The presidency has distanced itself from recent media and social media reports on the responsibilities of the Chief of Staff to the President which suggests that the role has changed, insisting that this is not the case.
Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, yesterday stated that in President Muhammadu Buhari second tenure, the role of Chief of Staff remains the same as it was under the first tenure.
According to him, the role and responsibilities of the Chief of Staff and the method of communication between cabinet members and the president are based on the US model, where the same system operates.
He further explained that the 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, Shehu noted that 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.
He said, “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,” Shehu said.
He said 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, adding that all cabinet matters must go through him.
“Under this dispensation, a performance evaluation of ministers and Permanent Secretaries will be maintained by the SGF. Two weeks after assuming office, they are expected to sign mandate acceptance documents,” he added.
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