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Tinubu Needs Strong Executives Not Cronies, Minions To Implement Oronsaye Report – Obaze 

2 months ago
2 mins read

Veteran diplomat and public policy expert, Mr Oseloka Obaze, has emphasised that implementing the Stephen Oronsaye panel report on the restructuring and rationalisation of Federal agencies, parastatals and commissions in Nigeria goes beyond mere political rhetorics about the government’s quest to cut cost of governance.

Obaze, said it requires the appointment of “strong executives not cronies and minions.”

Obaze stated this in his Policy Brief No. 24-3, titled “Implementing Oronsaye Report – No Walk in the park,” issued in reaction to the decision of the President Bola Tinubu administration to implement the Oronsaye report submitted to the Federal Government 12 years ago for civil service reforms.

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The report had recommended scrapping, merging and relocation of some ministries, departments and agencies to prune over bloated bureaucracy and cut the cost of governance.

Special Adviser to the President on Policy Coordination, Hadiza Bala Usman, made this known at the end of the second Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting of the year held in Abuja on Monday.

With Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari administration having failed to implement the report Tinubu administration’s pledge to do so, will if successfully done, earn it earn is impressive political score.

Obaze, a former United Nations official, and former member of the Nigerian Diplomatic Service, said Tinubu administration’s decision to implement the Oronsaye report seems to be “a convenient policy afterthought,” because it can’t effectively implement such a reform while having “an over bloated bureaucracy” in the country.

He maintained that if the decision to implement the Oronsaye Report by the current administration “is a political ploy, without the requisite think through, it will fail woefully.”

He added that implementing the reform report “will not be a walk in the park.”

Commenting on the existential problems in Nigeria’s governance system which any administration that wants to implement the Oronsaye reform report will have to contend with, Obaze said: “Inevitably, the present and future federal administrations in Nigeria will need to grapple with the nation’s over bloated federal bureaucracy as a means of cutting cost of governance. It will require uncanny courage. As with fighting corruption, vested interests will fight back.”

He stressed that implementing the reform report is not just about “downsizing and making over bloated federal government much more nimble and effective,” but called for both fiscal and administrative discipline.

He noted that implementing the reform comes with pains but will certainly yield significant positive results in the long-term,

“The challenge in implementing the report explains why two previous administrations – Jonathan and Buhari – dodged implementing it. In fact, both President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and President Muhammadu Buhari had on record, respectively directed that the report should be implemented. Expectedly, vested political and bureaucratic interests within both administrations scuttled the presidential directive. Some felt it was not exigent to implement the report. That may yet again be the case.”

Continuing, he said: “Two things are not easily discernible in the report: the scope of political will needed to bring the reform to fruition, and the spillover effect on the other two tiers of government (state and local council). Federal Ministries and agencies naturally have State counterparts as interlocutors.

“How to decouple and disentangle these corresponding arrangements, might inevitably stall the reform. It will be delusional to think that the latter is not important,” he warned.

On how statutory agencies are currently, the former secretary to the Anambra State government, underscored the need for the reform to strengthen their efficacy and independence, adding that it has come to a time when they “can no longer be run or coveted as fiefdoms by greedy and ambitious ministers, the COS or SGF.

“Constitutional dictates protecting Statutory agencies and appointees must be adhered to. Strong Executives not cronies and minions will need to be appointed,” Obaze stated.

“It is uncertain, if the present Administration has the wherewithal to pull this reform off. For now, the desire to implement the Oronsaye Report seems divine, with an escathological promise: yet all it amounts to is a policy directive and option flying on a wing and lots of prayers,” he added.

 

Victor Ezeja is a passionate journalist with six years of experience writing on economy, politics and energy. He holds a Masters degree in Mass Communication.

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