The Presidency on Saturday assured that President Muhammadu Buhari has not shut out ministers from having access to him.
It also explained that the responsibilities of the Chief of Staff (CoS) to the President had not changed, but remained the same as during the President’s first tenure.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, made the clarifications in a statement in Abuja.
He said: “Recent media and social media reports on the responsibilities of the Chief of Staff to the President have suggested that the role has changed. This is not the case.
“Today, under the Buhari II administration the role of Chief of Staff remains the same as it was under Buhari I.
“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 done for decades – in precisely the same way.’’
According to Shehu, the CoS “is to act as the head of the presidential administration at Aso Rock and to be an adviser to the President on any and all matters.”
He added that the CoS would serve as 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.
“He is 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,’’ he added.
The presidential aide, noted that during the President’s first term those were the responsibilities of the CoS, and “they remain the same responsibilities today. There is no change.
“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,’’ he stressed.
On the other hand, Shehu explained that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, was responsible for ensuring the effective coordination and monitoring of the implementation of government policies and programmes.
He added that all cabinet matters must go through him.
He explained further that under this regime, a performance evaluation of ministers and Permanent Secretaries would 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,’’ he said.