Transportation Minister, Chibuike Amaechi, has been ranked as one of the few performing ministers in Nigeria. His vigorous pursuit of the railway programme that was initiated by the Goodluck Jonathan administration earned him a high rating.
Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Minister, Sadiya Farouq, is however, ranked the best-performing minister in the first year of President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term administration.
Besides Amaechi, Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, came third in an interim scorecard signed by Transparency Watch’s President, Maxwell Gowon, a lawyer.
Transparency Watch claims that the ministers were graded on organisational strength, performance of agencies under their purview, impact on the lives of the people as well as transparency and accountability.
According to the scorecard, the Transportation Ministry under Amaechi’s watch came second with a score of 7/10 for its efforts at rail constructions across the country. It is followed by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development for the implementation of youth-oriented programmes across the country, especially at the grassroots level.
A project to restore Nigeria’s railways has been underway since 2009. The eastern line from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri was restored at a cost of $427 million by Lingo Nigeria, Eser West Africa, and the China Gezhouba Group.
In order to remedy the poor condition, efficiency, and profitability of the country’s railroads, the government is also seeking to privatise the Nigerian Railway Corporation. Under the privatisation plan, the railways will be split into three concessions, each to be awarded for a period of 25–30 years.
In 2019, the Cape gauge railways had only 15 functional locomotives.
In 2018 the Buhari administration awarded a contract to China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) to complete the remaining portions of the line. In July 2020, Amaechi announced that construction had commenced on the Kaduna-Kano segment of the line.
In July 2020, he also announced that construction was complete, and passenger and freight operations will begin soon on the Warri–Itakpe standard gauge line which connects the port city of Warri to Itakpe. The 320 km line began test runs in November 2018.
However, in the assessment of organisational strength, of all the ministries reviewed, Sadiya Farouq, came out tops with a score of 9/10 due to her ministry’s effective organisation of the various interventions of government through the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the National N-Power Initiative, National Home Grown School Feeding Programme, and the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme.
“It was identified that these intervention programmes are implemented nationwide. As such, the minister was able to ensure effective implementation of these interventions across the country in a most transparent fashion that is mainly responsible for its successes’’, the report says.
Adding, the report says in the assessment of agencies, those under Sadiya Farouq have been the most active in terms of the fulfillment of their mandate to the people. Consequently, they scored 8/10 in the assessment of their performances.
Other ministries were average in the performance of agencies under their purview with the bottom position going to the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity that, according to the report, ‘’has been characterised by infighting between the minister and heads of agencies in the ministry”.
On the impact of government policies on the lives of the people as well as the economy, Sadiya Farouq, was rated top again “for her efforts towards ensuring that the critical mass of youths and the vulnerable groups feel the impact of the efforts of the government towards alleviating their plights by ensuring that programmes and policies of government are given adequate attention.
‘’It was also observed that the ministry had achieved 65% implementation of her programmes. This was closely followed by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development as well as the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.”
In terms of transparency and accountability, the report says the humanitarian ministry was tied with Ministries of Finance, Communications and Digital Economy.