Tue. May 28th, 2024

Expectations on the ministerial list have heightened as President Bola Tinubu clocks over 40 days in office.

By law, Tinubu is required to name his cabinet within 60 days after taking the oath of office on May 29 and transmits it to the Senate for confirmation.

With less than 18 days to submit his cabinet list to the National Assembly as recommended by the constitution, lawmakers and other Nigerians are anxiously waiting for the list of ministers who would help to deliver the President’s renewed hope agenda.

Multiple NASS Assembly sources said the federal parliament was awaiting Tinubu’s ministerial list, with some expressing worry over the delay.

The lawmakers, who chose to speak on condition of anonymity to avoid possible backlash, said they did not expect a further delay in the list.

Meanwhile, The PUNCH confirmed on Sunday evening that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Department of State Services, and some security agencies were on the verge of completing their mandatory checks on the list.

It was gathered that the Department of State Services and members of the Presidential Strategic Team were running final checks on the people who had been listed as possible ministers.

Multiple Presidency sources said the list would be released very soon.

Meanwhile, Hon. Alex Egbona, Deputy chairman, House Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) in 9th Assembly, said that the President was still within the timeframe, unlike before when there were delays.

He hopes that the president will submit this Tuesday or upper Tuesday.

Also, Hon Ugochinyere Ikenga, a member of the House of Representatives from Imo State, said Nigerians were worried but believed that the President would send the list soon.

He also said he believed it would not be like the past when ministers were appointed after six months.

Meanwhile, a former Chief of Staff to the former Imo Gov. Rochas Okorocha, Mr Uche Nwosu, has advised President Bola Tinubu, to ensure that his ministerial list is made up of 60 per cent of technocrats from the private sector and 40 per cent of politicians.

He gave this advice during a virtual news conference on Sunday in Abuja. He noted that this would ensure a productive and vibrant cabinet.

He said, “What I expect from Mr President is to ensure the nominees are people that have competence, character, patriotic, with no atom of nepotism.”

Nwosu added, “We believe that we would have ministers who will represent Nigeria and not ministers who are coming to say they are ministers representing their states.”

He further stated that Nigeria has many competent individuals residing in the country that could serve as ministers, but those in Diaspora could also make the list.

He said, “We have a lot of competent Nigerians residing in Nigeria that can do the work of a minister in different fields and there is nothing wrong in having a former governor occupy a ministerial post if he has done well.

“I don’t see anything wrong in that, and also if Mr President wishes to add people in the Diaspora to his ministerial list, there is nothing wrong in that also.”

Also, the United Nations Women Country Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Beatrice Eyong, has called for 50 per cent women representatives in the ministerial list.

She said during the maiden edition of ReportHer Awards in Lagos, “We are advocating 50 per cent women representation in public offices as President Bola Tinubu prepares to release names of ministers and heads of agencies and parastatals of the government.”

“We call on the President to make this a reality. We are partnering with the media in order to achieve the sustainable development goals because if gender equality and women empowerment are not achieved, we are never going to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and reduce poverty,” she said

This came as the Federal Government drew up a list of 41 confidential secretaries that would work with the federal cabinet members at the various ministries.

The list of the confidential secretaries on Grade Levels 13 to 14, which was compiled by the Head of Service, Folashade Yemi-Esan, has been sent to the security agencies for screening and vetting.

Though the President has appointed some Special Advisers and new service chiefs, Nigerians expected him to announce the Federal Executive Council members without much delay in keeping with his promise to hit the ground running from day one.

But speculations have been rife about the identities of the ministerial nominees with bookmakers making permutations about possible appointees.

In response to the speculations and anxiety sparked by the delay in announcing the ministers, Tinubu’s Special Adviser on Special Duties, Communications and Strategy, Dele Alake, told journalists last week that the list of ministers would be unveiled soon.

He said, “About the ministerial list, the simple truth is this is an executive presidency. We’re not running a parliamentary system. So the President, the bucks stop on his table, and he decides when it’s fit and proper for him to make his cabinet list.”

However, in readiness for the unveiling and resumption of the ministers, the FG has posted the confidential secretaries to various ministries where they are expected to work with the ministers whose names would be sent to the National Assembly for screening any moment now.

The memo with reference number HCSF/CMO/CPA/908II/101 exclusively obtained by our correspondent on Sunday revealed that 41 confidential secretaries have been chosen by the Federal Government to serve in the offices of ministers.

The circular dated July 5, 2023, noted that the secretaries will resume latest July 11, 2023.

It was titled, ‘Posting of Confidential Secretaries (SGL 13-14) in the pool of the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation’ and signed on behalf of the HoS, Yemi-Esan, by the Permanent Secretary, Career Management Office, Dr Marcus Ogunbiyi.

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.

A list attached to the memo said 13 of the secretaries had been posted to the ministries of works and housing, youths and sports development, education, industry, trade and investment, humanitarian affairs, OSGF, among others, to fill vacancies while the rest were posted to vice confidential secretaries who were earlier deployed in the ministries.

Some of the confidential secretaries are Oju Inyima who was deployed from the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to the office of the Minister of Communication and Digital Communication; Osemeke Ogor of Agric and Rural Development Ministry who was posted to Water Resources; Onaivi Justina (Works and Housing) now posted to Petroleum Resources; Noimot Adewale (Transportation) but redeployed to Agric and Rural Development Ministry and Mbadiwe Cordelia (Education) but dispatched to Agric and Rural Development.

Also on the list are Nwosu Christiana (Communication and Digital Economy) who has been mobilised to Police Affairs; Adesina-Abioye Ololade (Youth and Sports Development) who was moved to Transportation ministry; Ikade Aina (Science Tech and Innovation) who has been transferred to the Education ministry; Evan-Helen Igbokwe (Works and Housing) and Yusuf Sadiq (Water Resources) who have both been sent to the Education ministry.

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. 13-14 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 Wednesday 12th July, 2023.

“Please note that all deployed officers must be accepted and documented by the respective ministries as rejection of officers would not be condoned by the office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation. All handling over and taking over processes must be completed on or before Tuesday 11th July, 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 sanctions.”

It was reported 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.”

Speaking in an interview with our correspondent, a high-placed civil servant noted that confidential secretaries were posted to work alongside ministers in their day-to-day activities.

He also noted that the confidential secretaries would be dispatched to the ministries this week.

The civil servant, who spoke under the condition of anonymity out of respect for civil service rules which prevent civil servants from speaking to the press, said, “In every ministry, you have a confidential secretary posted to the office of the minister. A minister may choose to work with the secretary or may decide to work with his or her own confidential secretary and in such cases, the confidential secretary may be moved to another office but will still be referred to as a confidential secretary.’’

“It is the Office of the Head of Service that posts confidential secretaries but other times, someone may be appointed from a ministry to be the confidential secretary in the ministry.

“The ones that are posted will work with the minister, that is if the minister wants, but it will be on record that the Head of Service posted someone there because anytime there is a vacancy, a ministry will request,’’ the official added.

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