By Elizabeth Chukwuma
Barely two months after Boss Mustapha, Secretary to government of the Federation who replaced Babachair Lawal , who was removed from office over alleged Corrupt enrichment hanging on n his neck, requested outgoing ministers to submit all outstanding memoranda to the Cabinet office, office of secretary to the government not later than April 30th, 2019, m they knew that the game was up.
Earlier Shehu Garba, a senior Special Assistant to the President on Median and Publicity had at the instance of President Muhammmdu Buhari, had asked the ministers to prepare their Comprehensive status reports on policies, programmes and projects on their respective ministries’, Departments and Agencies on or before April 24, 2019.
The Value News learnt the order by the two member of the Buhari Kitchen Cabinet to the ministers may have opened the Chapter for lobbying by the ministers from each of the states to make the new Cabinet list. They were said to have be joined by the some of the ex-governors who are also lobbying to make the list.
Presidency sources told the Value News that many of them have turned the Presidential Villa and Daura, the President home state as their own Makka to win the ear of the powerful political forces and relations who has great influence on the President. The President may have embarked on a 10-day private trip to the United Kingdom, according to escape the pressure from the political jobbers which include the ex-ministers and governors.
Ahmed Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state and National leader of the All Progressive Congress, was said to be the only close political ally that visited him at UK, within the period, fueling speculation that Tinubu, may play a major role in nominating most of the people that would make the new Cabinet list.
Sources told The Value News that the Katsina state born Nigerian President may not alter the old ministerial lis and Kitchen Cabinet list so much as most of the may be recalled The President may have drpped the hint in his recent remarks that minsters who excelled in their performance in the last Cabinet, would still make the list. Take for instance, Abba Kyari, the Chief of Staff , who is regarded as the Head of the Cabal in the Presidency, who still occupies his position , when many of the political appointees had vacated their offices.
Going by the Constitutional provision each state must have a minister on the Cabinet list which must be nominated by the governor of the state. There are fears the influential APC , members in the People’s Democrtic Party, PDP, controlled states , may want to decide who makes the new Cabinet list of the Buhari second term in Office. This is exactly what is happening in Rivers state between Rotimi Amaechi a former governor of the state and and who also served as the minister of Transportation in Buari’s first term in office and Nyesom Wike , the state governor.
Amaechi, who served as Director General of Buhari’s Presidential Campaign Organisation, was said to be doing everything within his powers including his using his personal relationship with the President and h closeness to the First Family to find his way back to the Cabinet to maintain his political relevance in the ruling APC and Rivers state.
Appearing on Channels Television recently he disclosed that his appointment for another term is at the discretion of the President. Note that the President had said that only former ministers who did well in their first term would be recalled. The former Rivers state governor considers himself a huge success in as minister of Transportation in the first term of the Buhari Administration said” only him will decide those who will be recalled to serve in the new government”.
He may have created in the mind of the mind of the President that he has some unfinished projects in the ministry which need to be completed which qualifies him to be reappointed. One of such projects is to continue with the construction of the rail line from Ibadan , south west geo-political region to the ancient city of Kano, in the north west.
He has revealed that of the 30 million tonnes of cargoes generated through the Apapa port alone annually only 200 tones are carried by rail, an indication that he may have booked a place in the new Cabinet yet to be formed to continue from where he had stopped.
Another project which was said to be handled by the former minister for the government was the negotiation for a loan facility for the supply of rail Coaches and Construction of the rail lines by the Chinese Civil Engineering and Construction Company, CCEC. ” We have applied for loan facility from China”, he had said.
Political watchers avers that the President may prefer to work with Amaechi, the former minister of Transportaion,than take another ministerial nominee from the state that may be presented by wike, the state governor for consideration. This is also the situation Akwa Ibom state, where Godswell Akpabio, a former governor of the state and former minority leader in the Senate, are at dagger drawn with Udom Emmanuel, the state governor , on who would be the deciding factor in producing the next ministerial nominee of the state in the new Buhari Cabinet.
Only recently Jibrilla Bindow, Kashim Shettima, Mohammed Abubakar, Rochas Okorocha, Akinwumi Ambode, Abiola Ajimobi, Ibikunle Amosun, Umaru Tanko, Ibrahim Gaidam and Abdullaziz, Yari, all former governors, were cited at the Presidential Villa ostensibly to pay homage to the President, which believe they were there to make him understand that they are still avavailable for appointment.
Okorocha, a former governor of Imo state, may have started the high level lobbying to win the Imo state ministerial slot when he invited Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President, to Commission most of the projects he had executed as governor of the state, within his eight years in office, which include , projects that ought to have been executed by the Federal government like the Owerri prison, which was given a facelift.
he may have invited the Vice President to see things for himself in the state, so as to put in words for him when the ministerial list would be compiled by the President.
Ambode, the immediate past Lagos state governor, who had lost out in the Tinubu Camp, knew that only his works would speak for him before the President. It was not surprising why he had invited him to Commission, the maternal and child health centre at the state Teaching Hospital, a bus terminal interchange at Oshodi, the first of its kind in Africa, a 10-lane road leading to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, and the Lagos Theatre House at Oregun, also in IKeja.
The President who was impressed with the performance of Ambode as Lagos state governor had said that his infrastructural development programme in the state was in line with the infrastructure policy of his Administration, especially on roads.
Many believe that if Ambode makes the ministerial list, it was his performance in Lagos state that gave it to him and not through the influence of Tinubu, regarded as the godfather of the southwest APC politicians or Raji Fashola, a former governor of the state and minister of Works, Housing and Power who is jostling to be recalled .
Shettima, a former governor of Borno, who may have had a rough time in his eight years in office, because of the activities of the Islamic Fundamentalists, popular BokoHaram, in the state, may have understood the political game very well that he also invited the President to the state to see things for himself. If he makes the Cabinet list, it may be on compassionate ground, because of what he had passed through in the state in the hand s of the Insurgents over the years which may not have brought out the best in him in governance or deliver on his electioneering Campaign promises.
Presidency sources told The Value News that the ex governors and ex ministers are not having any moment of rest as many of them have relocated to Abuja to keep regular touch with the President , Vice President and other influential members of the kitchen Cabinet and the party leaders.