President Muhammadu Buhari has come under heavy criticisms over his directive to ministers asking them to channel all their meeting requests to him through his Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari.
Speaking at the close of the two-day retreat organised for the ministers, Buhari asked them to always go through Kyari for meeting requests and through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, for issues relating to the Federal Executive Council.
Speaking again during the swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday, the President said, “As I said yesterday (Tuesday), in terms of coordinating communication, kindly ensure that all submissions for my attention or meeting requests be channelled through the Chief of Staff while all Federal Executive Council matters be coordinated through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation in order to speed up the process of decision-making.”
But reacting to the directive, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said Buhari had with that directive abdicated his responsibility and reduced the ministers to Kyari’s clerical aides.
The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, told newsmen that, “By that directive, he has reduced the ministers to the clerical aides to the Chief of Staff and because of that even him, Mr President, has abdicated his responsibilities and assigned it to his Chief of Staff. That cannot lead to good governance in the next four years.
“The directive also suggests that Mr President as the Minister of Petroleum Resources will also go through the Chief of Staff on policy matters.
“He has abdicated his responsibility and ceded it to his Chief of Staff.”
On its part, the Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, said the President had elevated Kyari to the position of de facto prime minister.
The group’s spokesman, Mr Yinka Odumakin, said “that statement shows clearly that the President wants to reign as President. As a man that is reigning, he cannot be disturbed by matters of state, like ministers coming to disturb him and bringing files to him.
“So, he has delegated that responsibility to the de facto prime minister, the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari.
“In the midst of what we are going through, should ministers be going through Abba Kyari to see the President?”
He added, “We have seen the sterling performance he has shown in the last four years; of being the coordinator of the ministers. That is a joke; Abba Kyari has not shown any sterling quality.
“But our case is that in the midst of what we are, anybody that wants to govern Nigeria; that wants to achieve results and move the country out of these crises, that person should be holding almost a daily dialogue with the ministers.
“For Buhari to sit down in the Presidential Villa like a monarch and appoint a principal chief who other chiefs report to, I don’t think we understand where we are.”