Impossible To Trim Cabinet With Current Constitution - Jonathan
SAN FRANCISCO, May 18, (THEWILL) - President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan today said it is impossible to run government with a smaller cabinet without going against the 1999 Constitution.
The President made the declaration at the valedictory and winding down session of the Presidential Advisory Committee (PAC) led by former Minister of Defence retired General Theophilus Danjuma.
The PAC since its inauguration over a year ago had championed the trimming of the current 42-member federal cabinet to enable government save funds and manage its operations better.
President Jonathan has however said the 1999 Constitution would have to be amended first to legitimize a trimmer federal cabinet.
The constitution mandates the President to appoint at least one Minister from each state of the federation including the FCT. There are currently 36 states plus the FCT in Nigeria.
"Your suggestion for a smaller cabinet is excellent. I agree with you but this cannot be achieved without constitutional amendment," the President told outgoing PAC members.
The amended Section 147 of the 1999 Constitution which gives the President powers to appoint Ministers states as follows: "There shall be such offices of Ministers of the Government of the Federation as may be established by the President.
"Any appointment to the office of Minister of the Government of the Federation shall, if the nomination of any person to such office is confirmed by the Senate, be made by the President,
"Any appointment under subsection(2) of this section by the President shall be in conformity with the provisions of Section 14(3) of this Constitution, provided that in giving effect to the provisions aforesaid the President shall appoint at least one Minister from each state, who shall be an indigene of such state."
Jonathan thanked the Council for its role in stabilizing the federal government and promised to use their recommendations as foundation in his administration’s policy frame work.
The PAC was inaugurated on March 04, 2010 by then Acting President Goodluck Jonathan.