President Muhamadu Buhari will appoint his ministers before month’s end as he promised although he believes technocrats do much of the job.
In a 12-minute interview with France 24 Television during his state visit to France from where he returned yesterday, the President was quoted to have said: “The ministers are there 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 to provide the continuity, dig into the records and then guide us, [those of us] who are just coming in.
“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.
“As for the cabinet, 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. I will send the names to the national assembly.
“We have a government but we don’t have a cabinet. I don’t know how you define that but we have a government and that is why I am here. Under this system, we have to have ministers and we are going to have ministers.
On Military, Boko Haram: “The results of the re-organisation we carried out in the military are being seen. There is progress being done. Our main concern is the condition of the Chibok girls and how we can recover them.
“We are occupied with negotiations and at this stage, it has to be confidential because we are not sure of the leadership of the Boko Haram- that we can talk with to get the girls released.
“ We have to first identify that those who claim to be Boko Haram leaders are actually the leaders, and they know where the Chibok girls are and their present condition.
“France is more hands-on in the Boko Haram issue because Nigeria is totally surrounded by former French colonial countries and France has maintained a strong relationship with its former colonies.
“ I don’t think it is healthy for us to further devalue the Naira. This is why we are getting the Central Bank of Nigeria to make some modifications, in terms of making foreign exchange available to essential services.
“Things like toothpick and rice, Nigeria can produce enough of those. We don’t need to use our hard currency on that but those who insist on buying toothpick from Europe and China, they can go ahead and buy foreign exchange.
“The last time I was leader, I was in the barracks, this time I’m in the palace. It is so big and very expensive to maintain but it is there, it cannot be removed. I don’t think I am a different man but I am coming back in a different system. A better system because this is what works.
“I was convinced in December 1991 when the Soviet union collapsed, that multi-party democratic system is the best form of government, otherwise it will be the same old problem.”