THERE are indications that President
Muhammadu Buhari will swear in five
new Federal Permanent Secretaries this
week in a renewed bid to revamp the
top echelon of the Federal Civil Service.
A top Presidency source in Abuja
yesterday hinted that the Cabinet
Secretariat has notified the affected
newly-promoted permanent secretaries
of the swearing-in to comply with what
he said was the President’s directives
to fill the vacancies in the respective
ministries without further delay.
They were among 21 permanent
secretaries appointed by Vice President
Yemi Osinbajo (then Acting President)
to fill existing vacancies following a
three-step rigorous selection process
conducted by the Office of the Head of
Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF).
The exercise has been applauded by
government watchers as a remarkable
move by the Buhari Administration
to restore merit-driven transparency,
professionalism and credibility to the
Federal Civil Service, a major factor they
said has distinguished the President’s
incorruptible and purposeful
leadership.
Not a few stakeholders have lauded
the Acting President, the Chief of Staff
to the President, Mal. Abba Kyari and
the Head of the Civil Service of the
Federation, Mrs. Winnifred Oyo-Ita for
assiduously driving the merit- based
selection process which they said has
helped to restore hope, discipline and
fairness in the service.
Fifteen of the Permanent Secretaries
from Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra,
Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Ekiti,
Katsina, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ogun,
Ondo, Sokoto and FCT were swornin
by Osinbajo during the President’s
medical vacation in London because the
affected states had vacancies.
The Presidency source further
disclosed that the swearing-in of
Permanent Secretaries (in-waiting)
from Imo, Kano, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers
and Kaduna was deferred till the sitting
Permanent Secretaries from those States
statutorily disengaged.
He stated that as at August 31, 2017,
those from Rivers, Kano and Oyo States
had finally disengaged thus paving the
way for the swearing-in on Wednesday
of the three Permanent Secretaries and
the newly appointed Solicitor-General
of the Federation and Permanent
Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice
(FMOJ).
To be sworn-in are Ekaro Comfort
Chukwuebobo (Rivers); Suleiman
Mustapha Lawal (Kano), Adekunle
Olusegun Adeyemi (Oyo) and Dayo
Apata, the Solicitor-General of the
Federation and Permanent Secretary,
FMOJ.
The source, who declined to be
named because he is not permitted to
speak on such matters, said that the
President could not swear them in last
week since the FEC meeting did not
hold owing to the Eid-el-Kabir holidays,
a fact that has been publicly confirmed
by the Minister of Information and
Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
Asked if the President’s perceived
haste to swear in the permanent
secretaries was to ensure that all
the ministries were adequately
supervised in the event that a
rumoured sack of the cabinet is
carried out this week, the source
declined comments but emphasized
that the Presidency wanted all
hands on deck to strengthen the
Administration’s policy-execution
machinery in response to the nation’s
recent exit from economic recession.
‘’They (Permanent Secretaries)
are required to urgently provide
leadership for the various
programmes of government such as
the implementation of the various
Presidential Executive Orders as
well as the Economic Recovery
and Growth Plan (ERGP), the
preparation of the 2018 Budget
for the various sectors and the
implementation of the 2018-2020
Strategic Plan for revamping the
Federal Civil Service.
‘’This urgency is further
underscored by the need to have
a Solicitor-General to lead a
robust team to effectively address
many legal issues involving the
government as well as provide the
needed momentum for the current
positive economic trajectory. Not
the least urgent is the need for these
permanent secretaries, as chief
accounting officers, to participate in
the on-going preparation for the 2018
budget’’, the source noted.

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