The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, has issued a government circular ordering all government functionaries to desist from addressing President Goodluck Jonathan as the “Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria” at non-military functions.
The directive is contained in an October 14 circular, No SGF/OP/1/S.3/X/664, obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, and addressed to the Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, ministers, heads of ministries, departments, agencies and parastatals, the leadership of the National Assembly, and government-owned companies.
“It is further directed that except in purely armed forces programmes, Mr. President should not be addressed as the “Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the statement read.
“The approved designation of the President for the purposes of all official correspondence, public announcements or Communication should be “The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“I am to stress that for all official purposes, Mr. President should be addressed as follows: ‘His Excellency, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” Mr. Anyim added, urging strict compliance to the presidential directive by all Nigerians.
The government circular did not state the reason for this decision. It is, however a departure from the past as former Nigerian leaders, both military and civilian, have always been called by that title both in military and non-military programmes.
The new directive, however, does not remove the fact that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria remains the Commander-in-Chief of Nigeria’s Armed Forces as that is what the constitution states.