Pulse List 2016 10 most influential public officials of the year

With the current economic situation in the country, it is heartening to note that some public officers are still committed to doing the right things.

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President Muhammadu Buhari play

President Muhammadu Buhari

(Getty/AFP/File)
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It would be insensitive to talk about the influential public officials in Nigeria in the last 12 months without recognising hundreds of men and women in various ministries, agencies and parastatals across the 36 states of the federation, who are moving mountains to ensure the system works.

With the current economic situation in the country, which is enough to make anyone cut corners, and with corruption, which has become a systemic problem in a country of 173.6 million people, it is heartening to note that some public officers are still committed to doing the right things.

Pulse highlights 10, out of many, influential public officials of the year.

 

1.  Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari play President Muhammadu Buhari (Reuters)

It would not be out of place to say the President of the most populous African nation, Nigeria, currently has the hardest job in the world.

He was blindly voted into power by a people desperate for change and already constipated from the overfeeding of lies and bogus promises by successive governments of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for 16 years.

Nearly two years later, Nigerians, typically impatient, have labeled the present administration a failure. Many are demanding that Buhari either fulfills his campaign promises or deliver his head on a plate.

But despite the ongoing economic crisis in the country, the President insists 'change' is in the works,  even though slowly.

The President, however, has been scored high, even by his critics, in the area of security and especially in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency.

 

2. Ibe Kachikwu

Nigerian Oil Minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu speaks during an interview with Reuters in Abuja, Nigeria February 12, 2016.REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde play Nigerian Oil Minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu speaks during an interview with Reuters in Abuja, Nigeria February 12, 2016.REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

 

The Minister of state for petroleum, who until July, also doubled as the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) became the Ministry's head at a critical time in the global oil sector.

As the price of oil crashed globally and fuel scarcity crisis, occasioned by the 'fraud-ridden' subsidy regime created unrest among the citizenry, Kachikwu was saddled with the responsibility of ending the sorry plight of Nigerians - a job he did well.

In his 11 months as the NNPC GMD, Kachikwu cut operational losses; deregulated the country’s downstream petroleum sector; initiated a creative means of meeting the corporation’s Joint Venture (JV) contributions; ensured that the Corporation met its statutory payments to the federation account among others.

 

3. Ayo Fayose

Governor Ayodele Fayose play

Governor Ayodele Fayose

(Vanguard)

 

The Ekiti State Governor is many things to many people. While some would say he has become a political nuisance, others think he is the only life left in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria's major opposition party currently gasping for breath.

On whatever side of the divide you fall, everyone can agree that Fayose has become a force to reckon with nationally as he religiously criticizes every move of the President Muhammadu Buhari government.

However, with the PDP leaders unrepentantly digging their own grave, Fayose's efforts may be in vain after all.

 

4.  Aisha Buhari

First Lady, Aisha Buhari play

First Lady, Aisha Buhari

 

When her husband, Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in as Nigeria's President on May 29, 2015, many assumed Aisha, just like her predecessors, would be another First Lady whose job is limited to looking out for underprivileged women and children, and launching charity organisations and programs.

But Aisha proved she is more than that when she shockingly criticized her husband's government in October in a BBC interview, which went viral.

She has also been primarily involved in raising money and goodwill for the rehabilitation of the victims of Boko Haram insurgency.

 

5. Kashim Shettima

Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima play

Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima

(Guardian)

 

The Borno state Governor has been an exemplary leader who is driven by empathy and a genuine concern for the welfare of his people, who have been ravaged by the violence and brutality of the Boko Haram insurgency.

This year, schools that have been shut down for a couple of years due to insurgency were reopened and thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) who were in different camps across the north-east, were returned to their communities.

The Governor played a vital role in the release of 21 kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls by Boko Haram in October.

Though there is more to be done, with Shettima at the helm of affairs, things can only get better for the people of Borno.

 

6. Bukola Saraki

Bukola Saraki play

Senate President, Bukola Saraki.

(NAN)

 

The Senate President has survived several plots by the powerful forces in the All Progressives Congress (APC) to yank him off his National Assembly seat this year.

He is believed to have landed the Senate Presidency position by crook and by getting in bed with the 'enemy' - the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Nearly all year, he was enmeshed in a protracted trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal and a criminal investigation into the alleged forging of the senate standing rules that got him elected. The Federal Government later dropped the forgery charges brought against him and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu.

 

7. Abba Kyari

Abba Kyari play

Abba Kyari

(Twitter)

 

President Muhammadu Buhari's Chief of Staff is an important man in the life of the administration. Nothing bypasses him in the seat of power.

Kyari's relationship with the President is said to be so cordial that he influences everything within government from policy making to presidential appointments.

He was recently appointed to the six-man board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

 

8. Akinwunmi Ambode

Lagos Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode play

Lagos Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode

(AkinwunmiAbode.com)

 

The Lagos State Governor has surpassed expectations, despite a slow start.

He has rapidly built on the foundation laid by his predecessor, Babatunde Fashola, and has moved to forge his own legacy.

By his Light Up project that has changed the face of Lagos roads and his 25 billion Employment Trust Fund which seeks to tackle youth unemployment, Ambode is living up to his commitment to running an inclusive government - carrying along non-elitist suburbs of Nigeria's mega city.

 

9. Lawal Daura

Director General of the Department of State Service (DSS), Lawal Daura play

Director General of the Department of State Service (DSS), Lawal Daura

(Twitter)

 

The Director-General of the State Security Service (SSS) also known as the Department of State Service (DSS), proved to be worthy of the position, as the agency left no stone unturned in the anti-corruption war launched by the present administration.

Most noteworthy of the agency's operations in 2016 was the controversial raids carried out in October on the homes of some justices of the Supreme and Federal High Courts over alleged corruption.

Daura's men invaded the homes of the judges in Abuja and Port Harcourt in what the agency described as a 'sting operation.'

The burst, which was condemned by the judiciary and many legal practitioners, made it abundantly clear to the 'high and mighty' in the country that no one is indeed untouchable as far as the fight against corruption is concerned.

 

10. Ibrahim Magu

Ibrahim Magu play

EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu

(flairng)

 

It is not a cakewalk to head the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), a law enforcement agency primarily saddled with the responsibility of investigating financial crimes - advance fee fraud (419 fraud) and money laundering.

It is more difficult to carry out these duties in a society mired in corruption.

Magu and his men, with the backing of the Presidency, have stepped on toes that were usually worshiped.

They have arrested, re-arrested, detained and investigated hundreds of allegedly corrupt public officials, their aides and their family members, against all odds.

Though the opposition, PDP, has continually criticized the agency, alleging that it is being used by the present government to persecute the perceived enemies of government; Magu's men haven’t slowed their tempo.

 

 

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