As Nigerians continue to wait for President Muhammadu Buhari to announce key appointments and fully begin his administration, a Premium Times report has shown how the president’s slow pace is grounding government activities.
Since assumption of office, President Buhari has announced only a handful of appointments namely: Lawal Kazaure (State Chief of Protocol and three media aides: Femi Adesina (Special Adviser, Media and Publicity), Garba Shehu (Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity), and Laolu Akande (Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity, to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo).
Speaking in defence of the president on Wednesday, June 24, 2015, Adesina said: “Business need not be grounded at MDAs because the permanent Secretaries and other technocrats are in place to take decisions.
“It is the prerogative of the President to make the appointments. He will make them (appointments) at the fullness of time.”
Other government sources however disagree with Adesina’s stance as they have revealed that his inability to name key appointees, especially the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), is running government activities to the ground, as the running of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) are currently weak while the coordination of government policies and programmes have come to an embarrassing standstill.
A federal permanent secretary, who spoke anonymously on Wednesday, June 24, 2015 enthused thus: “The country can ill-afford further delay by the President to make these vital appointments.
“From the presidency to the ministries, departments and agencies, everything has come to virtual standstill.”
The official went on to express concern that since President Buhari got the approval of the Senate to appoint 15 Special Advisers, the president is yet to announce their appointments or even send his ministerial nominees to the Senate for confirmation.
Another offical said: “Since the President assumed office on May 29, he has embarked on series of foreign trips and held several consultative meetings with various world leaders on a number of important issues bordering on security and economic development.
“In the absence of the SGF, there has been no one coordinating and pushing for implementation of the resolutions, decisions and agreements from those meetings and visits for government.”
One other Permanent Secretary posited that the office of the SGF was the engine room of government business, adding that the delay in making such a key appointment is already doing unbelievable damage to the business of governance.
He also enthused: “The government has so far attended the G-7 Summit in Germany and the meeting of the Lake Chad Basin Commission as well as other diplomatic shuttles,” he said.
“But there is so far no one coordinating resolutions agreed at those meetings. It is also difficult for key agencies to link up with the presidency to provide briefings on diplomatic and economic issues.”
Also reacting to Adesina’s talk about Permanent Secretaries handling affairs was an official in the presidency who stated that: “The permanent secretaries cannot do much. They are looking up to ministers, or in the interim an SGF, who could give them direction on policy issues. A lot of files are pending attention, particularly on the economy and budget, which they cannot handle.”
The absence of an SGF has culminated in some crisis at the Federal Ministry of Labour where two people are in an epic battle as to who is the authentic Director General (DG) of the National Productivity Centre, Abuja.One of the men, Kashim Akor, who has been granted access to the office to assume duties claimed that he received his appointment letter by the former Minister of Labour, Joel Ikenya.
The other man, Faith Robert, a lecturer at the Niger Delta University, Bayelsa State claims that he got his appointment letter from the former SGF, Pius Anyim.