15 Functions of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) in Nigeria

Those who haven’t been following the political events in Nigeria may not know that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) in Nigeria wields so much power that the person holding that office has the administrative power to influence the policies of the ruling government.

Since September 1, 1961, when Dr. S.O. Wey was first appointed as Nigeria’s Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Nigeria has produced 19 SGFs, Barrister Boss Mustapha being the incumbent SFG in Nigeria.

How Powerful is OSGF in Nigeria?

The position the SGF occupies is called the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF). The holder of the office isn’t similar to the secretary of an association, he is the coordinator of cabinet activities by also influencing policies.

He’s the driver of policy formulation. The way he influences the government’s policies should positively affect the lives of the generality of Nigerians.

Also, the SGF has under his control several agencies and offices and departments similar to the federal ministries, that’s why there are permanent secretaries in the SFG office.

It’s important to note that how powerful the SGF could be lies in the hands of the incumbent president. For instance, SFG during the military regime and during the administration of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo majorly played behind-the-scene- roles.

On contrary, we’ve also seen how the administration of late Umar Yar’Adua confers so much in the SGF Amb. Baba Gana Kingibe so that he was allegedly strategising to usurp the powers of Vice President Goodluck Jonathan for him (SFG) to become the president when Yar’Adua was in a hospital bed in Saudi Arabia.

Also, President Muhammadu Buhari since assumption of office in 2015 confers so much power on the Secretary to the Government of the Federation so much that some political analysts say the SFG wilds more power than the Vice President.

Above all, the powers of the SFG lies in how the president wants him to be.

Note: Some people prefer to the holder of the office as secretary to the federal government of Nigeria.

Structure of OSGF

There are six offices in the OSGF. Each of the offices is run and managed like a ministry and they are headed by Permanent Secretary

The offices are:

  1. The Special Duties Office
  2. The Cabinet Affairs Office
  3. The Special Services Office
  4. The Ecological Fund Office
  5. The General Services Office
  6. The Political and Economic Affairs Office

The Agencies under OSGF

Until August 21, 2019, there were 14 agencies in the office of the SGF. The creation of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (FMHDS) led to the removal of one of the agencies and its modification from the National Commission for Refugees (NCR) to National Commission for Refugees, Migrants, and Internally Displaced Persons which is now under FMHDS.

Also, the former Federal Ministry of Communication which is now known as Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy now has the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) as one of its agencies.

At the time of this research, the Office of Secretary to the Government of the Federation has 12 parastatal, they are:

Agencies under OSGF Year of establishment
Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) 1979
National Lottery Trust Fund (NLTF) 2005
Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) 1988
Nigeria National Merit Award (NMMA) 1979
National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NHCN) 1975
Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC) 1976
Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC) May 28, 2007
Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) June 5, 2000
National Agency for the Control of Aids (NACA) Feb. 2000
New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) 2001
National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) 2001
National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) 2005

Functions of SGF in Nigeria

Administratively, below are the key roles of the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF):

1) OSGF handles matters related to the prerogative of mercy

2) He handles petitions and appeals to the President and the Commander-In-Chief

3) He is charged with the responsibility of processing requests for duty tours and medical treatment of government officials abroad. Unfortunately, some government officials breached this protocol by approving estacode for their personal travels or inflating official travel allowances.

4) He coordinates, manages National Honours Awards

5) OSGF is responsible for the supervision of some government agencies as directed by the president e.g New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD).

6) The SFG serves as the frontline advisory institution to the office of the president

7) The Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation monitors and coordinates the implementation of government policies and programmes in line with the programmes of the ruling government.

“The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) is responsible for ensuring the effective coordination and monitoring of the implementation of government policies and programmes. All cabinet matters must go through him,” Shehu Garba clarifies the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, clarified while differentiating the roles of the Chief of Staff and SGF on August 25, 2019.

8) He ensures harmonization in the policies of the government.

9) The SGF evaluates the performance of the ministers and Permanent Secretary on behalf of the president.

10) He maintains mandate acceptance documents signed by ministers on an assumption of office

11) The OSGF serves as the Secretariat of the National Council of State, the Federal Executive Council and other Constitutional Councils which are chaired by the President or the Vice President as the case may be.

12) The office of the secretary to the federal government provides support services to Administrative Tribunals, Commissions and Panels of Enquiry.

13) coordinates public safety matters, we saw the SGF Boss Mustapha coordinates the response team during the COVID-19 pandemic.

14) Represent the president when he’s delegated to do so.

15) He liaises with Secretaries to State Governments in a situation when FG’s policies have to be implemented at the state levels

List of SGF in Nigeria from 1961 Till Date

Dr. S.O. Wey was the first Secretary to the federal government from 1961 till the day of the first military coup of January 15, 1966, which ended the first republic.

Names of SGF Years in office
Dr. S.O. Wey Sep. 1, 1961 to Jan. 16, 1966
Mr. M.A. Ejueyitchie August 4, 1966 to Dec. 20, 1970
Mr. A.A. Atta Dec. 21, 1970 to June 12, 1972
Mr. C.O. Lawson Aug. 16, 1972 to March 31, 1975
Mr. A.A. Ayida April 23, 1975 to March 31, 1977
Mr. Ali L. Ciroma April 1, 1977 to Sep. 30, 1979
Alhaji Shehu Musa Oct. 1, 1979 to Dec. 31, 1983
Mr. G.A. Longe Jan. 1, 1984 Jan. 30, 1986
Chief Olu Falae Jan 31, 1986 to Dec. 31, 1989
Alhaji Aliyu Mohammed Jan. 1, 1990 to Aug. 26, 1993
Alhaji Mustafa Umara Aug. 27, 1993 to Nov. 17, 1993
Alhaji Aminu Saleh Nov. 18, 1993 to Oct. 17, 1995
Alhaji Gidado Idris Oct. 17, 1995 to May 28, 1999
Chief Uffot Ekaette May 29, 1999 to May 28, 2007
Amb. Baba Gana Kingibe May 29, 2007 to Oct. 8, 2008
Mahmud Yayale Ahmed Oct. 08, 2008 to May 29, 2011
Senator Anyim Pius Anyim May 1, 2011 to May 29, 2015
Engr. Babachir David Lawal Aug. 27, 2015 to Oct. 29, 2017
Boss Gidahyelda Mustapha Oct. 30 and assumed office on Nov. 1, 2017 till date


Engr. Babachir David Lawal was the first Secretary to the Government of the Federation to be sacked on allegations of financial mismanagement. He was suspended as the SGF on April 19, 2017, and by October 30, 2017, President Buhari sacked him.

Boss Mustapha is the 19th and the current Secretary to the Government of the Federation. He was also appointed as the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in March 2020.

In the history of Nigeria, no woman has ever occupied the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation


Since 1961 till date, there have been 19 SGFs in Nigeria.

The most powerful SGF since 1961 till date is Boss Mustapha considering his roles in the formation of All Progressive Congress (APC) and his strategic roles that brought Buhari to power in the 2015 and re-election in 2019 general elections.

Above all, the secretary to the federal republic of Nigeria ensures the effective coordination and monitoring of the implementation of policies of the ruling party.

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