ZIK GBEMRE SPEAKS ON UNCONSTITUTIONALITY OF MINISTERS OF STATE AND KEYAMO’S AFFECTATION JABBERING

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I read the extreme cunning in the open letter to the President a conceited Festus Keyamo disguised as his valedictory speech at the Council Chambers in the Presidential Villa May 24, 2023, titled A HEART FULL OF UNQUANTIFIABLE GRATITUDE TO PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI, GCFR AND RECOMMENDATION TO ADDRESS THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONUNDRUM OF MINISTERS OF STATE. Yes, my first reaction was how pretentious, how miserly?

 

After enjoying the influence, entitlements and perks of office, Keyamo only just discovered, three days to handover, that his office as any other Ministers of State in the outgoing federal government, was mere compassionate Presidential appointment extraneous to governance and the Nigerian constitution.

 

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And by deploying verbosity to beautify a common knowledge as the unconstitutionality of the economic wastage of paying ministers of state as errand boys for main ministers, Keyamo wants Nigerians to cheer him as if he has uncovered a new constitutional breach. And he does so sounding daring like he would go to court to challenge any president who appoints ministers of state henceforth, after smiling to the bank over the past years as a redundant minister of state.

 

Beyond identifying the problem, Keyamo’s reasoned way out is comic. The only way out, according to him, is for successive Presidents to appoint as many ministers as currently obtained, but call none minister of state and instead make all senior ministers and assign them to duplicated portfolios/roles.

 

This callow solution is based on the premix of meeting the constitutional provision that every state of the federation must have a representing minister in the federal cabinet. Much as this suggestion sounds the easiest way out, it is a meaningless solution which retains the same problem.

 

The problem remains that Nigerian governments, at all tiers, have become too elaborate and wasteful because of bloated staff employment and political appointments into the various organs and duplicated Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

 

What is Nigeria doing with a bloated numbers of ministers? What has been the benefits of picking a minister from all 36 states, some states having two ministerial appointments, when most of them will simply go through the redundant motion in ministries irrelevant to the development of the country.

 

In the Buhari cabinet for the eight years it has stayed, Nigerians hardly remember whether some ministries exist. The only ministries that were functional were the Transportation, Works, Education, and Health which contended with Covid-19, Justice and perhaps Defense. The rest were merely paying redundant ministers, aides and staff for doing nothing.

 

So, at a time voices are getting louder in advocating that governments should prune its oversize to cut down on wastage, Keyamo wants the incoming federal administration led by Ahmed Bola Tinubu to further duplicate the existing ministries already duplicated and creating clash of responsibilities.

 

For Keyamo, for as long as no cabinet member is called Minister of State, Mr. President can appoint ministers to just warm their desks and chairs sitting in air-conditioned offices, doing practically nothing in redundancy.

 

For me, the problem is not the unconstitutionality of appointing minister of states. The National Assembly Members need to amend the law for compulsory appointment of ministers from every state. The law as it were doesn’t confer any sense of fairness and equity. We need to reduce the size of government. I don’t see the need for a minister to come from the President and Vice President’s states. They already represent their states as leaders of the cabinet.

 

Besides are the ministers truly representatives of their states. What is the need for that when there are elected representatives in the Senate and House of Reps? The ministers are to aid the president in running smooth and credible governance and not representatives of states or must be politicians. The ministers ought to be credible with potentials and capability to develop the country, not a patronage office for the president to share entitlements.

 

Even if we insist on executive appointments to come from every state, then it should not be to duplicate redundant ministries. Government can instead equate the headship of some key federal agencies, departments or parastatals with ministerial status, so state without ministerial positions can be given exclusive space to occupy such.

 

Positions as MDs for NPA, NIMASA, GMD NNPC, MDs/Chief Operating Officers of NAPIMS, NUPRC, NPDC,NERC and other plum offices could be equated with ministerial appointments so every state is not nominated for redundant ministerial appointments.

 

The failures in governance since 1999 till date have nothing to do with people being designated ministers of state and senior ministers. The failure is about attitude and nothing more.

 

Festus Keyamo in self-glorification as a brave lawyer and pro-democracy activist is speaking his mind on the unconstitutionality of appointing ministers of state. Why did he not reject his appointment as minister of state or resign when he was appointed into the two ministries he served?

 

Why wait less than 3 days to finish his tenure as a minister of state before claiming holy holy after ‘you don chop clean mouth’. After collecting his full salaries, allowances and all privileges as a minister of state of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

 

As for me Keyamo’s valedictory speech is unnecessary, purely self-serving. Never you bite what you don’t eat. Keyamo was merely talking to be noticed as a brave lawyer and a pro-democracy activist.

 

Na today dey break?

 

 

We Mobilize Others To Fight For Individual Causes As If Those Were Our Causes!

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