How Ex-NPA Boss Emerged Most Powerful Figure In Tinubu’s Cabinet. Ministers In Rat Race To Impress, Earn Her Good Graces

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How Ex-NPA Boss Emerged Most Powerful Figure In Tinubu’s Cabinet. Ministers In Rat Race To Impress, Earn Her Good Graces

How Ex-NPA Boss Emerged Most Powerful Figure In Tinubu’s Cabinet. Ministers In Rat Race To Impress, Earn Her Good Graces
November 12
20:28 2023

● Her Unforeseen Trajectory In A Male-Dominated Power Bloc

Power is like drifting clouds, transient and ephemeral. Until Hadiza Bala Usman emerged as the most powerful member of President Bola Tinubu’s cabinet, cowards in garlands and starched garments passed as figures of valour and high honour.

The ministers, ensconced in their plum positions as heads of ministries and parastatals imagined themselves superior to every Special Adviser in President Tinubu’s cabinet.

But at Bala Usman’s elevation to a position of higher authority by Mr President, all of the ministers started experiencing the jitters. Immediately Tinubu pronounced Bala Usman, who is his Special Adviser on Policy Coordination as head of his administration’s Result and Delivery Unit (RDU), the ministers got the message loud and clear: a new Sheriff is in town.

As head of the RDU, Bala Usman will oversee the machinery through which key performance indicators of all ministerial appointees will be monitored.

Soon after President Tinubu stated that the ministers would sign a bond of understanding to track those performing to expectation or not, Hadiza corroborated him, affirming that each minister would indeed sign the bond.

Speaking during an interview with TVC News on recently, Bala Usman said the bond will contain key performance indicators (KPIs) that would be reviewed quarterly.

She added that the bond will also come with a consequence management framework for appointees who fall short. In a nutshell, those ministers who fail to meet performance expectations will be recommended for immediate sack by Hadiza.

She said, “The role of my office is to ensure that there is coordination across ministries, departments and agencies. We have effectively commenced our work. We have also looked to see that while there are policy deployments across MDAs, there is also an understanding of the respective deliverables expected of the MDAs of government.

“We are looking to commence an assessment of the respective ministers in January 2024. We are going to have quarterly assessments of performance which will culminate in an annual scorecard. In the end, this would culminate in the performance bond that will be signed by each ministry.

“Every minister and the permanent secretary would sign a performance bond with the president which would detail what they are expected to do within the one-year 2024 budget cycle. And that performance bond is what we are going to use to track the performance of that minister,” she said.

There is no gainsaying all of Tinubu’s ministers are jittery over the new development. But they have themselves to blame. Their travails began immediately after they returned from the recently concluded United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) where they put up a poor showing.

Due to their dismal outing at the event, among other failings, President Tinubu read the riot act to the ministers.

The poor performance of some ministers at the recently concluded UNGA, among other issues, exposed them to possible sack or redeployment. And Bala Usman has been vested with the authority to recommend their sack or retainment.

This is particularly painful to some of the ministers who are very close to President Tinubu. These were the men who had been with him through the whole haul of his political career and it is an open secret that they were awarded their ministerial roles as a form of reward for their loyalty to Tinubu.

But with the widespread hardships triggered across the country, across sectors under the purview of their appointments, President Tinubu is demanding their maximum commitment to his bid to salvage the country and win the masses’ hearts.

Among other things, Tinubu, like his predecessors is desperate to win a second term in office and he knows that if he fails to fulfil the promises he made to the electorate, it would be extremely difficult for him to retain his seat.

Aside from these, Bala Usman’s ascent in his cabinet also buttresses the notion that power is indeed transient. It would be recalled that Special Adviser to the President on Policy Coordination was previously head of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) but she was sacked following a lingering impasse with then Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, who was her superior.

Efforts by concerned parties in former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to intervene and save Bala Usman’s job were firmly rebuffed by Amaechi who plotted her removal in ugly circumstances.

Fast forward to 2023, Bala Usman is an influential figure in President Tinubu’s cabinet and Amaechi is nowhere to be found in the incumbent power equation.

Bala Usman’s rising influence is even more annoying and frustrating to cronies and colleagues of her former boss Amaechi, who are currently ministers in Tinubu’s cabinet.

It’s an interesting twist of fate that the young woman whom they previously deemed inferior in Nigeria’s politics and power equation has become their boss.

More frustrating is the fact that their individual and collective fates as ministers rest on Bala Usman’s assessment of their performance and perception of the quality of respect and loyalty they exhibit towards her.

To save their jobs, many of them are already plotting to win Bala Usman’s heart; this has seen some of the ministers become unnecessarily obsequious as they toady up to her.

Many of the ministers are particularly desperate because they hardly secured their jobs by merit; a greater percentage of them secured their positions as a form of political patronage or reward.

No sooner did Tinubu become President than they began to call in the perceived favours that they obliged him while he contested for his office.

Notwithstanding, recent developments have shown that Tinubu is to sacrifice anyone who fails to measure up to the demands of his or her position rather than letting such individuals ruin his chances of winning a second term through their woeful performance.

While some of the affected ministers, especially those close to Tinubu, have been running around and making frantic calls to highly placed political figures who have the ears of the President to help them plead with him to go easy on them, some others are seeking help from previously unexploited circuits and unanticipated power blocs to help them plead with the new sheriff in President Tinubu’s kitchen cabinet, Bala Usman, to help them save their jobs.


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1 Comment

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    finitary November 12, 22:31

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