Reforming Agency Leadership And Matters Arising.

Mohammed Bello Doka
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has demonstrated his strong determination to make tough decisions in order to move the nation forward. Some of these decisions include the removal of fuel subsidies and the unification of exchange rates. However, one decision that has received less attention is the dissolution of governing boards of government agencies, which happened three weeks into his administration.

The president's directive states that the CEOs of these agencies should refer matters to the president through the Permanent Secretaries of their respective supervisory ministries. In our opinion, governing boards have limited power to execute the president's mandates. The real driving force behind any government is the heads of agencies, who can either make or break the government's efforts, especially if they do not align with the president's vision.

This presents a challenge for President Tinubu. What should be done with agency heads who have not met expectations or are not competent? Another issue is the practice of letting them serve out their terms, even if they have proven to be ineffective. The law requires these political appointees to be approved by the Senate, making it difficult to remove them from office.

While the law protects these institutions from political interference, it is widely accepted that every appointed official in the executive arm of government serves at the pleasure of the president. There have been precedents for removing agency heads, both locally and internationally. For example, Acting President Goodluck Jonathan sacked Prof Maurice Iwu as INEC chairman in 2010, even though he had only a month left in office. President Joseph Biden also recently removed an agency head appointed by Donald Trump.

So far, President Tinubu has only "technically sacked" the Governor of the Central Bank and the Chairman of the EFCC. However, we suggest that the President starts with a clean slate by reviewing the appointments of agency heads and assessing the performance of those who still have more than one year left in their terms. Time is ticking, and the president needs to address the demands of the populace who want to see progress.

It is understandable that political considerations may constrain the president's decisions. Nevertheless, it is crucial that he acts in the best interest of the nation. The people expect action, and it is important for him to deliver.   

Editor AI Genie

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