President Muhammadu Buhari has written to the senate seeking approval to appoint 15 Special Advisers, five less than his predecessor’s 20, in line with Section 151 (2-3) of the 1999 Constitution.
President Buhari in his first official letter to the senate after his inauguration was read at the plenary. He explained that the 15 Special Advisers would help him carry out his constitutional roles as the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Pursuant to the provision of Section 151 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which confers on me to appoint Special Advisers to assist me in the performance of my functions.
“I write to request for your kind consideration and approval of the Distinguished members of the senate of the Federal Republic to appoint Fifteen (15) Advisers as prescribed in Section 151 (2-3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended),” the letter read.
One of the reactions expected to follow the president’s letter is criticism about the number of advisers as his administration seeks to cut the cost of governance. Goodlcuk Jonathan had been criticized in 2011 for presenting 20 names before the Senate.
Senator Umar Dahiru, Senator for Sokoto South had said at the time: “Bringing twenty special advisers will be over burdening the governance. The 20 Special Advisers added to the about 36 ministers is a large number. Since we believe that we should cut the government running costs, we should cut the number.”
Senator Chris Ngige also added that twenty special advisers for the President was mind-boggling. “The President should start with a number that we think will reflect the mood of the nation. Let him start with ten special advisers.”