President Muhammadu Buhari Shocks His French Hosts When He Said Minister Do Nothing But Make A Lot Of Noise
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday in France, gave actual reason he is reluctant to appoint ministers and constitute his cabinet, as approved by the constitution, since inauguration last May 29. He said minister don’t have much to do, but make a lot of noise. Defending his preference to operate without a cabinet, the President said civil servants were preferable to ministers who are politicians and “make a lot of noise”.
President Buhari made the disclosures in an interview with French television station, France 24, yesterday. “No, It is what we know –and which we learnt from the western system. The civil service provides the continuity, the technocrats. And in any case, they are those that do most of the work”, he said in response to a question on if the absence of a finance minister was affecting the economy.
Explaining further, the President said: “The ministers are there, I think, 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; they have to provide the continuity, dig into the records and then guide us who are just coming in. “They have been there, some of them for 15 years, some for 20 years. So 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.”
He however re-affirmed his decision to name his cabinet before the end of current month, though he said time was running too fast for his liking. “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 stick to it. I will send the names to the National Assembly”, though he did not say how soon that would be.
Buhari’s interviewer also hinted him on insinuations that “the country runs better without ministers”. He replied: “When you started introducing me, you said I was around 1983 to 1985. Even then we had ministers. So under this system, we have to have ministers; and we are going to have ministers.” The President also assured that there would no longer be a devaluation of the naira noting that it had been over-devalued.
“The naira has been devalued, it used to be around 160, and now, it is hovering around 200 and above and I don’t think it is healthy for us to have the naira devalued further. “That’s why we are getting the central bank to make modifications in terms of making foreign exchange available to essential services, industries, spare parts, essential raw materials and so on – but things like toothpicks and rice, Nigeria can produce enough of those.
“We don’t need to give our hard currency on that but those who insist of having tooth pick from Europe or from China, instead of using Nigerian toothpick, they can go and source their foreign exchange”, he said.
He also expressed his fascination of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, noting that it was too big and “must be very expensive to maintain”. “When I was there I lived in the barracks. But now, I live in a palace. It is very big and must be very expensive to maintain” he said adding “I am the same person, but the environment has changed.”
– Paul Yovo (with agency reports)