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Buhari perfects plans to cut number of ministers to 18 or 19

By News Express on 22/06/2015

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Nigeria’s new President Muhammadu Buhari has for more than 12 years been perfecting plans on how to cut the country’s ministries/ministers from over 40 to less than 20, one of those privy to the plans revealed this morning.

Writing in an article entitled ‘Finally, Buhari’s 18 Ministers!’ veteran journalist and media relations expert Uche Ezechukwu disclosed that Buhari, who assumed office as President on May 29 and is yet to name his cabinet, told a close circle of friends of the pans way back in early 2003.  

“It had always been the idea of Muhammadu Buhari to have a very slim executive, as a way of cutting the cost of governance. Frugality in governance is an issue he felt very sensitive about for a very long time,” Ezechukwu wrote in his column UCHE EZECHUKWU ON MONDAY in the Lagos-based UNION newspaper.

“I have been privy to this fact for more than 12 years, since those days when I served as the Director of Media and Publicity of the Buhari-Okadigbo during his 2003 presidential campaign,” he added.

Buhari’s transition committee headed by veteran technocrat Ahmed Joda reportedly recommended only 19 ministers but Ezechukwu said he was sure it was the President himself who told the committee to make the recommendation.

He wrote of how Buhari, who was Nigeria’s military ruler from January 1984 to August 1985, first dropped the hint during an interview practice session with his campaign media crew at a senior suite of the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.

According to Ezechukwu, “The first question, after his usual humorous banters – who would know that Buhari is a very humorous man – was on how, in practical terms, he planned to cut spending in government, as he had often claimed he would do during the campaigns. He excitedly took on the question with his usual and undiluted candour.

“He noted that one of the greatest sources of resource haemorrhage was through the proliferation of government departments and activities in such ways that the functions that could be performed by one ministry or department had become proliferated and being handled by new ministries. He wondered why Agriculture and Water Resources, for example, could not be lumped together as one ministry. It was his contention that all those activities that were being handled by as much as over 45 ministers (as we had then) could effectively be handled by 18 ministers, with the obvious implications of drastic cut in costs to the taxpayers.

“In simple terms, Buhari insisted that if he won the election, he would have only 18 ministers, at three per zone. He said this with sturdy emphasis. Yes, 18 ministers, no more! The follow-up questions tumbled in, the most obvious being how he would get around the constitutional provision that required every state to contribute at least one minister. He stuck stoutly to his guns even though it was obvious that he had not previously thought the issue through. At a time he said he would send a bill for the amendment of the constitution and all that.”

News Express reports that Buhari, who relocated from his temporary governing office at Defence House Abuja to the just-renovated Aso Rock Presidential Villa this morning, is expected to name his cabinet before the end of this week.

•Photo shows President Buhari.

Source News Express

Posted 22/06/2015 1:50:07 PM

 

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