The Presidency has clarified the roles of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha under the president’s second term.
Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, in a statement released Saturday night and entitled “Statement on the roles of Chief of Staff (COS) and SGF’, explained that the roles of the two principal officers to the president, remains the same as it was in Buhari’s first term in office.
There have been claims that the roles of Kyari and Mustapha have changed in Buhari’s second term, with each of them having more powers than they possessed in the president’s first term.
The claims were fueled by Buhari’s order to his new cabinet to report to Kyari on matters that call for his attention and to Mustapha on Federal Executive Council (FEC) issues.
Buhari last Wednesday, while inaugurating the ministers had said, “As I said yesterday (Tuesday), in terms of coordinating communication, kindly ensure that all submissions for my attention or meeting requests be channelled through the Chief of Staff while all Federal Executive Council matters are coordinated through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation in order to speed up the process of decision-making.”
Reacting to the controversies that followed the statement, Shehu said, “Today, under the Buhari II administration the role of Chief of Staff remains the same as it was under Buhari I.
“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.
“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.”
On Mustapha, Shehu said, “The 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.”