Partners for Electoral Reform (PER), a civil society organisation, on Wednesday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to give achievement targets to ministers he would appoint in his new term. The Chairman of PEF, Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, told News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja that adopting that strategy would make the ministers to be on track in achieving development for the nation.
Nwagwu said that conversations on what Buhari should prioritise were around economy, anti-corruption and security, but that these were vague compared to real issues on ground. “We need to be able to see that in six months, the 300-kilometre Abuja-Kaduna road will be safe and if it is not safe, he should hold somebody accountable; that is for defence, for instance.
“We should be able to say for health, how many teaching hospitals will be revitalised within a one year and if that does not happen, we have to hold somebody accountable. “This service delivery scorecard is a way of ensuring that there is value for money and that people who are in government do not just feel that they are accountable to the person that appointed them. “This should also mean that they can also be held accountable on the basis of what the citizens know that they are supposed to achieve within a timeframe,” he said.
Nwagwu said that the idea of sending ministerial list without the task that the nominee would perform and when to perform the task is something that should be stopped, going forward. “Yes, the president appoints you, but you are called the minister of the federal republic, meaning that you are ministering to the needs of the citizens of the country.’’ he said.
He said that henceforth, citizens should be able to see how many universities were built, funding pattern of tertiary education and the issue of free and compulsory education. According to Nwagwu, citizens will want to know the number of enrolments in tertiary institutions, that if there are 10,000 or 10 million out-of-school persons, they will want to know what could be done. He urged Buhari to endure strict improvement on infrastructure, saying “the rail lines being built are good but we want to also know the cost.
“This is because if you are hearing that it cost these much to do the same rail line in Ghana and in our own country its different, it is because there are no accountability mechanisms where people can also verify issues.’’ He, therefore, called on the president to ensure that there were more transparency, more openness in governance, and more ability of citizens to hold government accountable.
Nwagwu explained such situation was needed by citizens, saying that whether it was a dictatorship or a civil government, once the citizens were absent in the conversations that directly affect them, “it won’t be effective”. He advised citizens to always make demands on the government because the government would not think that it was responsible to them except they made demands. According to him, the value of democracy is the ability to continue to knock on doors till they are open and if it refuses to open, they should push. “You keep pushing to the point where the leaders will open by themselves and say why are you pushing and that is the democratic interactions; that is where we are, not doing much .’’ Nwagwu urged citizens that henceforth, whether it was Buhari or any other person in government, they should ensure that at sub-national and national level, their action was increased in the next four years