Ministers as noise makers
Even as the Senate began screening President Buhari’s ministerial nominees in its Committee of the Whole yesterday, I could not help but remember the president’s unfavourable description of ministers as “noise makers” compared to civil servants, who he said do all the work.
Looking at the men and women as they filed in one by one into the Senate chamber to be screened, I could not but wonder who among them will end up as the biggest noise maker. We do not as yet know which ones among them will make it through the screening and, afterwards, who will get what portfolio. Some of these nominees look like they are natural noise makers, especially one of them who has been talking almost non-stop for the last several years. There is no day you will open a newspaper in Nigeria or tune in to a television set and you will not hear one thing or another that he said. People are already saying that he will be assigned to head the Ministry of Information. If that happens, then Labaran Maku’s record as a noisy field cricket will be duly eclipsed.
Apart from the ones among them who are natural noise makers, some ministers may resort to noise making due to the nature of the ministries to which they will be assigned. Especially those ministries whose performance is perennially behind public expectations and they must make up the difference with noise making, such as Power, Police Affairs, Petroleum, Trade and Investment, and Agriculture.
If after spending billions of naira your ministry has little to show for it, what else can you do apart from noise making and hoping that your inefficiency will be covered by the noise? So, honourable ministers, you might just be able to talk your way to confirmation at the Senate but if you think you will be able to warm your way into the president’s good books through noise making at the Federal Executive Council meetings, you have got another thing coming. This president already knows that a minister is a natural noise maker. You must do more than make noise to survive the first Change cabinet reshuffle a year from now.