President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said not all the 36 nominees would be ministers as some of them would only sit in the cabinet in order to meet the constitutional provision of a cabinet having 36. He also revealed there is no money to pay all the ministers because Nigeria is broke.
Buhari made his stance known interview he granted the Nigerian Television Authority and Channels TV shortly before he left India.
There was no reduction (of ministers) to 36. What the constitution says, and we cannot work outside the constitution, is that there must be a cabinet representative from each state. Yes, there used to be 42 ministers, I think we will be lucky if we can have half of that now because we cannot afford it.
Others may not be substantive ministers but they will sit in the cabinet because that is what the constitution says and we cannot operate outside the constitution.”
When asked whether he will reduce the number of ministers, Buhari said,
“Of course! Unless you can volunteer to be paying them (ministers).”
On the criteria used in compiling his ministerial
nominees, the President explained
“I have just talked about Nigerians, especially the elite, sitting and reflecting on serious national issues.“How many times did I attempt to be the President of Nigeria? How many times did I end up in the Supreme Court? Does is it mean every time, I don’t know people in this country? I know people who we were going together but fell by the wayside because it was too tough.
You know I contested in 2003, 2007, 2011. I think Nigerians should stop taking things for granted as far as we are concerned,” he said.
When the President was asked to react to the claim that his administration is slow in the development of infrastructure, Buhari said:
“Where is the money? You must have known that the Federal Government had to help 27 of the 36 states to pay salaries. “Nigeria cannot pay salaries. The Federal Government itself had to summon the governor of the Central Bank to see how it would pay salaries not to talk of the agreements we signed with foreign countries, counterpart funding and so on.
“This country was materially vandalised and mor*lly so and you are in a position to know even more than myself unless you are testing my knowledge whether I know it or not.”
When asked to be categorical on whether the country is broke, Buhari replied: “Of course, Nigeria is broke.”