Keyamo To Buhari: ‘Minister Of State’ Portfolio, Unconstitutional


Keyamo Shades OBIDIENTS, Calls Them "Horde Of Sore Losers At The Last Elections"

Festus Keyamo, the outgoing Minister of State for Labour and Employment, claims the appointment of a Minister of State is an abnormality.

He said this in an address on Wednesday during a session that served as his farewell, which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

However, Keyamo pointed out that his observation was not made out of ungratefulness but rather as a contribution to the country’s constitutional development as a relatively young democracy and to help future governments to maximise the performance of those they appoint as ministers. He did this by citing some provisions of the constitution.

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In a lengthy speech made available to the press, he explained that it was challenging to evaluate the individual performances of the Ministers of State because their discretion was constrained by that of the Ministers and any original ideas developed by a Minister of State had to be approved by a different cabinet member before they could be considered by Council.

He said;

The Schedules of Duties of Ministers and Ministers of State that intend to cure some of these anomalies hardly help the issues. Firstly, the Schedules of Duties are observed more in breach by the Permanent Secretaries and Directors who really cannot be expected to serve two masters.

And in any case, many of the roles of both Ministers are so ambiguous that the bureaucrats would always interpret them to satisfy the ones they see as the “Senior Ministers” or “main Ministers” for fear of being persecuted by them.

He also asserted that the main objective of making such opposition figures Ministers of State was to keep them under the control of the Ministers of the ruling Party.

Keyamo went on to say that the practise has endured and become the standard over time, even with reference to ministers from the same ruling party.

In fact, one political absurdity that has emerged from this is that some Ministers of State won more votes from their States for the party in power than the “main Minister. As a result, many Ministers of State are largely redundant, with many going to the office for symbolic purpose and just to while away the time. Files are passed to them to treat only at the discretion of the other Minister and the Permanent Secretary. Yet, the Ministers of State will receive either praise or condemnation for the successes or failures of such Ministries.

In addition, the provision that “Ministers of State” cannot present Memos in Council, except with the permission of the Minister, is another anomaly. It means the discretion of the Minister of State is subsumed in the discretion of the Minister, yet both of them represent different States in Cabinet.

It also follows that it would be difficult to assess the individual performances of the Ministers of State since their discretion is shackled under the discretion of the Ministers. Original ideas developed by a Minister of State are subject to clearance by another colleague in Cabinet before they can sail through for consideration by Council. The drafters of our Constitution obviously did not intend this.

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