Leading civil rights body, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has said that the overwhelming interests displayed by serving ministers and the amount of man-hour spent pursuing their selfish political ambitions, pose major drawback to the successful implementation of government policies
The group, therefore, called for “the immediate dissolution and reconstitution of the near moribund executive council of the federation by President Muhammadu Buhari so the ship of sthe country will not continue to remain adrift and dangerously sinking.”
“At the last count, the ministers of Communications; Mines and Solid minerals; Transportation; Foreign Affairs were at the frontlines of violent infighting during the just concluded Ward and local government primary elections of the All Progressives Congress (APC). The Minister of Women Affairs who vowed to follow Atiku Abubakar if he quits the ruling party is virtually not working for the public good and seems to have disappeared into thin air whilst investors in the nation’s real sector have reportedly lost a whopping N729 billions due to apprehensions created by the factional infighting that characterised the preparations for 2019 elections,” the group said.
HURIWA faulted the decision of President Buhari to commend his Solid minerals minister for emerging victorious in the governorship primary election in Ekiti State even when the said minister absconded from his national duties as federal cabinet minister to pursue his private political aspirations whilst still holding on to the public office and enjoying all the privileges and advantages over and above other co-contestants in the same party.
The group urged the President to sack all his ministers with an eye towards the 2019 elections so as to restore efficient and effective governance which died the moment President Buhari signified his intention to seek for re-election in the 2019 polls. It warned of severe economic challenges should the direction and focus of the Federal government continues to be dominated by the politics of 2019.
HURIWA said President Buhari must relieve his ministers now of their onerous political positions on the ground of principle and national ethics because it is absolutely immoral that serving cabinet-level officials are still paid from public treasury whilst they are actively campaigning for higher political offices. It condemned the activities of some of the ministers who have cornered battalions of soldiers and armed police to use these armed security operatives to fight to achieve their selfish political goals even when ordinary Nigerians are being slaughtered by armed Fulani herdsmen and other hoodlums.
In a statement jointly endorsed by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA said constitutionally, the ministers were picked to assist the president to implement pro-people policies and are not to be paid whilst they are advancing their selfish political ambitions. “This misconduct of pursuing selfish political aggrandizement whilst holding on to public offices is a constitutional violation which must not continue.”
HURIWA cited section 148 (1) (2) (a) (b) (c) and 149 of the 1999 constitution on why serving ministers who nurse ambitions for elective offices should quit or be dismissed forthwith.
“Specifically section 148 (1) provides thus: ‘The President may, in his discretion, assign to the Vice-President or any Minister of the Government of the Federation responsibility for any business of the Government of the Federation, including the administration of any department of government. (2) The President shall hold regular meetings with the Vice-President and all the Ministers of the Government of the Federation for the purposes of – (a) Determining the general direction of domestic and foreign policies of the Government of the Federation; (b) co-ordinating the activities of the President, the Vice-President and the Ministers of the Government of the Federation in the discharge of their executive responsibilities; and (c) advising the President generally in discharge of his executive functions other than those functions with respect to which he is required by this Constitution to seek the advice or act on the recommendation of any other person or body. 149.
“A Minister of the Government of the Federation shall not enter upon the duties of his office, unless he has declared his assets and liabilities as prescribed in this Constitution and has subsequently taken and subscribed the Oath of Allegiance and the oath of office for the due execution of the duties of his office prescribed in the Seventh Schedule to this Constitution,” the group noted.
HURIWA cited instances whereby the ministers, such as those of communications and foreign affairs were seen organising parallel ward and local government primary elections of the APC, thereby neglecting their national calling as cabinet-level ministers which has demonstrated the veracity in the widely held claim that the current Federal Executive Council is dead.
The rights group also referred to the alleged ignominious role of the Transportation Minister in Rivers State even as it demanded that those ministers who have been seen abandoning their mandate to seek personal political glories should be sacked.