Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has on Friday in New Delhi, capital of India, gave hints on the shape of his cabinet, saying the country would be lucky if his administration is able to have half the number (21) of the 42 ministers that operated under the last administration.
He said he only sent names of 36 ministerial nominees to the Senate for confirmation because the constitution stipulates that each state of the federation must have representatives in his cabinet.
Speaking with pressmen, he said some of the ministerial nominees will end up “sitting” in federal executive council sessions rather emerging substantive ministers, lamenting the state of the economy, he said the government is broke.
Buhari said, “There was no reduction (of ministers) to 36. What the constitution says, and we cannot work outside the constitution, is that there must be a cabinet representative from each state.
“I cannot pay all ministers because the country is broke”, he said.
“Nigeria cannot pay salaries. The Federal Government itself had to summon the governor of the Central Bank to see how it would pay salaries not to talk of the agreements we signed with foreign countries, counterpart funding and so on.
“This country was materially vandalised and morally so and you are in a position to know even more than myself unless you are testing my knowledge whether I know it or not.”
“There used to be 42 ministers but we will be lucky if we can have half of that now, others may not be substantive ministers but they will sit in the cabinet because that is what the constitution says and we cannot work outside the constitution, he stated.
Buhari commended India for setting aside a grant of $10 billion for African countries, adding that the assistance will go a long way in helping to shape the continent.
He said he had been able to facilitate some deals that will end up benefitting the country by alleviating unemployment and serving as a boost the economy.