Sunday, September 24, 2023

Breaking: Presidency Reveals Why President Tinubu Didn’t Attach Portfolio To Ministerial Nominees List, Plan To Form New Ministries

The Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila explained on Thursday that President Bola Tinubu did not specify portfolios for his ministerial nominees because the screening process offers a chance to determine the best fitting ministry for each candidate.

While suggesting that nominating ministers with predetermined roles might be the ideal approach, Gbajabiamila noted that this could cause difficulties if the President decided to adjust his choices after the screening process.

“The nominees are eminently qualified to make the list,” Gbajabiamila said.

The list, he added, is composed of both technocrats and politicians to provide a balanced government.

He also mentioned the possibility of the President reorganizing the ministries or creating new ones that did not previously exist.

These comments were made to State House correspondents after Gbajabiamila had submitted the list of ministerial nominees to the Senate.

Gbajabiamila when asked why portfolios were not attached said: “Yes, I mean for me that would have been one way to go about it. It would have been a welcome development. As good as that sounds it straightjackets the President to pigeonhole one person in an office or the other.

“What happens then if you change your mind? Do you then bring the person back for screening again, because the President is at liberty to change your mind?

“For instance, if I decide I want somebody as Minister of Labour, and then after setting the name, later on, I decide that you know what, I didn’t know this about this person, this person would actually be better with another portfolio.

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“And meanwhile, the senate has screened that person for that particular initial portfolio, what happens then? Do you now rescreen the person?

“So, a lot of these things have their merits and demerits, advantages and disadvantages.

“I like the idea of attaching portfolios, I actually do, because it makes it necessary for the Senate to know exactly what you’re asking and what you’re looking for.

“But for now, it’s been thought wise that we stick to the tradition of sending the names and then whilst the screening processes going on allowing the Mr. President and his team to to look at the portfolios and the characters and see how they fit.

“The first step that he has done is that these are people that can work wherever you put them, except this specialized fields like attorney general and what have you.

“But in the main in most of the portfolios, he believes most of them can fit in anywhere. And what’s important is also that Mr President intends to separate portfolios or restructure the ministries in such a way you might be hearing of new ministries that were not standalone ministries before. So the process continues.

“Well, first of all, I mean, I’m sure you all know that the government is not fully formed until a cabinet is in place. And that process started a while ago culminating in the delivery of ministerial nominees today.

“The President took his time, spent a lot of time going through, did a lot of due diligence, going through the nominees one by one.

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“As you know he had 60 days from time of inauguration, as stipulated in the Constitution. He has fulfilled that requirement of the Constitution by submitting 28 names today.

“As his letter stated, and was read on the floor of the Senate, the remainder of names, not sure how many, probably about 12, maybe 13, will be forwarded to the Senate in the coming days.

“As far as the nominees themselves are concerned, and like I said, Mr. President took his time to sift through those names. He dissected those names with a fine tooth comb. And that’s what you’ve seen. Each and everyone, I believe, of the persons on that list are worth being on that list.

“But I really hope that we haven’t missed anything that would have necessitated any name not being on that list. But we wait and see. It’s a good mix of both people with political acumen and technocrats.

“So, this is a good balance and it’s needed. These are people who have keyed into the vision and mission of Mr. President. Like I said, it’s a good balance needed to move the country forward, as Mr. President is eager to do and has already started doing.

“Well, like I said, it’s a process. And we’re in the middle of the process now. As far as Mr. President is concerned, he has his cabinet. I’m sure there will be those who will be working behind the scenes, giving him advice, you know, even now, before confirmation in anticipation of confirmation, because there’s no time to waste, not a day. Every day is important to this government.

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“So, I mean, they may not start fully officially until they are confirmed, but I’m sure they will still continue to contribute advice here and there to Mr President.

“Even I, before I fully assumed officially, my office as the Chief of Staff, I was doing some skeletal work and advice to Mr. President as his presumptive chief of staff.

“For all intents and purposes, work should start in earnest for them in the next week or two because I don’t see the Senate wasting too much time in the confirmation, not because they’re not going to do a thorough job, they will do a thorough job. But they will balance it with the knowledge that in this time that we are in time is of the essence.”

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