By; SUNDAY ODE, Abuja
The Presidency on Sunday clarified that the roles of the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari , Abba Kyari, and that of the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha remained as there were in Buhari’s first tenure.
In a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the Presidency explained that the announcement to ministers at a retreat last week to channel all requests to him thought Kyari was for the benefit of the new appointees into the cabinet who may not be aware of the proper channels of communication to him.
Recall that President Buhari had repeatedly announced to the ministers-designate at a two day retreat held at the Presidential Villa to channel all requests to him through Kyari, while all matters relating to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) would be routed through Mustapha.
According to the statement, the clarification by the Presidency was necessitated by the wrong insinuations, especially in the social media that the roles of the two top government officials had changed in view of the President’s announcement at the retreat.
The statement signed by Shehu in Abuja read: “Recent media and social media reports on the responsibilities of the Chief of Staff to the President have suggested that the role has changed. This is not the case.
“Today, under the Buhari II administration the role of Chief of Staff remains the same as it was under Buhari I.
“It is worth stressing that the role and responsibilities of the Chief of Staff and the method of communication and arranging scheduling between Cabinet members and the President are, in Nigeria, based on the US model, where the same system operates – and has done for decades – in precisely the same way.
“That role is to act as the head of the presidential administration at Aso Rock; to be an adviser to the President on any and all matters; to be the line manager for all staff at Aso Rock; and to manage appointments and scheduling for the President.
” In the traditional presidential system, it is a primary function of a Chief of Staff, which may vary according to the needs and desires of each President, to supervise key State House Staff, control access to the office and the person of the President, manage communications and information flow and this includes that which binds the relationship with the two other arms of government.
“During the President’s first term those were the responsibilities of the Chief of Staff, and they remain the same responsibilities today. There is no change.
“When President Buhari explained to ministers that they would be expected to communicate with him and arrange scheduling to meet with him primarily via the Chief of Staff, he did so as many of the Buhari II Cabinet ministerial appointments are new appointments and cannot therefore be expected to know how matters of liaising with the President operate.
“This is to stress that access to the President is open to ministers. It is not true that this is denied them in the Second Term.
“The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) on the other hand is responsible for ensuring the effective coordination and monitoring of the implementation of government policies and programmes. All cabinet matters must go through him.
“Under this dispensation, a performance evaluation of ministers and Permanent Secretary will be maintained by the SGF. Two weeks after assuming office, they are expected to sign mandate acceptance documents.
“It is time to end the unnecessary controversy, for the key appointees of the President to carry out their jobs.”