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ASO ROCK WATCH: Osinbajo’s job creation claims. Two other talking points

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The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, last week, harped on the job creation efforts of the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

Osinbajo’s claims to success have been severally interpreted as controversial and contestable.

This, and two other stories, were at the heart of conversations of what played out past week at the Aso Rock Villa.

Osinbajo’s job claim

Osinbajo

Osinbajo, on August 2, argued that the Buhari administration had over the years prioritised employment generation by integrating job creation in all its major policies, projects and programmes in a bid to close the unemployment gap in the country.

He spoke at the formal presentation of the Research Report of Course 29 of the National Defence College in Abuja.

The Vice President’s claim appears to be a bitter pill and many have found it difficult to swallow, hinging their position on available unemployment statistics.

Only on March 15, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) disclosed that the unemployment rate in Nigeria had risen to 33.3%, widening the yawning unemployment gap in the country. There are no supporting stats yet to suggest any improvements.

This, therefore, queries the impact of various government claims on the relationship between its policies, projects, programmes and the rising waves of unemployment and underemployment in the country.

Between claims and reality, therefore, there are undeniable facts that most of the job creation initiatives have been largely monthly handouts designed as employments which evaporate soon after each project lifespan expires.

The sustainability element is obviously missing.

Two other talking points

Beyond name change

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On August 6, President Buhari approved the change of name of Ministry of Science and Technology to Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.

The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, in announcing this at a news briefing in Abuja, said that the Federal Executive Council in 2017 had, under the leadership of President Buhari, approved the National Science, Technology and Innovation Roadmap (NSTIIR 2017-2030), necessitating the Ministry’s change of name.

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What is in a name, many have asked? Indeed, does the hood make the monk? And, here, Nigerians hope for greater advancements in the country’s scientific and technological sectors, not just attempts at rebranding.

But here are a few more posers for Onu:

1. What modalities are in place to match global standards and competitiveness?
2. And, as has been the usual tradition, what is the Minister doing to ensure that the cost outlay for the transition is transparent and passes the integrity test?

Deploying permanent secretaries

President Buhari, on August 6, approved the deployment of nine Federal Permanent Secretaries to different Ministries.

Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation noted that the deployed permanent secretaries include: Bitrus Bako Nabasu from Ministry of Petroleum Resource to the Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy; Dr. Evelyn Ngige, Service Welfare Office, OHCSF to the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment; Mammam Mahmuda, Career Management Office, OHCSF to Federal Ministry of Health; Dr. Nasir Sani Gwarzo, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to Ministry of Petroleum Resources and Dr. Anthonia Akpabio Ekpa, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs to Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs.

Others were: Dr. Onwudiwe Maryanne Ngozi, Dr. Ogunbiyi Marcus Olaniyi, Yusuf Ibrahim Idris and Adebiyi Olusesan Olufunso who were deployed, respectively, to Service Welfare Office, OHCSF; Career Management Office, OHCSF and Federal Ministry of Women Affairs.

The movements can best be regarded as career shifts but it would not be totally out of place to admit that the reshuffling may have had political undertones.

Be that as it may, the concern of ordinary Nigerians would be that these key appointments yield the expected results of advancing the society.

On the other hand, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, (HOCSF), Folasade Yemi-Esan, must be alive to her responsibilities and ensure that new appointees do not become super permanent secretaries whose activities cannot be interrogated and made to account for their actions.

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