Ministers-designate and senior government officials in Nigeria are training as if they are going to the Olympics. It’s been three months since President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn into office on May 29 for his second and last term, and almost five months since he was declared winner of the presidential election by the electoral body. But the people he appointed as ministers and senior government officials are still training. They are holding retreats and other types of training to prepare them for the job.
On Monday, President Buhari who has been nicknamed “baba-go-slow” because of his slow pace at governing Africa’s most populous country presided over the opening day of a Presidential Retreat for Ministers-designate and senior Government officials.
That retreat followed the screening and confirmation of the Ministers-designate by the National Assembly, and held ahead of their swearing-in, at last, by the President on Wednesday, August 21, 2019, at the State House in Abuja.
“In the first technical presentation of the Retreat, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo delivered an overview of the work of the Policies, Programs and Projects Audit Committee (PPPAC), established by President Buhari in March 2019 and chaired by the Vice President, with a mandate to review the performance in the first term and outline a Roadmap for the new Administration,” the presidency in Nigeria said in a statement to TODAY NEWS AFRICA USA.
That ‘technical presentation’ was followed by more presentations on National Security, Economic Development and Anti-Corruption Agenda. Participants then engaged in eleven Breakout sessions to deliberate on issues across the priority policy areas of the Administration.
“These sessions covered Security; Macroeconomic Stability; Agriculture and Food Security; Energy Security in petroleum products and electricity; Transportation and Critical Infrastructure; Industrialization and SME Development; Human Capital Development; Social Inclusion; Anti-Corruption; and Housing Financing and Consumer Credit,” the statement by the president’s spokesman Femi Adesina added.
Declaring the Retreat open, President Buhari charged the incoming Ministers to ensure that all hands were on deck to realise the Administration’s vision of laying the grounds for the lifting of 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in ten years.
The President also asked them to take seriously their responsibility to develop and implement policies, programmes and projects, and harped on the importance of working as a team and communicating amongst themselves and with the Nigerian people.
The two-day Presidential Retreat ends on Tuesday, but many already see it as a waste of time since most of the ministers-designate have been ministers in the past four years or in the corridors of power for many decades like 76-year old President Buhari himself.