President Muhammadu Buhari will assign portfolios to all his 36 ministers, the Presidency told Daily Trust yesterday.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, stated this in a telephone interview with Daily Trust Newspaper
The president had reportedly said Friday that not all the 36 nominees would be ministers as some of them would only sit in the cabinet in order to meet the constitutional provision which stipulates that each state of the federation must have a representative in the cabinet.
Buhari was reported to have disclosed this during an interview he granted the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and Channels Television shortly before he left New Delhi where he participated in the third summit of the India-Africa Forum.
But the presidential aide stated that all the 36 ministerial nominees that had been screened by the Senate would be assigned portfolios.
Shehu clarified that what President Buhari meant was that not all the ministers would have full control of the ministries.
He said the president would retain the structure in which there are substantive ministers and ministers of state.
According to the presidential aide, it is not possible to have a more ministries than the number of ministers.
Shehu said: “You know we have a structure of government in place in this country whereby there are substantive ministers and ministers of state.
“What the president meant (in the interview granted) was that not all the ministers in his cabinet will have the full control of the ministries. You know it is not possible to have the number of ministries more than the number of ministers. Even former President Goodluck Jonathan had 28 ministries and 42 ministers.
“So, what the president meant was that some of his cabinet members would be ministers of state.”
Asked whether this implies that all Buhari’s ministers will have portfolios, Shehu answered in the affirmative, saying: “Yes, that is what it means. But not all of them (the ministers) will have the full command of the ministries”.
Meanwhile, the president was reported to have disclosed in the interview that the country would be lucky if his administration is able to have half the number of the 42 ministers that operated under the last administration.
“There was no reduction of ministers to 36. What the constitution says, and we cannot work outside the constitution, is that there must be a cabinet representative from each state. Yes, there used to be 42 ministers, I think we will be lucky if we can have half of that now because we cannot afford it. Others may not be substantive ministers, but they will sit in the cabinet because that is what the constitution says and we cannot operate outside the constitution,” Buhari was reported to have said.
according to Daily Trust last week that the president may assign portfolios and swear in his ministers on Wednesday.
But the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said the president could communicate when to inaugurate his cabinet.