There have been discordant tunes emerging from the seat of Nigerian government over portfolios for the ministers designate following their screening and confirmation by the Senate of the federal Republic.
On the first instance, the delay in inauguration of the much expected new Federal Executive Council (FEC) by President Muhammadu Buhari has been blamed on the failure of the Senate to officially communicate to the Presidency the confirmation of the 36 ministerial nominees earlier forwarded to it.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, as well as his counterpart in the Media and Publicity office, Malam Garba Shehu, had made the allegation in newspaper report yesterday.
Meanwhile, a list of ministers and their portfolios has been in circulation in the media. However, the Presidency has denied releasing any list that assigned portfolios to the confirmed ministerial nominees.
It was reacting to the speculated list of portfolios, which went viral on social media Sunday evening.
Reacting to the list, Special Adviser to President Mohammadu Buhari, Femi Adesina said that the list did not emanate from the presidency as it was not officially signed.
He called on the general public to disregard it and watch for official announcement from the presidency.
“Any communication from the presidency must be officially singed. Was that list signed by me or Mr. Garba Shehu? Please, ignore it,” Adesina said.
Asked on when the inauguration ceremony of the Ministers would take place, Adesine declined comment, saying that Nigerians should hold on.
The speculated portfolios go as follows: Agric and Natural Resources Audu Ogbeh (Benue), Agriculture and Natural Resources, Geoffrey Onyema (Enugu), Attorney General, James Ocholi (Kogi), Aviation Sen Hadi Sirika (Katsina), Defense Abdulrahman Dambazau(Kano), Defence (State) Dan Ali (Zamfara), Education; Isaac Adewole (Osun), FCT (State) Solomon Dalong (Plateau), Federal Capital Territory Abubakar Bawa Bwari (Niger), Finance; Okechukwu Enelamah (Abia) Finance (State) Kemi Adeosun (Ogun), Foreign Affairs. Kayode Fayemi- (Ekiti), Foreign Affairs (State) Adamu Adamu (Bauchi), Health Osagie Ehanire (Edo) Information, Communication Technology Lai Mohammed (Kwara), Interior Cladius Omoleye Daramola (Ondo), Labour Prof Anthony Onwuka (Imo), Mines and Steel Development Abubakar Malami (Kebbi), National Planning Amina Mohammed (Gombe), Niger Delta Affairs; Rotimi Amaechi Niger Delta Affairs (State) Pastor Usani Uguru (Cross River), Petroleum Ibe Kachikwu (Delta), Police Affairs Chris Ngige (Anambra), Power Babatunde Fashola (Lagos), Sports & Youth Development Heineken Lokpobiri (Bayelsa), Trade and Investment Udo Udo Udoma (Akwa Ibom) Trade and Investment (State) Zainab Ahmed (Kaduna) Women Affairs Hajia Khadija Bukar Ibrahim (Yobe), Works & Transport Ogbonaya Onu- (Ebonyi) Ogbonaya Onu- (Ebonyi), Works (State) Barr. Adebayo Shittu (Oyo).
The President had stated that some ministers in his government will not get a portfolio because his government cannot afford to pay forty two ministers.
The president made the comment while speaking to journalists in New Delhi, India, during his recent visit to the country.
Buhari said that Nigeria was “materially and morally vandalized”, adding that he will reduce the numbers of ministries in his cabinet.
He affirmed that he cannot work outside the Nigerian constitution and that ministers must be appointed in conformity with the constitution of the federal government, hence his appointment from the 36 states of the country.
He said: “We can0not work outside constitution; there must be a cabinet representative from each state. There used to be forty two ministers but I think we can barely keep half of that now because we cannot afford it.
“Others may not be substantive ministers but they will seat in the cabinet because that is what the constitution said and we can’t operate outside the constitution
“We are reducing the number of ministries we can’t afford to pay.”
Reacting to the controversy that characterised the nomination of the former governor of Rivers state, Rotimi Amaechi, in the Senate, the president said he did not walk into the presidency alone therefore he cannot work alone.
“This is team work. I said I know people but there are people that I accept from other people in our team that I trust without even knowing them.
“Maybe those that are having problem in the National Assembly I doubt if I have meet him in my life but then I am working with others.
“I did not walk into the presidency alone. I have to depend on all the three tiers of government from all part of the country,” the president said.
The president has since departed India and arrived in Nigeria after his four-day official visit to the country.
Buhari had departed Abuja on Tuesday, October 27, for New Dehli.
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