Why the New Administration Should Discard Ministers of State


Federal Executive Council Chambers

Eric Teniola, a former Director at the Presidency, argues that the incoming government at the federal level should jettison the post of minister of state.

He argues: “A look at the 1999 Constitution shows that there is no provision for Minister of State, all we have is Minister, same with the 1979 Constitution.

Between 1979 and 1983, and from 1999 to the present, every President to date has committed this great error. From President Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari GCFR (25 February 1925 – 28 December 2018) to President Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR (85), to the late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua GCFR (16 August 1951 – 5 May 2010) to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR (65) and to President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR (80). I hope the President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, will not commit this error. Worse still, the Senate that should have corrected this error has failed to do so.”

Below is Teniola’s submission:


We don’t want the minister of state again

By Eric Teniola

“We don’t want Ministers of State again. It is like a condemnation, if you are in the office, they can’t bring a file to you, if you are having a gathering like this, you can’t talk, you will sit down with your colleagues like a “Mumu”, you won’t talk, if you go to federal executive council meeting, you can’t present a memo, it is the Minister that has the power, we don’t want that again”.

Those were the exact words of Chief Donald Omotayo Alasoadura(73) at an event last year. He should know what he was talking about, for he has served as Minister of State for Niger Delta between 2019-2022. He has also served as Commissioner of Finance and Planning under my friend Dr. Olusegun Kokumo Agagu (16 February 1948 – 13 September 2013), the late Governor of Ondo state. On Wednesday, September 13 this year, it will be ten years anniversary of the demise of Dr. Agagu. My condolences always to his beloved family. Time flies over us but leaves its shadows behind.

The former Minister of State was a Senator who represented Ondo State Central Senatorial District in 2015.

Chief Alasoadura is a powerful community leader in Akure North Local Government Area of Ondo state.

What he said was his frustration as a Minister of State. This frustration is no doubt being experienced and has been experienced by every Minister of State in Nigeria.

A look at the 1999 Constitution shows that there is no provision for Minister of State, all we have is Minister, same with the 1979 Constitution.

Between 1979 and 1983, and from 1999 to the present, every President to date has committed this great error. From President Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari GCFR (25 February 1925 – 28 December 2018) to President Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR (85), to the late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua GCFR (16 August 1951 – 5 May 2010) to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR (65) and to President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR (80). I hope the President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, will not commit this error. Worse still, the Senate that should have corrected this error has failed to do so.

Since 1979, the procedure has always been for the President to send the list of Ministers to the Senate for confirmation. After the confirmation, the President on his own declassifies certain Ministers to be Ministers of State and he gets away with it.

The idea of Minister of State or Junior Minister, surfaced in the first Republic, for there is no provision for it in the Presidential System of Government.

On August 30, 1957, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa formed the first all Nigerian Federal Executive Council. He selected his ministers not only from the N.P.C., the N.C.N.C., and the Kamerun National Congress but also from the Action Group. The membership of the Federal Cabinet was—Prime Minister, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa: Secretary to the Prime Minister; Colonel P.H.G. Stallard: Principal Private Secretary; Mr. R.J.D.M. Kinsman: Assistant Private Secretary: Malam Ahmed Karfi.

The Ministry of Communications and Aviation consisted of Chief S.L. Akintola (Minister), Mr. C.E. Wool-Lewis (Permanent Secretary), Mr. A.K. Edwards (Private Secretary) and Mr. A.J.U. Ekong(Parliamentary Secretary). The Ministry for Lagos Affairs, Mines and Power consisted of Alhaji Muhammadu Ribadu(Minister), Mr. J.F.G. Sykes (Permanent Secretary), Mr. G.C. Thomas (Private Secretary) and Malam Ibrahim Usman (Parliamentary Secretary).

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry consisted of Dr. K.O. Mbadiwe (Minister), Mr. J.H.D. Stapleton, Mr. C.R. Henniken-Heaton (Private Secretary) and Mr. U.O. Ndem (Parliamentary Secretary). The Ministry of Transport consisted of Mr. R.A. Njoku (Minister), Mr. A.M. Muir (Acting Permanent Secretary), Mr. P.G. Abbey (Private Secretary) and Mr. F.E. Offor (Parliamentary Secretary). The Ministry of Works and Survey consisted of Alhaji Muhmmadu Inuwa Wada (Minister), Mr. V.H.K. Littlewood (Permanent Secretary), Mr. J. Taggert (Private Secretary) and Malam Usman Sarki (Parliamentary Secretary).

The Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Internal Affairs consisted of Mr. Mr. J.M. Johnson (Minister), Mr. H.A. G. Action(Permanent Secretary), N.R Ugo (Private Secretary) and Chief O. Oweh (Parliamentary Secretary). The Ministry of Research and Information consisted of Chief Kolawole Balogun (Minister), Mr. D.H. Griffiths (Permanent Secretary), Mr. C. Okigbo (Private Secretary) and Mr. O. Bademosi (Parliamentary Secretary). The Ministry of Education consisted of Mr. Aja Nwachukwu (Minister), Mr. C.J. Mabey (Permanent Secretary), Mr. P.C. Ndibe and Mr. D.C. Ugwu (Parliamentary Secretary).

The Ministry of Health consisted of Mr. Ayo Rosiji (Minister), Mr. M.N.H. (Acting Permanent Secretary), Mr. S. Agodo (Private Secretary) and Chief Duro Phillips (Parliamentary Secretary).

The Ministry of Finance consisted of Chief F.S. Okotie-Eboh (Minister), Mr. G.G. Carlyle(Permanent Secretary), Mr. E.M. McConchie (Private Secretary) and Chief H. Omo-Osagie (Parliamentary Secretary). Ministers of State were Mr. Victor Mukete, Malam Zanna Bukar Dipcharima and Private Secretary, Mr.M.O. Nwakwo.

Office of the Governor-General consisted of the Deputy Governor-General, Sir, Ralph Grey, Secretary to the Governor-General and Council of Ministers, Mr. F.F.P. Newns, Mr. D.J. Brown (Private Secretary) and Aide-de-Camp, Mr. D.G. Angus.

The Chambers of the Attorney-General consisted of Mr. E.I.G. Unsworth, Q.C., and Solicitor General Mr. L. Brett, Q.C. The Privy Council consisted of the Governor General; Sir Ralph Grey: The Attorney-General; Sir Kofo Abayomi: The Prime Minister; Mr. R.A. Njoku; Sir Samuel Manuwa.

After discussions between the N.P.C. and N.C.N.C. officially described as friendly and cordial, a new Federal Government was formed on the 20th December 1959. N.P.C. had ten ministers and N.C.N.C. seven.

The Coalition Government consisted of Prime Minister Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Alhaji Muhammadu Ribadu (Lands and Lagos Affairs), Chief Festus Okotie-Eboh(finance), Mr. Raymond Njoku (Transport and Aviation), Alhaji Inuwa Wada (Works and Survey), Mr. Z.B. Dipcharima(Commerce and Industries), Mr. Joseph Johnson (Labour and Welfare), Mr. Aja Nwachukwu(Education), Mallam Maitama Sule (Mines and Power), Mallam Shehu Shagari (Economic Development and Natural Resources), Mr. Olu Akinfosile (Communications), Mallam Usman Seriki (Internal Affairs), Mr. Theophilus Benson (Information), Mallam Waziri Ibrahim (Health), Mallam Yisa Yar’adua (Pensions, Establishment & Nigerianisation) and Mr. Matthew Mbu and Mr. Olarewanju (Ministers of State) .

The list of the 11 Ministers without portfolio but with Cabinet rank appointed to the reorganized Federal Cabinet on March 31, 1965 was as follows—Alhaji Nuhu Bamali—Minister of State in the Ministry of State in the Ministry of External Affairs, Mr. Jaja Nwachukwu—Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Mr. M.T. Mbu—Minister of State in the Ministry in the Ministry of Defence (Navy), Alhaji Usman Maitambari—Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport, Alhaji Hashim Adaji—Minister of State in the Ministry of Works, Alhaji Ibrahim Tako—Minister of State in the Ministry of Defence (Army), Mr. T.E. Orodi—Minister of State in the Ministry of Lagos Affairs, Chief H.O. Davies—Minister of State in the Ministry of Industries, Chief A. Akerele—Minister of State in the Ministry of Information, Alhaji Abdul Rasaq—Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport and Mr. D. Ibekwe—Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs.

In a new government, the Portfolios being distributed were as follows—Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa(Prime Minister and External Affairs), Alhaji Muhmmadu Ribadu(Defence), Chief Festus Okotie-Eboh(Finance), Alhaji Shehu Shagari(Internal Affairs), Alhaji Muhhammadu Inuwa Wada(Works), Alhaji Zanna Bukar Dipcharima(Transport), Mr Raymond Njoku(Communications), Dr Kingsley O. Mbadiwe(Trade), Mr Jaja Nwachukwu(Aviation), Chief Adeniran Ogunsanya(Housing and Survey), Chief A.M.A. Akinloye(Industries), Chief Ayo Rosiji(Information), Mr. R.A. Akinjide(Education), Mr. Adeleke Adedoyin(Labour), Mr. Alade Lamuye(Natural Resources and Research), Alhaji Yusufu Maitama Sule (Mines and Power), Alhaji Waziri A. Ibrahim(Economic Development), Dr. T.O. Elias (Attorney-General and Justices, Dr. M.A. Majekodunmi(Health) and Chief J.C. Obande(Establishments).

In the 1963 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Section 87 subsection 4-7 clearly states that “(4) Appointments to the office of Minister of the Government of the Federation other than the office of Prime Minister shall be made by the President, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister (5) A person shall not hold office at the same time both as a Minister of the Government of the Federation and as a Minister of the Government of a Region (6) A person who holds office as Minister of the Government of the Federation for any period of four consecutive months without also being a Senator or a member of the House of Representatives shall cease to be a Minister at the expiration of that period or, if that period expires at a time when Parliament is dissolved and he does not in the meantime become a Senator or a member of the House of Representatives, at the date on which Parliament first meets after that dissolution.

(7) A person who holds office as a Minister of the Government of the Federation and who is at no time, while holding that office also a Senator or a member of the House of Representatives shall not be qualified for reappointment as such a Minister before Parliament is next dissolved after he ceases to hold that office, unless in the meantime he has become a Senator or a member of the House of Representatives”.

I don’t want to refer to the military era as regards to the appointments of ministers since the military government is not an elected government.
On October 18, 1979, President Usman Aliyu Shehu Shagari GCFR submitted to the Senate presided over by Dr. Joseph Wayas, the confirmation of the following list as ministers and ministers without cabinet rank.

They were M. Mohammed Ibrahim Hassan (Bauchi), M. Adamu Ciroma(Borno), Mr. Isaac Shaahu and Mr. Paul Unongo(Benue), Professor Iya Abubakar(Gongola), Alhaji Umaru Dikko and Professor Ishaya Audu(Kaduna), Alhaji Bello Maitama Yusuf(Kano), Alhaji Akanbi Oniyangi(Kwara), Alhaji Ndagi Mamudu(Niger), Mrs Adenike Ebun Oyagbola(Ogun), Mr. Samuel Adebisi Ogedengbe(Ondo), Chief Richard O. Akinjide(Oyo), Mr. John Jatau Kadiya and Mr. Gorge Baba Hoomkwap(Plateau), Mr. Victor Masi(Rivers), Alhaji Ibrahim Gusau(Sokoto), Mr. D.C. Ugwu and Mr. Chimezie Ikeazor(Anambra), Professor Sunday Matthew Essang(Cross River), Mr. Amadi Emina(Bendel), Dr. Sylvester Ugoh and Dr. I.I. Maduike(Imo) and Dr. Wahab Olaseinde Dosunmu(Lagos).

Ministers with non-cabinet rank included Alhaji Ahmed Musa(Bauchi), Chief P. Bolokor (Bendel), Alhaji Asheikh Jarma(Borno), Alhaji Ali Baba(Gongola), M. Iro Abubakar Dan-Musa(Kaduna), Alhaji Bilyamin Usman(Kano), Mr. Ademola Thomas(Lagos), Chief Olu Awotesu(Ogun), Chief Mrs. J. Akinrinade(Oyo), Alhaji Ahmudu Nahuce(Sokoto), Chief E. Okoi-Obuli(Cross River), Mallam Mamman Ali Makele(Kwara), Mr. Cladius Agboola Bamgboye(Ondo) and Dr. Jakiri Igbani(Rivers).

He later fired Chief Paul Unongo and replaced him with Chief Audu Ugbeh.
In the second term of President Shehu Shagari other Ministers were appointed including Chief Eleazor Chukwuemeka Anyaoku (90) CFR from Obosi in Anambra State, who later became the Secretary General of Commonwealth from 1990 to year 2000. Chief Anyaoku married Princess Bunmi from Abeokuta in 1962.

In 1999, President Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR appointed Ministers of State. They included Mrs Modupe Adelaja (Defence), Chief Dubem Onyia (Foreign Affairs), Alhaji Musa Elayo Abdullahi (Justice), Chief Chris Agbobu(Agriculture and Rural Development), Alhaji L. Ade Haruna Elewi (Communications), Mallam L. Tukur Batagarawa (Defence-Army), Alhaji Bello Usman (Education), Dr. Imeh T. Okopido(Environment), Mr. Solomon S.A. Ewuga(Federal Capital Territory, FCT), Senator Jubril Martins-Kuye (Finance), Dr. (Mrs.) Aminat Ndalolo (Health), Chief Lawrence Nwuruku (Industry), Mr. Garba Madaki Ali (Transport), Mr. Yomi Edu (Special Duties, The Presidency), Alhaji Ibrahim Umar Kida (Inter-Governmental Affairs, The Presidency), Dr. Mohammed Shata (Internal Affairs), Alhaji Danjuma Goje (Power and Steel), Mrs. Pauline K-Tallen(Science and Technology), Mr. Isa Yuguda (Transport), Chief Precious Ngelale (JP)(Water Resources), and Prince Vincent Ogbulafor(Economic Affairs, The Presidency).
Section 147 and 148 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria states that (1) there shall be such offices of

Ministers of the Government of the Federation as may be established by the President. (2) Any appointment to the office of Minister of the Government of the Federation shall, if the nomination of any person to such office is confirmed by the Senate, be made by the President. (3) Any appointment under subsection (2) of this section by the President shall be in conformity with the provisions of section 14(3) of this Constitution:- provided that in giving effect to the provisions aforesaid the President shall appoint at least one Minister from each State, who shall be an indigene of such State.

(4) Where a member of the National Assembly or of a House of Assembly is appointed as Minister of the Government of the Federation, he shall be deemed to have resigned his membership of the National Assembly or of the House of Assembly on his taking the oath of office as Minister. (5) No person shall be appointed as a Minister of the Government of the Federation unless he is qualified for election as a member of the House of Representatives.

(6) An appointment to any of the offices aforesaid shall be deemed to have been made where no return has been received from the Senate within twenty-one working days of the receipt of nomination by the Senate.
Section 148 (1) states that “The President may, in his discretion, assign to the Vice-President or any Minister of the Government of the Federation responsibility for any business of the Government of the Federation, including the administration of any department of government.

The President has the power to assign administrative responsibility to the Vice-President of any Minister regarding any business or department of the Government.) Section 148 (2) The President shall hold regular meetings with the Vice-President and all the Ministers of the Government of the Federation for the purposes of – (The President should have regular meetings with the Vice-President and all the Ministers in regards the following: – )

Section 148 (2)(a) determining the general direction of domestic and foreign policies of the Government of the Federation;(When it relates to the general direction of local and foreign policies of the government.) Section 148 (2)(b) co-ordinating the activities of the President, the Vice-President and the Ministers of the Government of the Federation in the discharge of their executive responsibilities; and (Meetings held in order to arrange the activities of the President, Vice-President and Ministers and in doing so, assist them in discharging their executive functions/ responsibilities.) Section 148 (2)(c) advising the President generally in discharge of his executive functions other than those functions with respect to which he is required by this Constitution to seek the advice or act on the recommendation of any other person or body.

(In those meetings, the Vice-President and or the Ministers can advise the President on how best to discharge his executive functions but this does not include functions which the Constitution has stated that the President should be advised or an on the recommendation of a Body or any other person.)

Between 1999 and 2001, President Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR was worried about the conflict between Ministers and Ministers of State and the clash between Ministers and Permanent Secretaries. He held three retreats in Abuja on this issue. The fourth retreat was held at the National Institute For Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos between 23rd-25th February 2001.

The Head of Service, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed attended the retreat as well as the following Permanent Secretaries then. They are Alhaji Umar M. Abubakar, Engr. D.B. Usman, Dr. K. Nkumah, Mr. M.O. Onoja, Dr. R.O. Mowoe, Dr. M. Babangida Aliyu, Dr. B.K. Kaigama, Dr. O.M. Ojo, Mr. John P. Hirse, Alhaji Bello U. Maiatmbari, Alhaji Guda A. Abdullahi, Mr. O.O.O. Ogunkua, Mr. G.O. Enukora, Dr. Aboki Zhawa, Mr. Garba Buwaijmni, Amb. T.D. Hart, Mr.A.E. Ogbuehi, Alhaji H.Z. Akwanga, Rev. P.O. Okunromade, Dr. C.J.G. Orjioke, Mr. T.D. Oyelade, Dr. S.I. Muhammad, Alhaji N.B. Dambatta, Mr. O.O. Oyelakin, Mr.L.N. Asugha, Amb. G.B. Preware, Dr. Abdullahi Aliyu, Ms. T.O. Akerele, Ms. A.I. Pepple, Alhaji Tukur Mani, James Kayode Naiyeju, Ammuna Lawrence-Ali, Alhaji I. Talba, Dr. Hakeem Baba Ahmed, David O. Oyegun, Mr. A.O. Okafor, Mrs. A.M. Rufai, Mrs G.I. Archibong, Dr. R.O. Adewoye, Dr. B.A. Akinola and P.N. Akubueze.

Also in attendance were the Governor of Plateau State, Chief Joshua Dariye, Ambassador O. Esan(Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, State House), Ambassador E.A. Azikiwe, Senior Special Assistant to the President(Anti-Corruption and Transparency Matters), Bisi Ogunniyi, Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff to the President, Presidential Villa, Abuja, Major General J.N. Garba(rtd.), Director General, NIPSS, Kuru, Jos, Dr. Stanley Macebuh, Senior Special Assistant to the President (Special Duties), Tunji Oseni, Senior Special Assistant to the President, (Media & Publicity) Presidential Villa, Abuja, Mr Ad’obe Obe, Senior Special Assistant to the President(International Relations), Dr. Goke Adegoroye, Director (Special Duties) to the SGF, Mrs. Titi Iroche, Director of Political Affairs, Mr. S.A. Adeyeye (Special Assistant 1 to the SGF), Dr. J.N. Obiegbu (Special Assistant II to the SGF), Mr. F.O. Osobukola, Deputy Director (APD) OSGF and Alhaji Ibrahim Jega, Deputy Director (SWT) OSGF.

Professor Akin Mabogunje, Chief Kanu Agabi SAN, the Chairman of Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, Justice M.M.A. Akanbi, Dr. G.A. Gundu, Mr. O.S. Ogedengbe, Mr. Wuese Ai, Mr. F.F. Ogunshakin, Mr. J. Okpo, Mr. K.J. Wudil, Mr. E.I. Onuoha, Mr. A. Mohammed and Mr. O.I. Adisa, all from THE CABINET SECRETARIAT, Mr. Seyi Olowokere as well as myself attended the retreat.

The following Ministers attended the retreat Chief Bola Ige (SAN), Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Alhaji Adamu Bello, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. (Mrs.) Kema Chikwe, Minister of Aviation, Alhaji Muhammad Arzika, Minister of Communications, Ms Boma Bromillow Jack, Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mrs Modupe Adelaja, Minister of State, Defence(Navy), Professor A.B. Borishade, Minister of Education, Alhaji Muhammad Kabir Said, Minister of Environment, Engr. Mohammed Abba-Gana, Minister of Federal Capital, Mallam Adamu Ciroma, Minister of Finance, Chief Dubem Onyia, Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Alhaji Musa Elayo Abdullahi, Minister of State, Justice, Chief Chris Agbobu, Minister of State, Agriculture and Rural Development, Engr. Mustapha Bello, Minister of Commerce, Alhaji L. Ade Haruna-Elewi, Minister of State, Communications, Mallam L. Tukur Batagarawa, Minister of State, Defence (Army) and Engr. Dan Chuke, Minister of State, Defence (Airforce).

Others are Alhaji Bello Usman, Minister of State, Education, Dr. Imeh T. Okopido, Minister of State, Environment, Mr. Solomon S.A. Ewuga, Minister of State, Federal Capital Territory, Senator Jubril Martins-Kuye, Minister of State, Finance, Professor A.B.C. Nwosu, Minister of Health, Dr. (Mrs) Aminat Ndalolo, Minister State for Health, Chief Lawrence Nwuruku, Minister of State, Industry, Chief S.M. Afolabi (JP), Minister of Internal Affairs, Alhaji Musa Musa Gwadabe, Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Olusegun Agagu, Minister of Power and Steel, Professor Turner Isoun, Minister of Science and Technology, Mr. Kanu G. Agabi, (SAN), Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Chief Ojo Madueke, Ministry of Transport, Colonel Mohammed B. Kaliel (Rtd.), Hajia Aishatu M.S. Ismail, Minister of Women Affairs and Youth Development,

The remaining Ministers at the retreat are Mr. Garba Madaki Ali, Minister of State, Transport, Mr. Yomi Edu, Minister of State, Special Duties, The Presidency, Alhaji Ibrahim Umar Kida, Minister of State, Inter-Governmental Affairs, The Presidency, Chief Kolawole B. Jamodu, Minister of Industry, Professor Jerry Gana, Minister of Information and National Orientation, Dr. Mohammed Shata, Minister of State, Internal Affairs, Mr. Steven Ibn Akiga, Minister of Police Affairs, Alhaji Danjuma Goje, Minister of State, Power and Steel, Mrs. Pauline K-Tallen, Minister of State, Science and Technology, Mr. Ishaya Mark Aku, Minister of Sports and Social Development, Mr. Isa Yuguda, Minister of State, Transport, Chief Precious Ngelale (JP) Minister of State, Water Resources, Chief Tony Anenih, Minister of Works and Housing, Chief Bimbola Ogunkelu, Minister of Cooperation and Integration in Africa, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, Minister of State, Economic Matters, The Presidency and Chief Phillip Asiodu, Chief Economic Adviser and Vice Chairman, National Planning Commission.

At the end of the retreat, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Ufot Ekaette, read out a communiqué on harmonizing the Functions of Ministers and Minister of State. He declared “at the inception of this administration, Mr. President in consonance with Section 148 of the 1999 Constitution, assigned responsibilities to Honourable Ministers, Ministers of State, Special Advisers, etc. The exercise was to ensure that every Minister had well spelt out functions and that by each focusing on specific areas, achieving the goals of Government would be accelerated.

It was never meant to split a Ministry into two functional (or, in extreme cases, factional) units, making cohesion and mobilisation of available resources for effective execution of mandate of Ministries impossible to achieve. Ministries must be run as single units, and both Ministers must be aware of every detail of their operations. At both 2nd and 3rd Retreats we recognized that the recurring issues of inter-personal relationship between Ministers, Ministers of State and Permanent Secretaries is a question of human relationship and urged participants to draw from the example of the relationship and urged participants to draw from the example of the relationship between Mr. President and Vice President and the other Principal officers in the Presidency and use that as a model”.

Since then, the conflict between Ministers and Ministers of State is yet to be resolved and worse still, they have a joint Permanent Secretary.
At present the following are Federal Ministries—Ministry of Petroleum, Ministry of Federal Capital Territory, Ministry of Niger Delta, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Special Duties, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Power, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Health, Ministry for Budget, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Communication, Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Aviation, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Information and Culture, Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Works and Housing, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Women Affairs , Ministry of Police Affairs and Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development

The 1999 Constitution empowers the President to nominate a Minister from each state as well as the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Since we have thirty Ministries, what the President should do is to upgrade seven Ministries for special duties. We don’t want a situation where someone will be classified a super human being with three Ministries attached to him with cabinet rank, while others will be classified as mere Ministers of State.

There is nowhere in the 1999 Constitution where a minister is designated Minister of State.
Ministers of State are suffering in silence inspite of their schedule of responsibilities. They feel dehumanised and feel inferior. Their agony should be avoided.

Moreover, we should stop the current procedure of appointing six Ministers to represent the six geographical zones in the country. It makes the CABINET to be in fact too large and uncontrollable. Zones are not recognized in the Constitution.

Expectedly, the issue of appointments has split the caucus of President Elect, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu. One hopes that the split will not deepen further. It happens always when sharing the spoils of war. It is inevitable given the circumstances of his victory in the Presidential election which in still in dispute.

Sharing the spoils of war is in fact more difficult than winning the war. The President Elect I am sure knows what to do, for you do not teach an old dog new tricks. He should however note that his choice of appointments will no doubt shape his PRESIDENCY. He should be reminded constantly that the fate of his PRESIDENCY is still in court. He should learn from two examples, Namibia and Kenya, where the courts have removed the incumbent Presidents.

On February 3, 2020, the Constitutional Court in Malawi removed from office, President Peter Matharika and on May 8, 2020, the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Andrew Nyrenda, approved the removal with 4 to 2 votes. In Kenya, the Supreme Court headed by Justice David Kenani Maraga(72) in August 2017, removed the then President, Uhuru Kenyatta, and ordered a rerun of the Presidential election. President Kenyatta later won the rerun election against Raila Odinga.

I don’t know when the Supreme Court in Nigeria will finally decide on the Presidential Election. If I am to go by past records, I don’t think the judgment can be earlier than November. Right now the President of the Court of Appeal, Honourable Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem(66) is yet to name members of the Presidential Election Panel, although she has constituted members of the state appeal panels. The last chairman of the Panel, Mr. Justice Muhammmed Lawan Garuba(65) from Zamfara state, was on November 6, 2020 elevated to the Supreme Court. He was among the six judges whose names were sent to President Muhammadu Buhari for Senate confirmation in 2020.
Justice Garuba’s panel gave judgment on the appeal filed by former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar on September 12 2019 while the final judgment was given on October 30, 2019. It was a unanimous decision by the Supreme Court then, presided over by the then Chief Justice, Tanko Mohammed(69) GCON.

Other judges of the Supreme Court that gave the judgment were Justice Bode Rhode-Vivour, Justice Kayode Ariwoola, Justice Amiru Sanusi, Justice John Okoro, Justice Ejembi Eko and Justice Uwuni Abba Aji.

Even before the Supreme Court gives final ruling, after inauguration on Monday, May 29, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has enough time to show his credentials to this country that he truly deserves to be the President.


Teniola, a former Director at the Presidency wrote from Lagos.