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The Difference between a Minister and Commissioner in Nigeria

Who is a Minister?

A minister can be described as a politician who heads a ministry. A minister makes and enacts policy decisions in collaboration with other ministers.

Some specific ministers in Nigeria include Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Education, Minister of Defense, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Minister of Science and Technology, Minister of Works and Housing, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Minister of Information and Culture, Minister of Aviation, amongst others.

Who is a Commissioner?

In general, a commissioner is a member of a commission or an individual who has been appointed to a commission (official charge or authority to perform a specific role).

In practice, the title of commissioner refers to a variety of senior officials, many of whom serve on a specific commission.

Senior police officers and government officials are widely known as a commissioner.

Some specific commissioners in Nigeria include Commissioner of Education, and Commissioner for Housing, Commissioner of Transport.

How are Ministers Nominated?

Each state produces a candidate from the ruling party.

The President also appoints the minister, who is subject to Senate confirmation.

In the case of ministers, Section 142 (2) empowers the President to nominate individuals for the position of ministers of the federation’s government, who must then be confirmed by the Senate.

How are Commissioners Nominated?

The appointment of commissioners of the government of any state in Nigeria is guided and regulated by the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s Constitution. As a result, no governor or State House of Assembly can change, modify, or alter the constitution’s guidance and regulation on the appointment of state commissioners of government.

The only requirements for anyone to be appointed as a Commissioner in any government of any state in Nigeria are the same requirements for anyone to be elected as a member of any state’s House of Assembly.

The following are the prerequisites for appointing a commissioner:

  • You must be a Nigerian citizen.
  • Be at least 30 years old.
  • Be educated up to the level of a school certificate or its equivalent.
  • Be a member of a political party and be sponsored by that political party.
  • He/she should not be a person who is not a citizen of Nigeria by birth, but a citizen of a different country, through other means other than by birth.
  • Not be a person who has been adjudged or declared to be a lunatic or of unsound mind under any law in Nigeria, unless such decision is under appeal before any court of law and such appeal has not been withdrawn, abandoned, or completed.
  • He/she should not be someone who has received a death sentence, a prison sentence, or fined for committing an offense which involves fraud, dishonesty, or other crime levied against him/her by the court of law. Unless such decision is the subject of an appeal before any court of law, and such appeal is not withdrawn, abandoned, or completed.
  • He/she should not have been convicted and sentenced for an offence involving dishonesty or a violation of the Code of Conduct within the last ten (10) years of his appointment as Minister.
  • Not be an undischarged bankrupt, having been declared bankrupt by any law in Nigeria, unless such decision is under appeal before any court of law and such appeal is not withdrawn, abandoned, or completed.
  • Not be a person who is currently employed in the Federation or any state’s public service and has not resigned, withdrawn, or retired from such employment at least 30 days before the date of his appointment.
  • He/she must not be a member of a secret society.
  • Not have presented a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

5 Key Differences between a Minister and a Commissioner

  1. A minister is a person appointed by the government to provide public service, whereas a commissioner is a member of a commission.
  2. A minister is appointed at the federal level while a commissioner is appointed at state government level.
  3. Commissioners are in charge of overseeing the state’s management and administration and representing the country at state and federal levels. The commissioner, as the holder of a statutory office, acts independently in a variety of matters concerning the operation of the Public Service, State Services, and the wider State sector. However, a minister is a political figure appointed to public office in a national government. Constitutionally, ministers are members of the Federal Executive Council.
  4. Examples of ministers include Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Minister of Works and Housing, etc. Whereas, examples of commissioners include Commissioner for Housing, Commissioner for Transport, amongst others.
  5. A substantive minister’s annual basic salary is around N2,026,400 (N168,866:66 per month). Whereas, State Commissioners in Nigeria are paid a monthly salary of 33 million.

Author Profile

John Aina Ajibola has a Masters degree as an engineer and has over 3 years of teaching and research experience. He is happiest when on a bike and is also interested in electric energy and computer Science.

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