Okupe backs President Buhari on directive to ministers
Dr. Doyin Okupe, former presidential spokesman has backed President Muhammadu Buhari on his directive that all ministers must go through the office of Chief of Staff to see him. Okupe worked under two presidents, Olusegun Obasabjo and Goodluck Jonathan. He wrote:
“I have read several comments on the above subject matter. I am amazed at the level of passion this pronouncement has generated. The internet is a great thing. But while it brings news from every and all quarters, it also exposes ignorance from all nooks and crannies of the society.
“The capacity to issue statements and posts on the internet in copious volumes help create the impression that those who write or criticise on the internet also have understanding. Yet, to be literate is not the same as being knowledgeable.
“Ministers are constitutional aides of Mr President in their respective ministries. Whereas the Chief of Staff (CoS) is a trusted personal aide of the President and the supreme head of the administration in the Presidency.
“His responsibilities include hour-by-hour and day-to-day administration of the villa and every detail of the programmes of the President.
This sacred job is done exclusively by the CoS or any one designated to do it on his behalf.
“The office of the President is the highest office in the country and it must have strict even though elastic schedules to accommodate emergencies.
“It will easily be understood that for the integrity of the schedules of the President, which may include diplomatic, foreign missions, organisations, institutions, bilateral talks, visitations by other heads of states, conferences and other special events, very important domestic affairs, it therefore becomes imperative that only the office of the Chief of Staff is designated to handle all presidential appointments to avoid confusion and shoddiness at the highest office in the land.
“Any minister who is desirous of seeing the President must of necessity pass through the ONLY official channel which superintends over schedules and appointments of the President.
“A minister who does not know the scheduled programmes of the President for the day cannot just impose his presence on the office of the president to disrupt the plans and protocols for the day or unnecessarily divert the attention of Mr President and cause him to delay other previously planned schedules with similarly important dignitaries.
“Personally I have witnessed this shameful embarrassments in the past just because we failed to go by laid down procedures. This is often too common with us politicians who considers the President as a colleague or personal friend or associate of long standing, with whom there should not be any bureaucratic barriers even in spite of his new exalted office as the head of state.
“However, for the Presidency to run efficiently with a dignified administrative regime, a stratified arrangement of protocol need to be put in place and applied to those who need to see the president officially.
“May be the President needed not to have announced it publicly. A simple memo from the office of the CoS, written clearly as a directive from Mr President would have sufficed.
“I have served in the Presidency twice and I hold the above views sacrosanct.”