enough  reason for him to have resigned before he stayed put waiting to  being kicked out by the President which may happen  any time soon..

Tunji-Ojo: another non-performing minister under the Tinubu’s Administration who may be sacked

Another dormant minister in the Tinubu’s Administration who should be putting all his documents together in readiness to go over under alleged non- performance the last seven months in office was Olubunmi  Tunji-Ojo , minister of Interior.  

The minister had promised  to effectively deal with all issues  around internal security  but that was nowhere  being achieved by him as the internal  security situation of the country  is getting worse  by the day due to  rising Banditry, Terrorism ad Kidnapping  activities.

  More worrisome was the inability of the Ondo state born minister of Interior    to effectively secure the nation’s porous borders which had led to increased drug trafficking, human trafficking, smuggling of Contrabands, arms and ammunitions into the country.

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He was said to have been involved in the Betta Edu, the suspended minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, saga , that the Opposition People’s Democratic Party , PDP, had called for investigation over his link with New Planet  Project,   which was said to have won  a N438 million  consultancy  contract  from the ministry.

Many believe that the minister of Interior ought to have  resigned  his appointment  but he refused to go, given room to s to call for his sack  by Tinubu. There  are indications, that besides these two non-performing ministers, there are several  other dormant ministers that the President  may have  sack  in order fresh hands into the FEC,  ahead of the 2027, general elections.

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