SEVENTEEN state governors have appointed nearly 350 commissioners to their executive councils in the past three months after 18 newly elected governors took office.
The governors were sworn in on May 29, 2023 following the conclusion of the 2023 general elections.
The commissioners were appointed in accordance with Section 192 of the Nigerian Constitution, which allows state governors the authority to create the offices of commissioners of government with the agreement of the State House of Assembly.
As a result, President Buhari revised Section 42 of the constitution to require the president and state governors to designate ministers and commissioners within 60 days of their inauguration.
ICIR findings showed that a combined total of 363 commissioners have been inaugurated and assigned portfolios by the state’s governors.
The 17 states are Kebbi, Zamfara, Sokoto, Niger, Kaduna, Katsina, Jigawa, Kano, Plateau, Taraba Enugu, Ebonyi, Cross River, Abia, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, and Delta states.
The governor of Benue state, Hyacinth Alia, is yet to appoint commissioners. The governor however has forwarded a list of 14 nominees to the state House of Assembly for vetting and confirmation.
Recall that the ICIR had collected crucial decisions taken by the new governors 20 days after they were sworn in. Among these choices were the revocation of previous governors’ appointments, the demolition of structures, the hiring of advisers, the inauguration of state assemblies, and the payment of outstanding allowances.
Meanwhile he ICIR showed that Ebonyi, Cross River and Niger states appointed the highest number of commissioners into their executive councils, while Rivers and Kaduna have the least appointments made.
In the Northwest region, the state governors of Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara and Katsina inaugurated 25, 26,18 and 20 commissioners in their respective states. Also, Kano, Jigawa and Kaduna appointed 19, 16 and 14 respectively commissioners into the state.
Similarly, in the South-South region, Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Delta states appointed 31, 23 and 26 commissioners to the state’s executive council.
Meanwhile, River state governor Siminalayi Fubara, barely two days after his inauguration, swore in four commissioners (Works, Justice, Education and Finance) into the state’s council chambers, urging them to deploy their wealth of experience into various positions they have been appointed.
In the North Central, the Niger and Plateau state governors, Mohammed Umaru and Caleb Mutfwang, swore in 30 and 18 commissioners in their state respectively.
For Taraba state, in the Northeast, Governor Agbu Kefas inaugurated 22 commissioners into his cabinet, charging them to deploy their energy in moving the state forward.
While in the Southeast region, Abia, Enugu and Ebonyi states inaugurated 16, 20 and 35 commissioners each into their respective states.
Although the law does not restrict the number of commissioners a state governor can appoint to his council, there are concerns about the cost of governance increasing if more people are appointed to serve in executive offices.