Lagos – Some Catholic bishops have advised the ministers recently inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari to make service to Nigerians their watchword rather than lining their personal pockets.
The bishops who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) are Emmanuel Badejo (Oyo), Stephen Mamza (Yola) Felix Ajakaye (Ekiti) and John Niyiring (Kano).
They urged the ministers to accept the country as their primary constituencies and render selfless service to the citizens.
NAN reports that Buhari inaugurated the 36-cabinet members on Nov. 11, close to six months after his inauguration on May 28.
Badejo commended President Muhammadu Buhari on the choice of his ministers after many months and for giving them portfolios.
“I say that we all have to give government and the ministers the benefit of doubt that they mean well and seek to cooperate with them.
“We all at least agree that our country needs help. Well, not one of the ministers is perfect and not one of them is a dunce,’’ he said.
“We may have doubts about the experience and exposure of one or two of the ministers.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”70560″]
“But then, in modern politics, performance is about collation of the resources of core experts who must furnish the blueprint and strategies for success,’’ he said.
The bishop advised Nigerians to be patient with the ministers and support the government.
He said that just as individuals had rights to their personal opinions, they might not have all the fact that government had in
taking the decisions.
“And these are the people we have saddled with the tasks of turning things around for better.’’
The cleric also enjoined the ministers to imbibe a new culture to be true servants of progress with honesty and humility, saying this is what essentially “minister’’ translates into.
Bishop Stephen Mamza of Yola said the ministers should know that they were appointed to serve Nigerians and not their political parties, individual states or personal interests.
“They must, therefore, be seen to be above board in policy conceptualisation and implementation for the development of Nigeria as a country.
“They must remember that the era of politicking had gone, stop bordering about who voted for them or their political party or those
who did not during the elections.
“The ministers should get settled to serious business of governance,’’ he said.
The bishop also said that the ministers’ performance index over time would show in reality whether the Buhari-led administration would bring the change mantra Nigerians yearned for.
“For now, let us wait and see how the ministers would kick start their assignments,’’ he said.
Mamza also canvassed the probe of those who had held public offices from all the political parties in the past but were alleged to have
corruptly enriched themselves in the process.
“The Federal Government should not embark on selective probing of public officers that were found wanting at their duty posts in the
“It must cover everybody that is found to be culpable,’’ he said.
Also, Bishop Felix Ajakaye of Ekiti, said the ministers must hit the ground running and complement what President Muhammadu Buhari
had started on May 29 after his inauguration.
“The Federal Executive Council (FEC) is a key player in any administration and so, those appointed to serve should have done their home works in the last five months to know the needs of Nigerians.
“The new FEC should have, by now, understood that Nigerians are after practical change which includes provision of good road networks, functional healthcare facilities, security, job opportunities and qualitative education.
“They should settle down and tackle these and many other areas of needs of Nigeria,’’ the prelate said.
He charged the ministers not to resort to lamentations but work for the common goods of the citizens.
Ajakaye also charged Nigerians to cooperate with the ministers by praying for them to succeed and offering them useful advice on areas
they think needed improvement.
Similarly, Bishop John Niyiring of Kano commended Buhari for the cabinet team he selected as his ministers.
“Many of them are tested hands and have a vast wealth of experience they are bringing into this administration.
“I am excited by the choice of Mr Babtude Raji Fashola, the immediate past governor of Lagos State as the Minister of Works,
Housing and Power.
“He brought change to Lagos during his tenure and he should be able to replicate such at the national level. Our power generation needs to be improved upon.
“I am also happy with the choice of Mrs Amina Mohammed and Mrs Aisha Alhassan as the Ministers of Environment and Women Affairs
respectively,’’ he said.
“Mohammed had served meritoriously as the Special Adviser to the United Nations’ Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon, on post 2015 development planning.
“Before then, she was the Coordinator of the Millennium Development Gals (MDGs) during former President Olusegun Obasanjo-led administration.’’
Niyiring urged the ministers to serve creditably and deliver on the mandate of the president.
He advised them to guard against being tainted by corrupt elements but they should team up with Buhari to fight corruption.
“They all know that their principal, Buhari, is a no nonsense person.
“I hope to see the ministers as purveyors of the desired change Nigerians have been yearning for so that both their names and the administration will be etched in gold,’’ Niyiring said. (NAN)