A former Minister of Works, Chief Adeseye Ogunlewe, says President Muhammadu Buhari has already made all his key appointments and his government is fully formed.
He, therefore, urged the President to immediately swing into action, saying that the absence of ministers was no longer an excuse.
Ogunlewe, who was a member of the Senate between 1999 and 2003, said this during an interview with our correspondent on Wednesday.
Ogunlewe said the most important people in the government were the President, the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the President’s Chief of Staff.
He said since all these positions had been filled, Buhari had no excuse being slow.
He said, “Buhari’s cabinet has already has been formed. Any other person that comes now is a stranger and a mere visitor to the villa. The villa is the engine room of the nation in terms of policy formation and implementation. And these are the people that determine what will happen in Nigeria. The villa is the headquarters and who are the participants in the villa?
“The SGF and Chief of Staff are always with the President in the villa. Although the Senate President and the Speaker don’t live in the Villa, they are more important than the Vice-President. The Vice-President does only what the President tells him to do. He has no staff of his own. His staff are the staff of the President.
“So, the government is already formed and they have already been holding meetings. Even though the APC claims that the President still has thousands of other appointments to make, it is these people that will determine who will be appointed.
“It is the SGF that will write letters of appointment to appointees. As a minister, if you want to present a memo to the Federal Executive Council, you must go through the SGF. It is the SGF that will then forward the memo to the President. It is what he wants the President to see that he will see.”
Ogunlewe said those complaining of marginalisation should stop distracting the government because Buhari was not the kind of person that would easily change his mind.
He said it was the prerogative of the President to appoint those he trusts.
The former minister said Buhari could run the country with permanent secretaries and other principal officers in the villa without problems.
He added, “Even though there are no ministers, the President can set up a committee to assist him in policy formulation. The permanent secretaries will brief him of developments in each ministry. It is not new; Chief Obafemi Awolowo held direct meetings with permanent secretaries who are the accounting officers of each ministry.
“So, those saying Buhari was given handover notes late are just wasting time. The permanent secretaries can brief the President on the state of affairs in all the ministries.”