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By Lawrence Olaoye
President Muhammadu Buhari has barred new ministers from having direct access to him urging them instead to follow the protocols whenever they intend to have private audience with him or have memos to submit for the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
This is just as he expressed the confidence that the 43 ministers-designate possess individual capacities and collective patriotic commitment to deliver a better Nigeria.
The President stated this in his closing remarks at the two-day Presidential retreat for ministers-designate, Presidential Aides and other top government functionaries at the Presidential Villa yesterday.
The ministers will be sworn-in today after which they will be assign their respective portfolios by the President.
Meanwhile, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, hinted that he had instituted frameworks to track the performances of the ministers in the next four years.
Recognizing that there are myriads of significant challenges ahead of the ministers when they resume duties, the President said “But I have no doubt in your individual capacities and our collective patriotic commitment to deliver a better Nigeria for us, our children and a brighter future for all.”
He said though public service was not easy and at time thankless, he charged the ministers to see the opportunity to serve as an honour and do their best to deliver on their mandates for a more prosperous Nigeria for all.
On the need to follow protocols in performance of their duties, Buhari said “In terms of coordination, kindly ensure that all submissions for my attention or meeting requests be channeled through the Chief of Staff, while all Federal Executive Council matters be coordinated through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.”
Noting that his administration inherited myriads of challenges, the President said his government was determined to meet the needs of the people.
He said “majority of our people are poor and are anxiously hoping for a better life. A Nigeria in which they do not have to worry about what they will eat, where they will live or if they can afford to pay for their children’s education or healthcare. Our responsibility as leaders of this great country is to meet these basic needs for our people.”
According to him, his government in his its first term had been able to rebuild the country by recapturing 18 local governments hitherto under the control of the Boko Haram insurgents; invested in rails and roads infrastructures; focused on diversifying the economy from oil towards agriculture and industrialization.
“Despite reduced revenues from oil and gas compared to past governments, we have broadly addressed many of the legacy debts they left behind,” he said.
On what they have been able to deliberate upon in the retreat, Buhari said “We have discussed solutions relating to addressing Insecurity;
Macroeconomic Stability; Agriculture and Food Security; Energy Security for Petroleum products and Electricity; Transportation and Critical Infrastructure; Industrialization and SME Development; Human Capital Development; Social Inclusion; Anti-Corruption; Housing Financing and Consumer Credit.”
“You will find that working collaboratively and purposefully will enable us to achieve quicker results, recognizing that four years is not a very long time. For the new Ministers, make sure you engage and benefit from the experience of the older Ministers and former Governors in the cabinet,” he charged.
The SGF in his comments said his office will institute measures to track and appraise the performances of the ministers.
According to a statement made available to newsmen by the Special Adviser to the President on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, following the swearing-in today, each Minister will be given a Mandate, based on the assigned Ministry, and which will spell out priorities, deliverables and timelines.
“In addition, a robust monitoring and evaluation framework will also be put in place to track the implementation of all policies and programmes over the next four years,” he said.