The much-awaited ministerial list expected from President Muhammadu Buhari may further polarise the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) when it is released.
This has been identified as one of the major reasons President Buhari is yet to constitute his cabinet.
A credible source said while it is true that the President is seriously searching for people he knows very well to be in his team, some stakeholders of the party in the affected states are of the opinion that they are in a better position to give him candidates since they know their members better.
Our source, a member of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC), said they had received several petitions from some state chapters that they would reject the list if the president chose candidates in their states that were not acceptable to them.
He said many of the party leaders claimed that President Buhari does not really know members of APC except the few ones that were members of the defunct Congress for Progressives Change (CPC), one of the parties that merged to form the APC and on whose platform Buhari contested the 2011 presidential election.
He cited the case of Akwa Ibom where, he said, many leaders in the state had written petitions against Senator Godswill Akpabio, a former governor of the state who joined the party shortly before the 2019 general elections.
He said: “I think the delay is because there is crisis in some states and the president is trying to avoid a major crisis which may shatter the relative peace we enjoy.
“While it is true that the president is trying to come up with a cabinet of people he knows, some stakeholders in the state are spoiling for fight, saying they are in a better position to select candidates who are loyal in the states and contributed immensely to the party’s victory in the just concluded elections.
“Many have argued that the president does not really know members of the APC except his former loyalists in the CPC and maybe ANPP.
“If he is looking for APC members he trusts and knows very well, will he now fill his cabinet with CPC members alone?
“I think this is what is delaying the list. Another thing is the indecision of the president himself. We all know that majority of the ministers who worked for him under the last dispensation will be returned.
“That is evident, given the reappointment of Abba Kyari as Chief of Staff and Boss Mustapha as Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).
“It will be difficult not to return someone like Lai Mohammed who performed creditably well as government’s spokesperson and party man. We all saw what he singlehandedly did in Kwara State.
“Someone like Babatunde Fashola and Rotimi Amaechi may also likely return. What we are not sure is if some states will get extra ministerial list where it is rumoured that former Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, is being considered.
“So, if many of these ministers are returning, the president should be decisive and make up his mind about the remaining ministers. We are not happy about the delay at all because we cannot defend it like we did in 2015 when the party just came into power afresh.”
Delay In Transmitting List No Big Deal, Won’t Affect 2020 Budget – Lawan
Meanwhile, Senate President Ahmad Lawan on Wednesday said delays by the presidency in submitting the list of ministerial nominees for screening was not a big deal.
Lawan, who met President Muhammadu Buhari, in company of the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, at the State House, Abuja, reacted to the controversies surrounding President Buhari’s delay to transmit the list to the Senate.
When asked how feasible the proposed January to December budget circle would be if Buhari continued to keep his ministerial nominees behind his chest, Lawan said: “I think there is nothing to worry us deeply, the budget itself is normally prepared by civil servants, the permanent secretaries superintend, and the directors will work most of the time.
“I believe that we are still on course, and I believe both the executive and the legislature are on the same page on this. We are desirous and are prepared and determined to pass the budget by the first and second week of December, by the grace of God, provided it is presented to us end of September.”
According to Lawan, since the Senate has confirmed the appointment of Tanko Muhammad as substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria, they were also prepared to confirm the ministerial nominees anytime the presidency deemed it fit to transmit the list.
He said part of their discussion with the president also centred on insecurity in the country.
Recall that Lawan had been quoted severally as saying that the 9th National Assembly would not be a rubber stamp to the rxecutive arm of government, even though the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and the presidency played prominent roles in the emergence of the leadership of the NASS.
On insecurity, Lawan said: “What we have discussed are those things that will ensure that the people of Nigeria are better protected, the economy of Nigeria performs better to the inclusion of everyone in the country, that governance generally is set to achieve the set targets of providing security and welfare for Nigerians.”
Commenting on how the National Assembly would collaborate to address insecurity, Lawan said they would cooperate with the executive arm of government, work together to ensure they find better approaches, improve paradigm to ensure we improve the current situation and address it appropriately.”
On the confirmation of the CJN and the possibility of seeing prompt confirmations in future, the Senate President said: “Yes, for sure. In fact, tomorrow we are going to confirm some directors of the NCC. What we did today is to set the tone of what will be coming in the future.
“That is to say, we will be confirming the nominees from Mr. President because that will really ensure that the country is properly governed and the CJN confirmation was a fantastic way to start the confirmation process, and we are very happy we are able to confirm him today having received the letter of request from Mr. President only last week.”
Since the inauguration of the president for a second term, some Nigerians have been worried over the delays to constitute the cabinet, citing negative impact on the economy in general.
On the crisis rocking the Edo State House of Assembly, Speaker of the House of Reps, Gbajabiamila, explained that since an ad hoc committee set up by the House had done its job, talks were on with the state government to ensure a proper proclamation order.
“As you know, we set up an ad hoc committee, they went to Edo State, the report was laid and considered today and the context of the report is very clear. I think what we did was to stick strictly by the rule or by the law that guides the Assembly and us as lawmakers.
“So, one of the recommendations, which I believe was approved by the House, was for us to have a proper proclamation with date, venue, and time which was missing in the first proclamation.
“They (Edo House of Assembly) have about a week to come up with the proper election of the principal officers. If in a week nothing changes, perhaps the House and the National Assembly as a whole would look at invoking section 11 of the constitution,” Gbajabiamila stated.
Asked what if the governor disagreed with the proposal, Gbajabiamila said: “If every party, every player was consulted, all sides were heard, I don’t think we should go down that route and say if the governor decides, that’s not a decision for anybody to make.
“The governor is somebody I know and I believe he will operate within the confines of the law and dictates of the law and National Assembly, and all other laws. So, I don’t think we should pre-empt the governor.”
On Bauchi House of Assembly, he said: “We are waiting but I believe they concluded today. The members who went to Bauchi would be back or are on their way back to Abuja, and I will wait until I get the report.”