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Presidency: Why Ministers Are Restricted From The Villa

Posted by From Madu Onuorah, Abuja on 2008/10/19 | Views: 2747 |

Presidency: Why Ministers Are Restricted From The Villa


THE Presidency yesterday explained the rationale behind the restriction in the frequency of visits by Ministers to the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

THE Presidency yesterday explained the rationale behind the restriction in the frequency of visits by Ministers to the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

This is to enable President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua and Vice President Goodluck Jonathan concentrate on their jobs and put a stop to "unnecessary" trips to the Villa for routine administrative matters that do not require their presence.

Under the new policy, apart from his major personal aides, only seven Ministers handling major critical ministries and heads of critical federal agencies would have direct access to the President and the Vice President in all official matters.

All the others would have to be dealing with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), who will act as "a buffer."

However, the Ministers are allowed to visit on "only important matters that would require the personal intervention of either the President or the Vice President."

The Presidency also confirmed that the President is ready for the cabinet reshuffle this week, with the approval of the details of the 2009 budget last Friday.

Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity), Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi told The Guardian in an exclusive interview, that:

"I can assure you the President is ready for the cabinet reshuffle. I believe it will happen next week, or at least the process will begin with the submission of the list of the new nominees to the Senate."

Adeniyi explained that the President had to tarry on the issue when the international financial crisis threw some of the 2009 projections "into a yoyo," with the current slide in the global price of oil.

"That has delayed the 2009 budget preparations, which the President wanted concluded before the cabinet reshuffle," he said.

"As you are already aware, the Federal Executive Council (held) a special session on the 2009 budget Friday. Once that is concluded, you should expect the reshuffle, hopefully next week."

Adeniyi also confirmed the lifting of the suspension order on the German firm, Siemens. The firm has been suspended in 2006 from operating in Nigeria following its involvement in a corruption scandal.

He said the suspension "has been lifted and they can now do business in Nigeria, having agreed to abide by international best practices."

Besides, he gave an insight into the nature of the Ministry of Niger Delta envisaged by the President, stating that, "it is going to be a specialised ministry with very few departments. So, in essence, the conception is for it to be lean and efficient."

"From all my interactions with the President on the issue, I think he would not want to see more than four substantive departments in that Ministry," he said.

Adeniyi explained the restriction of the daily movements to the Presidential Villa as part of the restructuring and enthronement of efficiency in the operations of the federal government.

He said: "The President deplores a situation in which Ministers, rather than stay in their respective offices working, would spend the whole day in the Villa waiting to see either him or the Vice President for what often turns out to be matters they could easily have handled on their own.

"Most often, many bring files containing memos they could easily have sent through normal channels, knowing they would get early response.

"When you add that to Governors who have unhindered access, when do the President and Vice President have time to work?"

He added that many things were being streamlined at the Villa and as such, it is the SGF, acting as a buffer, that would determine if those Ministers have to see either the President or the Vice President during official working hours in the office.

"The President does not micromanage and so has given the Ministers all the powers to do their job," he said. "There is no reason why they should come and line up in his office waiting to see him or the Vice President with a mere memo that could have been routed through normal administrative channel."

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.