The Presidency has denied insinuations that the roles of the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari have changed.
It has therefore called for an end to the “unnecessary controversy,” for the key appointees of the president to carry out their jobs.
President Muhammadu Buhari had at the end of the two-day retreat for ministers designate, permanent secretaries and government functionaries as well as at the swearing in ceremony to channel their requests for meetings through the Chief of Staff while all federal executive council matters should be through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.
Buhari had said: “In terms of coordination, kindly ensure that all submissions for my attention or meeting requests be channeled through the Chief of Staff, while all Federal Executive Council matters be coordinated by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.”
But Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu in a statement said the roles have not changed.
He said: “Recent media and social media reports on the responsibilities of the Chief of Staff to the President have suggested that the roles have changed. This is not the case.
“Today, under the Buhari II (second) administration the roles of Chief of Staff remain the same as they was under Buhari.
“It is worth stressing that the role and responsibilities of the Chief of Staff and the method of communication and arranging scheduling between cabinet members and the president are, in Nigeria, based on the US model, where the same system operates – and has gone for decades – in precisely the same way.
“That role is to act as the head of the presidential administration at Aso Rock; to be an adviser to the president on any and all matters; to be the line manager for all staff at Aso Rock; and to manage appointments and scheduling for the president.
“In the traditional presidential system, it is a primary function of a Chief of Staff, which may vary according to the needs and desires of each president, to supervise key State House staff, control access to the office and the person of the president, manage communications and information flow and this includes that which binds the relationship with the two other arms of government.
“During the president’s first term those were the responsibilities of the Chief of Staff, and they remain the same responsibilities today. There is no change.
“When President Buhari explained to ministers that they would be expected to communicate with him and arrange scheduling to meet with him primarily via the Chief of Staff, he did so as many of the Buhari II cabinet ministerial appointments are new appointments and cannot therefore be expected to know how matters of liaising with the president operate.
“This is to stress that access to the president is open to ministers. It is not true that this is denied them in the Second Term.
“The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) on the other hand is responsible for ensuring the effective coordination and monitoring of the implementation of government policies and programmes. All cabinet matters must go through him.
“Under this dispensation, a performance evaluation of ministers and permanent secretary will be maintained by the SGF. Two weeks after assuming office, they are expected to sign mandate acceptance documents.
“It is time to end the unnecessary controversy, for the key appointees of the president to carry out their jobs.”