All is set for the inauguration of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) following President Muhammadu Buhari’s receipt of the list of ministers-designate from Senate President Bukola Saraki.
The would-be ministers will begin a retreat in Abuja tomorrow to prepare them for the task ahead, it was learnt.
They may be sworn in next week as the retreat is expected to end on Friday.
Buhari and ministerial nominees
President Buhari did not indicate when they will be sworn in when he received Saraki in Abuja yesterday.
He, however, said not all the ministers-designate would get portfolios.
Buhari thanked Saraki for the Senate’s clearance of his nominees, adding that he followed constitutional provision in picking his team.
The Constitution, he said, stated that there must be a minister from each of the 36 states.
Buhari,Osinbajo,Saraki and NASS members
“That was why I limited the number to 36”, the President noted, adding:
“The Constitution said there must be one member of the cabinet from all the states but the Constitution did not say I must have 36 ministries.”
He said the country could not afford a large carbinet because of the prevailing economic realities.
The economy, he said, had been battered, explaining that he was being factual by saying it as it is and “not to scare investors as the opposition is claiming”.
“Any investor who is interested in investing in Nigeria will know about the economy. So, when I talk about the position of the economy, I am also looking for investors,” Buhari said.
Earlier, Saraki said: “Mr. President, we finished the screening of the last batch of the ministers on Thursday and we waited for the adoption of our votes and proceedings today (yesterday) which we finished this morning.
“I want to formally present the list of the 18 ministers who have now been cleared to you and that makes a total of all your 36 nominees that have been cleared by the Senate.
“I was just engaging the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to check in the records when last that happened. So it must be a credit to the nominees that were submitted and also a credit to the Senate.”
Speaking with State House correspondents, Saraki said the screening and confirmation of the nominees were faster because of the quality of those presented by Buhari.
“Secondly, it is the fact that we put in the time to vigorously put the nominees to answer the questions and at the end of the day we found out that most of them met the requirement and the Senate was satisfied.”
On having ministers without portfolio, he said: “Well I think before we had ministers of state in the past, I don’t think there is anything new, there was minister for special duties which really doesn’t have a portfolio.
“I think the key issue is being in the cabinet; is being a part of government and those that would have the responsibilities of ministering are those that at the end of the day would do that.
He said the issue of his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) did not come up.
“Did you think that will come up in this kind of situation? No it didn’t come up,” he said.