The economic crisis in the country has continued to deepen with a spike in inflation as President Bola Tinubu delayed the composition of the Federal Executive Council 52 days after taking office.
The Fifth Amendment to the Nigerian Constitution mandates the president and governors to submit the names of their ministerial and commissioner-nominees within 60 days of taking the oath of office for confirmation by the Senate or state House of Assembly.
The cabinet gives a glimpse into the President’s governance style, policy direction, and the team executing the administration’s agenda.
The Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly matters (House of Representatives), Olakunle Olanrewaju, confirmed to The PUNCH on Wednesday that the President has yet to forward his ministerial nominees to the National Assembly.
But commenting on the situation, the President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Francis Meshioye, said the delay in the announcement of the president’s cabinet was becoming a cause for concern.
According to him, with regard to appointing cabinet members that will oversee the organised private sector, it is crucial to make sure that the president places ‘a round peg in a round hole.’
Meshioye said, “Naturally, when you have an expectation and the expectation is yet to be fulfilled, you will be worried. So, definitely, everyone, including the business community, worries about this. But we have confidence in the new administration. He needs to be very diligent in appointing whoever will hold any office. We implore him to do this and we believe that he is going to do this within the timeline.”
On his part, the National President of the Association of Small Business Owners, Femi Egbesola said it was worrying for the president’s cabinet to remain a mystery only few days to the time allotted by the constitution for cabinet appointments to be made.
“It is the talk of the town; everybody is talking about it. Not just the business community alone. We heard the news that it would be announced today (Wednesday), but up till now we have not heard anything. Quite a number of businesses base their planning on the body language of businesses. Now that it has not been announced, it is actually holding businesses to a standstill because businesses cannot plan,’’ he lamented.
Also speaking, the Deputy-President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Gabriel Idahosa said that it was important for the president to appoint cabinet members with not just the right credential and expertise, but the character needed to make decisions that will echo positively on organised business.
He said, “Everybody expects that we will have appointees with good character, that they do not have a well-known record of bad conduct. That is the general expectation.”
But the Director General of the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association, Mr Wale Oyerinde, observed that the delay in appointing ministers may be slowing business activities, the president is still within the constitutionally guaranteed time.
He said that for the organised business, the president should have hit the ground running after the election.
Oyerinde stated, “The law says 60 days, he has not broken any law, we will be pre-empting. While the inability to immediately appoint a minister may have caused the delay in actions, the reality is that he is still within the constitutionally guaranteed time. The organised business expectations were that the president should have hit the ground running since the elections were over, he should have known those that will work.
“He should have been operating within the context of putting round pegs in round holes. But having said that, we will also be jumping the gun if we now start making issues when the constitutionally guaranteed time of making appointments has not passed. Yes, it can slow down activities within the context of getting the proper person to engage in policies but in our own understanding he is still within the constitutionally guaranteed time.”
A facilitator with the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Dr Ikenna Nwaosu, argued that the president is compounding the many problems he inherited from his predecessor.
He noted, “The president has been preparing for the presidency even before the election; he has been looking for it so why is his list of ministers pending? Secondly, he knows that he is inheriting a lot of problems and the solution to all those problems should be at his fingerprints. And even as he has taken over power, he is adding more issues like the foreign exchange, fuel subsidy, and tuition fee for students and all that.”
He maintained that the president should have been able to appoint his cabinet members within the first 30 days after his inauguration.
‘’Because he has been preparing for this presidency for years, so I will agree with any business owner that is saying that the president not being able to come up with his ministers by this time is negatively affecting their businesses and socio-economic development,’’ he declared.
Meanwhile, no fewer than 10 new confidential secretaries have been deployed by the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation ahead of the resumption of the new ministers, The PUNCH has learnt.
A memo signed by the Permanent Secretary, Career Management Office, OHCSF, Marcus Ogunbiyi, dated July 18,2023, noted that the details of compliance of the newly appointed secretaries must be received by July 24,2023.
The memo was addressed to the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila; the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume; all permanent secretaries, the Department of State Services and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.
It was also copied to the service chiefs and the Inspector- General of Police, the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria and the chairmen of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission; Economic and Financial Crimes Commission; Code of Conduct Bureau; Police Service Commission and Federal Character Commission.
Others who were also notified included the chairmen of Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission; Independent National Electoral Commission, National Population Commission; Federal Inland Revenue Service, Clerk of the National Assembly, among others.
The memo read partly, “I am directed to convey the approval of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation for the deployment of the following Confidential Secretaries SGL. 12- 14 in the Federal Civil Service. Please note that this posting takes immediate effect.
“All Directors of Human Resources Management/Administration are required to submit details of compliance to this posting instruction to the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation no later than July 24, 2023.
“All officers concerned are reminded that failure to adhere to this posting instruction contravenes the provisions of the Public Service Rules 030301 (b) and will be met with appropriate The PUNCH reports that the Public Service Rules 030301(b) states that refusal to proceed on transfer or to accept posting is misconduct which is inimical to the image of the service and which can be investigated and proved. It can also lead to termination and retirement.”
Some of those appointed include Onalo James to serve at the Office of the minister for transportation, Obi Ngozi, office of the minister of aviation, Ekwot Theresa, office of the minister of information and culture, Gukas Jumai, office of the minister of special duties among others.
had earlier reported how the OHCSF had compiled a list of 41 confidential secretaries to work with the federal cabinet members.
In another development, Vice President Kashim Shettima has appealed to former senators to support the administration of President Tinubu, whom he described as a leader with a genuine interest in transforming the country.
“President Bola Tinubu is a good man; I will urge all of us to rally round and support him,” Shettima told a delegation comprising his former colleagues from the 9th Senate who were on a courtesy visit to him at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
State House Director of Information, Office of the Vice President, Olusola Abiodun, disclosed this in a statement he signed on Wednesday, titled ‘Let’s rally round and support President Tinubu, VP Shettima appeals to former colleagues.’
On his relationship with the former senators, the Vice President said, “In the last four years, I have formed permanent bonds of friendship and fraternity that I believe will stay with me for the rest of my life.”
“I want to assure you that I will work with you in the interest of our nation. What binds us as a family and a nation supersedes whatever divides us,”Shettima added.
Earlier in his remarks, the leader of the delegation, Sen. Philip Aduda, said the visit was not partisan as the composition of the group comprised members across different political affiliations united for Nigeria’s progress.
He pledged their support for the Tinubu administration and prayed for the success of its policies and programmes.
In the same vein, Sen. George Sekibo expressed confidence that the Vice President’s capacity, humility and depth of knowledge will impact the policies and programmes of the Tinubu administration. He reassured the VP of their loyalty and solidarity at all times.
Other members of the delegation included Senators Sam Egwu, Aliyu Abdullahi, Gabriel Suswam, Emmanuel Bwacha, Chukwuma Utazi, Ibrahim Oloriegbe, Uche Ekwunife, Betty Apiafi, Yakubu Oseni, Jarigbe Jarigbe, Suleiman Kwari, Danjuma Laah, Cleopas Moses and Stella Oduah.
Senators Biodun Olujimi, Nora Daduut, Bulus Amos, Istaifanus Gyang, Michael Nnachi, Hassan Mohammed, Albert Akpan, Clifford Ordia, Hezekiah Dimka and Chukwuma Ibezim, were also at the meeting.