The Minister of State for Labour and Employment Mr Festus Keyamo said Wednesday that Ministers of State that served under the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration were redundant.
Speaking at the valedictory Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting chaired by the President at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Keyamo said the position of Minister of State is unconstitutional.
He said some Ministers of State have been grumbling and unable to be bold enough to speak out about what they were going through.
He said it would be challenging to evaluate the individual performances of the Ministers of State because their discretion was constrained by the discretion of the Ministers.
He said original ideas developed by a Minister of State would need to be approved by the Minister before they could be forwarded to Federal Executive Council for consideration.
“What I am about to say, therefore, is not and should not be construed as an indication of ingratitude; far from it. What I am about to say is just my own little contribution to our constitutional development as a relatively young democracy and to aid future governments to optimize the performance of those they appoint as Ministers.
“Mr. President, the concept or designation of “Minister of State” is a constitutional aberration and is practically not working for many so appointed. Successive governments have come and gone and many who were appointed as Ministers of State have not spoken out at a forum such as this because of the risk of sounding ungrateful to the Presidents who appointed them. However, like I said earlier, this is not ingratitude.
“As a private citizen, I am on record to have gone to court a number of times to challenge unconstitutional acts of governments for the sake of advancing our constitutional democracy, so it will be out of character for me to have gone through government and be carried away by the pomp of public office and forget my role as a member of the Inner Bar and my self-imposed role over the years as a crusader for democracy and constitutionalism,” he said.
Also speaking, the Minister of State for Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Mrs Rahamatu Tijjani said President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s achievements would have been unequalled if the Ministers of State were not suppressed by the Ministers.
Speaking to State House correspondents on the issue, she said: “If you are appointed, if you serve your state, if you underwent the same training, you attend the same FEC representing your people, why then is your voice hinged upon another minister’s voice? Why is lack of planning on another minister’s part an emergency on yours? Why is the label ineptitude now the label you will carry if he should fail?
“All these should be looked into by the next administration to put the country in the good part of trajectory. Let me tell you this, if and only if, and that is the little minus I saw in this administration, all ministers were allowed to perform, the performances of the government and the achievement of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, I’ll beat my chest and say they cannot be equaled. But if one plus one becomes one, then there is an issue.”