President Muhammadu Buhari may not appoint ministers “in the next two months”, The Nation learnt at the weekend.
Three factors may account for the delay. They are:
•the President’s plan to clear the “rot” inherited from the Goodluck Jonathan administration;
•the crisis in the National Assembly over the choice of principal officers; and
•the need to reduce ministries and parastatals.
But the reduction or merger of ministries or parastatals will, however, not lead to retrenchment of workers.
A Presidency source, who had a confidential briefing with some journalists in Abuja, said the mess Buhari inherited was “sickening”.
The source said: “You cannot even begin to imagine the situation we have met on the ground.
”Almost everything is in a state of decay. There is absolutely no way the new government can hope to achieve anything long-lasting without first building a new foundation.”
The source said President Buhari’s plan of action could be compared to that of “a doctor who first has to break a poorly set bone afresh, before resetting it to allow for smooth and proper growth”.
On the National Assembly crisis, the source said it was “yet one more excuse why forming a cabinet will be impossible until further notice”.
He added: “Look at how they are fighting among themselves.
“The Senate has now adjourned till July 21. That means no one to scrutinize or approve any ministerial list until the end of July.”
When told that the National Assembly said it was ready to cut short its break to consider any request from the President, the source asked the reporters to await the President’s “long-awaited” intervention in the crisis between the party and the National Assembly.
”The President wants to walk his talk on stable politics and being a leader for all. He has a plan for the National Assembly.”
The source debunked the insinuations that the delay in appointing ministers had stalled the government.
He said civil servants had been “supervising the day-to-day running of ministries and that permanent secretaries of the various ministries have access to the President”.
He added: “All these reports and agitations are being fuelled by politicians who want to put pressure on the President.
“They have tried doing it other ways and those haven’t worked. Now, they are trying to use the media. They only want their cronies appointed to ministerial posts anyhow and they are fuelling the agitation through newspapers.”
He advised the media not to fall for the “old tricks and shenanigans” of politicians.
Buhari is set to reduce or merge some ministries and parastatals to make the size of the civil service manageable for efficiency.
The exercise will, however, not lead to retrenchment of workers.
The source added: “The President plans to cut down the number of ministries and parastatals.
“He wants to cut down the cost of running government. He wants to make sure that all the loopholes that enable corruption to thrive are blocked. All these are procedures that require time and careful planning. You cannot do it in a rush.
“Remember that he has to make sure that all this is done without any job losses or mass retrenchments. All this is not a day’s or one-month job.”
He added that President Buhari could not realistically have begun this process without first receiving the full report of the transition committee and ascertaining exactly the situation his government faced.
The spokesmen of the President, Mr. Femi Adesina (Special Adviser on Media and Publicity) and Mallam Garba Shehu (the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity) said this narrative as the “nearest to the truth than all that are being peddled by many others.”
The President has been criticised in the past few weeks for allegedly being slow in constituting his cabinet.
Some critics accused Buhari of not planning enough to hit the ground running since his election on March 28