Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki Nakande, the former minister of state for information and communication, explains the difference in the functions of a minister and a minister of state.
Nakande identified the distinguishing feature of each position in question: a minister operates as the head of a ministry; a minister of state is their subordinate. He said: "The minister covers all in the ministry while the minister of state assists him, the minister of state has his duty cut out for him by the minister because they have only one permanent secretary, hence the minister of state has to clarify with the minister before taking any decision in the aspects he is overseeing."
According to Nakande's own experience when in office as the minister of state for information and communication, the minister was responsible for the overall affairs of the ministry, its parastatals and agencies, and represented the federal government, while Nakande managed one specific aspect.
As for the Federal Capital Territory, the minister is in charge of the main parastatals, for example the Federal Capital Development Authority; the minister of state is responsible for the area councils.
However, the former minister of state emphasised that it would be correct to say both minister and minister of state are ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria despite the difference in functions, because they can be reshuffled or substituted at any time.
Eleven ministers of state and 25 ministers were sworn in today, Wednesday, November 11, 2015, in Aso Rock Villa in Abuja. Immediately after the ceremony the newly-inaugurated ministers hold their first meeting as the members of the Federal Executive Council.