By Adetunji Ayo-Brown
Do not fear change for it is an unchangeable law of progress. But in a kind of self-doubt, Kwara State Government (KWSG) reversed its earlier decisions. Seen by Kwarans as a child’s play taken too far was the state’s ministries reduction and increment that all occurred in less than two years into the life of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq’s administration.
Reactions still trail the action of the approval of such restructuring and splitting of some government ministries. Many questioned the rationale, way and manner such were done which casted doubts in the minds of Kwarans over the restructuring of operatives.
Like attempting to score some cheap political points, at its inaugural council meeting restructuring/merger of ministries and the creation of just a new one. In 2019, the measure was to cut cost and strengthen efficiency in service delivery to the people was the given excuse. Now with this new increase in ministries number what is the fate of the claimed efficiency in service delivery and judicious allocation of resources. Or this is truly how the N35bn bond debt incurred in name of the state will be squandered as accused in some quarters.
Fast and furious it was thought. In 2019 the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development and the Ministry of Finance was made the Ministry of Finance and Planning but in 2021, the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development is now the current Ministry of Finance and Planning, leaving the finance segment of the old ministry to stand on its own.
Except for glitch in this government policy, driving the state’s huge investments and technological innovation, no ministries change of names. The Ministry of Solid Minerals Development split from the Ministry of Enterprise while the latter was renamed the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Technology. Ministry of Tertiary Education, Science and Technology now as the Ministry of Tertiary Education.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism collapsed to the Ministry of Information and Communications to form a wholesome Ministry of Communications, while the Ministry of Industry and Solid Mineral and the one of Commerce and Cooperative was merged to become the Ministry of Enterprise.
The Ministry of Environment and Forestry becomes the Ministry of Environment, while the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development is known as the Ministry of Social Development. A new Ministry of Special Duties was ratified and created.
Just at its maiden meeting, merger and the creation ministries was seen to be done in bad faith. In 2019, inherited from the past administration, it pruned the ministries in the state civil service from 19 to 16 ministries.
Policy algorithm glitch supposed, too soon for self-doubt, changing from nineteen to sixteen and back to twenty within such a short period is bewildering. Some queried such irrational decision, seen as not only hasty but also not properly intended in the first instance except mere political vendetta in at all cost throw baby with the bathwater because of the state change in political leadership.
Good change is truly possible, but the only problem is the political will, state ministries might change in their names and structure but achieving maximum civil service efficiency is key if meaningful development is to be ensured.
Winning makes the APC government go haywired in 2019. Now, nothing is worse than bad and ‘hurry hurry’ policy. Government restructuring plans should be well thought and spelt-out taken into cognisance of every important and needed factor. But like regretting its earlier decision, KWSG thought a change in the number of ministries might help a little. Perhaps, Governor AbdulRasaq’s government is now or just better understood reasons why the number of the ministries were 19 in the first place.
Though, commendable if allowed to function effectively was partitioning of the Ministry of Works into the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development. A step designed to concentrate on the challenge of housing and urbanisation as drivers of economic development. Particularly because of the increasing scope of issues relating to women globally, the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development was divided into the Ministry of Women Affairs and Ministry of Social Affairs claiming it on efficiency in their core responsibilities.
Within the ambit of every human and material resources, blessed is Kwara as it is ranked among the well-endowed states in the country but government’s self-doubt may hinder greatly past years already programmed needed developmental goals.
Many saw such initial change as classy doing wrong things for just opportunist reasons only. Now struggling hard on how best to publicly reverse itself, Abdulrasaq’s government seems to be getting to know more about all its unknown in running state affairs, and that things are getting clearer by the day for this administration.
If properly harnessed, this government’s growth through experiences will make Kwara a better state, because most Kwarans are glad that at last this government had finally found it earlier wrong steps and hoping such is done on others known unpopular policies.
Why jumping to a wrong lead with flimsy excuses, the state can not change where it had been, but it has the influence to change where its heading through right policy. Though, politically it may be a nice thing to stake high in immediate restructuring but not for unnecessary and untenable excuses may not ensure the needed effective coordination in developmental changes.
Government that changes the existing and workable structures with no cogent or reasonable excuse, made many to think of a change to the leadership of such a government unsure. Many wished that the state government allowed space for proper debates before embarking on such unplanned expedition in the name of restructuring.
Every reasonable Kwarans want a governor that delivers good dividends of democracy
This should not be taken as the Kwara new column, many are still expecting another government’s self-reversal in policy summersault
With all necessary significant courtesies, many are openly talking of another imminent change in government which is seen to be too feasible to all as it is beyond any denial. The results of this new change invalidate the initial efforts.
Ill-timed was the initial reduction in Kwara state ministries. And except such restructuring goes beyond political mediocrity, the change may not necessarily translate and lead to a meaningful developmental change in states’ public service.
…And another change is imminent, all Kwarans can feel it.
*Ayo-Brown is a Snr. System Analyst, he can be reached via e-Mail:email@example.com