May 25, 2023
The outgoing Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, has advocated for abolition of the position of Minister of State in the Federal Cabinet, saying it is not in the law of the nation to appoint a Minister of State.
Keyamo said this during the Federal Executive Council, FEC, valedictory session presided over by President Buhari to mark the end of the Federal Executive Council, under the Buhari administration at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.
Keyamo who commended the President for enriching his Curriculum Vitae, through the appointment, noted that some other Ministers of State, had been grumbling and unable to be bold and speak out.
According to him, it will be difficult to assess the individual performances of the Ministers of State since their discretion was shackled under the discretion of the ‘superior Ministers’.
He said that original ideas developed by a Minister of State were subject to clearance by another colleague in cabinet before they could sail through for consideration by Council.
He said, “Mr. President, you first appointed me as Minister of State in the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs in August, 2019 and you later redeployed me as Minister of State in the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
“Today, I cannot find the words to express the depth of my gratitude to you for finding me worthy, out of over two hundred million Nigerians, to be nominated and subsequently appointed to serve as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“My curriculum vitae has been greatly enhanced – forever.
“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.”