By Goodluck Ikiebe
The outgoing Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo says it is an aberration to appoint a Minister of State.
He stated this while making a speech during a valedictory session chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday.
Citing some portions of the constitution, Keyamo, however, noted that his observation was not out of ingratitude but as his contribution to the nation’s constitutional development.
He said: “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.”
On the way forward, he said: “Many ministerial retreats have been held to try and resolve the issues between ministers and ministers of State.
President Obasanjo held four of such retreats, with the last one holding at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos, from 23rd to 25th February, 2001. Yet, the problems persisted.
“Mr. President, unknown to many, successive Presidents and the general public, these conflicts gravely affect the optimal performance of Governments. What is the way forward?
“Obviously, the argument that two Ministers are cramped into some ministries in order not to unnecessarily proliferate ministries and therefore save government’s money is no longer tenable. This is because government does not need any extra infrastructure or more money to maintain all Senior 36 Ministers or even a bit more appointed as is now the custom.
“This is because the present ministers and ministers of state have their separate offices, cars, security personnel and personal aides. So, what is the point?”