Buhari - Railway

President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated his commitment to naming his ministers before the end of September as he earlier promised. But he was quick to declare that much of the work of government is done by the civil servants rather than ministers.

Buhari made the disclosure while fielding questions with French television station, France 24 on Wednesday in Paris. “I said we will have one by the end of the month, and time flies. The end of the month is coming too quickly for my liking. But, I will stick to it. I will send the names to the National Assembly,” President Buhari said.

He explained that the absence of a finance minister was not affecting the Nigerian economy. The President argued that the idea that ministers must be assembled to work with the president was a borrowed idea from the western system. According to him, the civil servants do the bulk of the work while the ministers take the glory. His words: “The civil service provides the continuity, the technocrats. And in any case, they are those that do most of the work. The ministers are there, I think, to make a lot of noise; for the politicians to make a lot of noise. But the work is being done by the technocrats. They are there; they have to provide the continuity, dig into the records and then guide us, [those of us] who are just coming in.”

“They have been there, some of them for 15 years, some for 20 years. So I think this question of ministers is political. People from different constituencies want to see their people directly in government, and see what they can get out of it.”

Reminded by his interviewer that “some have quipped that the country runs better without ministers”, the president said: “When you started introducing me, you said I was around 1983 to 1985. Even then, we had ministers. So under this system, we have to have ministers; and we are going to have ministers.”

By Olisemeka Obeche


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