Buhari May Not Appoint Ministers “In The Next Two Months” For This Three Reasons
Nigerians who have been waiting anxiously for President Muhammadu Buhari to unveil his list of cabinet members may need to wait a little more as there are indications that the president may not appoint ministers “in the next two months.”
This is despite criticism from various quarters that the president has been very slow in making key appointments amidst high hopes and expectations from his government.
According t The Nation, three reasons may account for the delay in the president’s appointment of ministers.
The reported noted the three reasons to be:
- the President’s plan to clear the “rot” inherited from the Goodluck Jonathan administration;
- the crisis in the National Assembly over the choice of principal officers; and
- the need to reduce ministries and parastatals.
But the reduction or merger of ministries or parastatals will, however, not lead to retrenchment of workers.
A Presidency source, who had a confidential briefing with some journalists in Abuja, said the mess Buhari inherited was “sickening”.
The source said: “You cannot even begin to imagine the situation we have met on the ground.
”Almost everything is in a state of decay. There is absolutely no way the new government can hope to achieve anything long-lasting without first building a new foundation.”
The source said President Buhari’s plan of action could be compared to that of “a doctor who first has to break a poorly set bone afresh, before resetting it to allow for smooth and proper growth”.
On the National Assembly crisis, the source said it was “yet one more excuse why forming a cabinet will be impossible until further notice”.
He added: “Look at how they are fighting among themselves.
“The Senate has now adjourned till July 21. That means no one to scrutinize or approve any ministerial list until the end of July.”
When told that the National Assembly said it was ready to cut short its break to consider any request from the President, the source asked the reporters to await the President’s “long-awaited” intervention in the crisis between the party and the National Assembly.
”The President wants to walk his talk on stable politics and being a leader for all. He has a plan for the National Assembly.”
He said civil servants had been “supervising the day-to-day running of ministries and that permanent secretaries of the various ministries have access to the President”.
He added: “All these reports and agitations are being fuelled by politicians who want to put pressure on the President.
“They have tried doing it other ways and those haven’t worked. Now, they are trying to use the media. They only want their cronies appointed to ministerial posts anyhow and they are fuelling the agitation through newspapers.”
He advised the media not to fall for the “old tricks and shenanigans” of politicians.
Buhari is set to reduce or merge some ministries and parastatals to make the size of the civil service manageable for efficiency.
The exercise will, however, not lead to retrenchment of workers.
The source added: “The President plans to cut down the number of ministries and parastatals.
“He wants to cut down the cost of running government. He wants to make sure that all the loopholes that enable corruption to thrive are blocked. All these are procedures that require time and careful planning. You cannot do it in a rush.
“Remember that he has to make sure that all this is done without any job losses or mass retrenchments. All this is not a day’s or one-month job.”
He added that President Buhari could not realistically have begun this process without first receiving the full report of the transition committee and ascertaining exactly the situation his government faced.
He said the president was taking his time to study the Ahmed Joda Transition Committee and Steve Oronsaye reports in order to harmonise their recommendations with the aim of restructuring the public sector that is free of waste, corruption and inefficiencies.
“You would recall that Joda had recommended the consolidation of ministries to 19 to create a leaner structure in government. This is not far removed from the Oronsaye report of 2012, which also recommended the consolidation of parastatals and agencies of the federal government.
“So what the president wants to do is to put a structure in place that cuts waste, reduces or eliminates corruption and introduces efficiency in the system,” he volunteered.
The source said Buhari was very particular about introducing a system that is free of the decay of past administrations.
He also dispelled concerns that the business of governance had ground to a halt due to the absence of ministers to provide direction, stating that the “business of governance is ongoing because the president is meeting with permanent secretaries of the ministries and heads of parastatals and getting things done through them”.
The source explained that the first phase of the agenda is to reform and restructure the public sector, “following which the appointment of ministers who will deliver on the president’s campaign promises under a new system and ethos with clear guidelines and processes, will take place”.
The source also revealed that in spite of the delay in the appointment of ministers, Buhari might in the next week or two appoint a few advisers.
“However, he is currently working with a few people on a not formalised basis, as they are the ones assisting him to distill the two reports and will make recommendations on the immediate reforms that can be implemented in the public sector,” he said.