The first thing that came to my mind after looking at the Mr. Jonathan's Economic team is that it is too fat and therefore would be unable to run It is unwieldy. It is full of duplications.

Here are the more notable examples:

  • Minister of health and minister of state in the ministry of health. Are they supposed to have different ideas? Whose idea should be supreme? Why two?
  • From finance we have the finance minister, a minister of state in finance, Budget Director, honorary advisor on finance. Debt management Director, Director of Public Procurement. Why five?
  • From Agriculture we have the minister and an honorary adviser on agriculture. Why can one not do?

Without sweat one could reduce the number from 24 to 18 by eliminating these duplications. Then there are some questionable inclusions such as minister of education, minister of works, minister of health, and minister of petroleum resources. What values would these bring to the economic team? They seem superfluous. With the elimination of these ladies and gentlemen we will be down to 15. No sweat yet.

We now come to the more controversial areas. The Special Adviser on Monitoring and Evaluation cannot belong there. He should be outside the group and monitor the work as an independent evaluator. The director of Regulatory Commission should work outside team as an independent consultant. I question the presence of the Power Minister in the team. He should be too busy trying how to improve power supply to be effective in the team. His responsibility is to provide power no matter the direction of the economy. If you remove these three members you get to 12.

We are not quite there yet but getting closer and we are not sweating.

The most useless members of the team are the president, and the vice president. Both of them are or should be ex-officio; they can attend the meetings when they want to but as chairman and vice chairman one of them must be in attendance at all times. It is uncalled for. The economic team should prepare a report and submit it to the president for consideration, approval, and implementation. If he is part of the planning who will get the final report? Without these two, we now have a manageable number of 10 members.

The team would be nimble on its feet and will work on the economic development agenda.

By the way, the economic team is just one of President Jonathan's permanent teams (as distinct from ad hoc teams). He has not yet announced his security team that we hope would not be as unwieldy as the nominated economic team. His security team I speculate would include the following the ministers of defense, foreign affairs, interior, the services chiefs, security adviser and other related officers. As I proposed in the economic team, I hope the president and his Vice would be ex officio, here too, as they would be for the health team, and at the social services team; his other permanent teams and that those teams would be formed and announced with the same fan fare as the economic team was announced.

While economic development should be President Jonathan's primary focus, he still has to discharge his multi faced responsibilities. His subjects will still have to eat, be healthy, and still crave for good education that would make the achievements of each of the teams sustainable.

Mr. Jonathan's primary role is to set the goals, measurable goals, for each team. For the economic team the goal could be economic growth rate of x% per year, creation of y number of jobs in the first year, c in the second year and xy for the 3rd year. For the security team, it could consist of holding MENDS and Boko Harem in check as measured by decrease in bombs diffused; arrests, and convictions of bomb throwers, and kidnappers; arrests and conviction of economic criminals; dismantling of police theft points also known as check points; and significant increase of economic citizen's confidence; etc. For the health team he can measure their performance on the decrease of wealthy Nigerians going abroad for treatment; improvement of infant mortality rate; elimination of polio; increased number of high quality, total service hospitals; etc. In education the goal would be as easy as high quality of published materials from FG universities, fewer university strikes and increase in the number of university students who complete a four year program in four years; patents recorded and products developed from university research; and the number of exams completed without leaks.

Goal setting is not of course enough without monitoring and awarding Atta boys as rewards and shames and punishments for non performance. These will not be an annual affair. They ought to be seen as going on at all times and in all places from arresting police officers taking bribes and seeing them on their way out of the force and on their way into Alagbon Close; it will be seen as East-West Niger Bridge is declared open; It will seen as power generating capacity gets to 10 kilowatts; in the listing of a Nigerian University in the top 100 university in Africa; it will be seen when a high level thief is arrested and taken to prison and his loot dislodged and deposited into the government accounts. And then to the legislators where their income is brought down to at least the same level as that of American legislators.

The harvest is great but the laborers are few.

Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba


August 20, 2011