Buhari won’t attach value to ministers – PDP

The national leadership of the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, has alleged that ministers will be useless in President Muhammadu Buhari’s government.

The party said the disposition of the President was not to appoint aides, but to run the government as a sole administrator.

It alleged that this was the reason why President Buhari had been shifting the dates when he would appoint members of his cabinet, adding that the President had also tagged ministers as “noise makers.”

The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Olisa Metuh, stated this at a press briefing in Abuja on Monday.

Metuh alleged that because of the President’s disposition, those to be appointed ministers would not be respected by Buhari.

The spokesman for the opposition party said, “The flip-flopped promise of our President to name a cabinet, a deadline which he shifted from two weeks of assumption of office to the end of September, is actually a reluctant pledge and done under great duress.

“From his hesitancy and comments, it is deducible that President Buhari never intended to appoint ministers but rather prefers to run a monocracy and evidently does not value or respect those he would nominate as ministers.

“Otherwise, how can anyone repackage the mindset of the President when he, in an interview with France 24 Television in France, stated categorically that his preference is to rule without a cabinet and denigrated ministers as ‘noise makers,’ and of no importance or value in the running of an administration?

“Given this worrisome outlook, it is obvious that the Presidency would not attach any value or importance to the ministers under the new sheriff.”

Metuh added that the refusal of the President to have a cabinet was already taking its toll on government’s activities, both in the country and outside.

“The refusal to have ministers has resulted in the government conveying dictatorial inclinations as amply exhibited in its adamant stance in running a government without the statutory component of an executive cabinet, even when the negative consequences of this strange totalitarian approach are taking serious toll on the polity,” he added.

Metuh also alleged that the recent case of the absence of Nigeria at one of the meetings at the 70th United Nations General Assembly in New York, where the issue of humanitarian crisis arising from the insurgency in Lake Chad countries including Nigeria, was a further proof of the ineptitude of the handlers of the President on national and international issues.

He said his party was angry because of what he described as the President’s delegation’s dereliction of duty, which he said manifested in the snubbing of a crucial meeting where countries affected by Boko Haram insurgency sought international assistance for millions of people displaced by terrorism.

He said that whereas other affected Chad basin countries were fully represented and had fruitful discussions with officials of the world body, the government of Nigeria, which had the biggest challenge of displaced persons, was nowhere to be found.

He said, “Much more pathetic and shocking, but very revealing of the insincerity and ineptitude of those around the President was the disconcerting excuse by an aide of the President in trying to explain away this blunder.

“Instead of admitting failure and apologising to Nigerians, the Presidency sought to hoodwink the public by claiming that the meeting was not one of the official events for which the President and his delegation are in New York, only for the official brochure of the meeting tagged, ‘High Level Event on the Lake Chad Basin’, to show that ‘high level representation from the government of Nigeria’ was scheduled to make contributions at the meeting.”

But the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, Mallam Garba Shehu, insisted that the meeting in question was a side-event, not an official meeting, otherwise he said it would have been listed as a UN event on its calendar of meetings.

He said in an electronic mail to our correspondent that it was not true that the meeting “was a high-level meeting. High-level meetings are attended by Presidents.”

Shehu added, “Only the Secretary-General can call high-level meetings. The meeting called by Stephen O’Brien, an Under-Secretary General, is a right step in the right direction.

“Unfortunately, there is no record of any invitation to the Nigerian Mission as confirmed by our Permanent Representative in UN, Prof. Joy Ogwu.”

Attempts to get a reaction from the governing All Progressives Congress were unsuccessful. Calls to the mobile telephone number of the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, were neither picked nor returned.

A response to a text message sent to him on the subject was still being awaited as of the time of filing this report (8.10pm.).