The outgoing Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, on Wednesday told President Muhammadu Buhari that it is an aberration to appoint a Minister of State.
The Minister stated this in his speech at the valedictory session presided over by President Buhari to mark the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) under his administration, at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to Keyamo, he was not trying to be disrespectful towards the president but wanted to contribute to the constitutional development of the country.
He noted that some Ministers of State have been grumbling behind the president’s back and are afraid to speak out because they do not want to sound ungrateful.
The Minister of State, who thanked President Buhari for enriching his Curriculum Vitae through the appointment, said it would be difficult to assess the individual performances of the Ministers of State since their discretion was shackled under the discretion of the Ministers as any original ideas developed by a Minister of State are subject to clearance by another colleague in Cabinet before they can sail through for consideration by the Council.
He said: “What I am about to say, therefore, is not and should not be construed as an indication of ingratitude. Far from it. What I am about to say is just my own little contribution to our constitutional development as a relatively young democracy and to aid future governments to optimize the performance of those they appoint as Ministers.
“Mr. President, the concept or designation of “Minister of State” is a constitutional aberration and is practically not working for many so appointed. Successive governments have come and gone and many who were appointed as Ministers of State have not spoken out at a forum such as this because of the risk of sounding ungrateful to the Presidents who appointed them. However, like I said earlier, this is not ingratitude.
“As a private citizen, I am on record to have gone to court a number of times to challenge unconstitutional acts of governments for the sake of advancing our constitutional democracy, so it will be out of character for me to have gone through government and be carried away by the pomp of public office and forget my role as a member of the Inner Bar and my self-imposed role over the years as a crusader for democracy and constitutionalism.”
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