Fact Check

Did Jonathan and Buhari Implement the Stephen Oronsaye Report?

By Oluwaseye Ogunsanya


The co-host of the Morning Show on Arise TV, Rufai Oseni posted on his official X page claiming that 3 Nigerian presidents have implemented the Oronsaye report.

“We now see why we are not taken seriously, 3 presidents have implemented same report!” He posted attaching the screenshot of 3 reports alluding to his claim.



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Oseni Rufai’s claim comes after the presidency had, on last Monday announced President Tinubu’s directive that the report be fully implemented.

While speaking with journalists at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Monday, the Minister of Information, Mohammed Idris said the president has approved some reforms based on the Oronsaye report.

According to Idris, numerous agencies would be eliminated, and others combined or restructured to cut governance costs. The minister also assured workers that the move would not initially affect jobs.

“In a very bold move today, this administration, under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, consistent with his courage to take very far-reaching decisions in the interest of Nigeria, has taken a decision to implement the so-called Oronsaye report,” Idris said.

“Now, what that means that a number of agencies, commissions and some departments have actually been scrapped.

“Some have been modified, marked while others have been subsumed. Others, of course, have also been moved from some ministries to others where government feels they will operate better.”

On her part, the Special Adviser to the President on Policy Coordination, Hadiza Bala-Usman, said Tinubu has constituted a committee headed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) George Akume to implement the report within 12 weeks.

This announcement was greeted with mixed reactions across the nation as some saw it as a welcome development while others criticised Tinubu’s move fearing that it may lead to the loss of jobs.

In its reaction, the House of Representatives, on Thursday, said the Stephen Oronsaye Report had become outdated and needed to be updated before implementation. Therefore in a resolution, the Green Chamber called on the president to comprehensively review the Goni Aji Report, which reviewed the Oronsaye Report, the White Paper released by the President Jonathan administration, the Ama Pepple White Paper, and the Ebele Okeke White Paper, in line with current realities.


Former President Goodluck Jonathan initiated the presidential committee on the reformation of government agencies chaired by Steven Oronsaye, a former Head of Service of the Federation in 2011 with the terms of reference to examine the enabling Acts and mandates of all the federal agencies, parastatals, and commissions to determine areas of overlap or duplication of functions among other things.

The committee, in its 800-page report, recommends the scrapping and merging of 220 out of the then-existing 541 Statutory and Non-Statutory Federal Government Parastatals, Agencies, and Commissions, 263 statutory agencies should be reduced to 161, 38 agencies should be abolished, 52 agencies should be merged, and 14 should revert to departments in ministries with the aim of streamlining operations, eliminating redundancies, and saving a substantial sum of N862 billion between 2012 and 2015 amidst the economic hardships.


Did Jonathan Implement the Report?

A Daily Post report of 2014 stated that former President Goodluck Jonathan directed the establishment of a White Paper implementation committee on the report of the Presidential Committee on the Restructuring and Rationalisation of Government Parastatals, Commissions, and Agencies.

The report quoted the Former Minister of Information, Labaran Maku as saying that the committee, to be approved by the president, would ensure prompt implementation of the White Paper.

“Today in Council, the president said he will be moving ahead as quickly as possible to ensure the implementation of the white paper.

“One thing that has become a recurring observation has been the cost of governance under the new democracy and the Federal Government is very serious to bring down the cost.

“Today, the president directed the SGF to begin to put up a committee for his approval, that will work on the actual merger of those agencies that have been accepted to merge to bring down cost of governance,” he said.

Subsequently, Channels TV reported that the White Paper Drafting Committee headed by the then Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke rejected several recommendations made by the Steve Oronsaye committee.

Some of the rejected recommendations include the recommendation to merge NTA, FRCN, and VON; it also rejected the recommendation to abolish the Federal Character Commission; privatization of FAAN; scrapping of the Ministry of Police Affairs, and re-introduction of tuition fees in federal universities, among others.

It, however, accepted some recommendations which include: the scrapping of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission; repealing of the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission law; scrapping of the National Poverty Eradication Programme, NAPEP; merger of Nigeria Airways Management Authority (NAMA), Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET); and partial commercialization of NIPOST.

However, the recommendations of the White Paper Drafting Committee were not implemented by the Jonathan government till he left office in 2015.

Did Buhari Implement the Report Too?

Former President Muhammadu Buhari also attempted to implement the Oronsaye report when he approved to do so in 2020 as one of the steps to reduce governance costs in the face of plummeting revenue occasioned by the outbreak of COVID-19 and its attendant effect on global oil price volatility.

According to the then Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, Buhari’s approval was forwarded to the Head of Civil Service and Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

Subsequently, TheGuardian reported in 2021 that the Buhari administration has begun moves to implement the White Paper report of the Oransaye-led committee by inaugurating two sub-committees to review the main report and the document properly.

One of the committees, headed by a former Head of Service, Bukar Aji, was mandated to review the Oronsaye Report and the government white paper. The other committee, chaired by Amal Pepple, was mandated to review MDAs created between 2014 and 2021.

The then Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha however constituted another white paper committee, headed by Ebele Okeke in July 2022, to review the report of the Pepple committee.

But, the report suffered the same fate it had earlier experienced during the previous administration as Buhari failed to implement it citing its review by the national assembly as well as the election mood of the key stakeholders involved as the reasons.

Tinubu’s Aide Reacts 

In his reaction to Rufai Oseni’s claim, the Senior Special Adviser to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Digital Media and New Media, O’tega Ogra berated the broadcaster for not doing his research and double-checking the accuracy of the information shared with his audience as a media personality.

He further offered some explanations by giving a timeline of events leading to Tinubu’s decision to fully implement the report.


As a result of the foregoing, it can be concluded that neither Jonathan nor Buhari implemented the report as claimed by Rufai. Both administrations however made tangible efforts to implement the report but they ended up dying a natural death.

Ironically, 12 years after its release, several reports have stated that the National Assembly and successive governments have been creating agencies and institutions, therefore, increasing the cost of governance in the process.

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