Battle Of Wits By Politicians To Make Buhari’s Ministerial List

 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. 

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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.

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