Politics

Tinubu yet to reconvene FEC 44 days after inaugural meeting

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has not convened the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting 44 days after the inaugural cabinet session held on August 28. This…....CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>...Continue The Full Reading.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has not convened the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting 44 days after the inaugural cabinet session held on August 28.

This has continued to raise questions on whether or not this could affect governance.

The Federal Executive Council, which is chaired by the president, is the cabinet of the Federal Government of Nigeria and part of the executive branch.

The constitutional role of the FEC, as contained in the Ministers’ Statutory Powers and Duties Act, is to serve as an advisory body to the president.

President Tinubu had, on August 21, sworn in and inaugurated 45 ministers who attended the maiden cabinet meeting at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa in Abuja on August 28.

The president was away from the country for 20 days in September alone.

He spent eight days attending the G20 Summit in New Delhi, India and held talks in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), for a follow-up discussion to address “specific, salient issues within the bilateral relationship” after conversations held during a visit by the UAE Ambassador to him at the State House in Abuja.

For 12 days, also in September, he was away for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, the United States, and other outings.

During the period, Vice President Kashim Shettima, who could have presided over FEC meetings, was in Havana where he represented the president at the G77+China Leaders’ Summit from September 15 to 17.

President Tinubu returned to Abuja on September 29 ahead of the 63rd Independence Anniversary.

FEC meetings were held weekly by past administrations.

Meanwhile, the three ministers recently confirmed by the Senate – Balarabe Abbas Lawal (Kaduna), Jamila Bio Ibrahim (Kwara) and Ayodele Olawande (Ondo) – are also waiting to be inaugurated, though a source at the Presidency said they would be sworn in at the next cabinet meeting.

A top presidency source hinted that the FEC meeting was being put on hold owing to a ministerial retreat which has not yet taken place.

The source, who spoke to Daily Trust on condition of anonymity, said each minister had been given a document that specified his/her mandates and targets.

On why the ministerial retreat has not taken place, the official said all 48 ministers were expected to internalize the content of the documents before the retreat.

“The ministers ought to have started a retreat. And they have been given some materials which they want them to internalize before the retreat,” the source said.

Our correspondent, however, reports that President Tinubu has continued to receive briefings from ministers and heads of various agencies and parastatals.

When contacted, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Print Media, Abdulaziz Abdulaziz, said President Tinubu has a different idea of the functions of the Federal Executive Council.

According to the presidential aide, the fact that FEC meetings have not been held does not stop governance.

“I think this is not an issue because there is no specific time for FEC meetings. Nobody said there are specific provisions for FEC meetings and every government can work out things that will suit it. The most important thing is that ministers are working.

“In fact, the president has a different idea of the functions of the FEC because what we have seen, which a lot of experts have criticized, is how FEC reacts to contract awarding, but that is not the principle of FEC.

“He (the president) will hold the FEC, but those policy advisory and supervision kinds of functions, not the traditional way of coming every week announcing contract awards.

“There is more to FEC than contract award and the most important thing is that cabinet is in check and minsters are busy working and there is a consultation with the president. So, lack of FEC meeting doesn’t stop anything,” he said.

The Executive Director, Sustainable Gender Action Initiative (SGAI), Abuja, Mufuliat Fijabi, in a chat with Daily Trust, noted that the FEC meeting constitutes an important aspect of Nigeria’s democratic process and that as a response to the growing socio-economic challenges facing Nigerians, it cannot be toyed with.

“I am calling on the government to call the FEC meeting and deliberate on the challenges in order to renew the hopes of Nigerians in the government. As is the practice over the years, Nigerians usually look out for new outcomes from the meeting. Besides, it is an opportunity for the government to review progress made so far and adjust where necessary,” Fijabi said.

For the Executive Director, Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), Dr Ibrahim Zikirullahi, the citizens ought to be mounting pressure on the government to deliver good governance.

He said the fact that many Nigerians did not notice the president’s failure to hold FEC meetings “speaks volumes about the serious crisis of lack of governance affecting Nigeria.”

He said: “The government itself is struggling for legitimacy with the certificate of the president currently under legal scrutiny. The result is that Nigeria is currently rudderless and citizens are groaning under the weight of the multiplicity of challenges including, but not limited to the fuel crisis, forex crisis and insecurity.

“The way out of the current crisis is for citizens to continually pressure the government to deliver good governance.”

Similarly, the Executive Director, Peering Advocacy and Advancement Centre (PAACA) and chairman, Partners for Electoral Reforms (PER), Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, said socio-economic challenges are not resolved or addressed by rituals, but have “to be confronted by some sort of intentionality.”

“I think we need to get off baby steps and walk. Often, new governments talk about how they didn’t know how deep the rot is, but we expect that they are prepared to confront the challenges they meet.

“Our current public anaesthesia will soon wear out, and days will start counting for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration,” Nwagwu said...CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>

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