There are strong indications that no less than five former governors will be included in the president’s list of nominees that will be sent to the Senate for approval between now and next week as the competition for cabinet lists enters its final stages.
Nominees for the odd list, which has already been termed the “cabinet of (political) unity,” will come from the governing All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and a large number of technocrats.
The handshake between President Bola Tinubu and members of opposing parties has already sparked political intrigues and disputes over who should represent certain crucial states.
There could, however, be enough openings to accommodate everyone who applies. According to informations, unless something last-minute changes, the cabinet would be just as bloated as that of the last president, Muhammadu Buhari, but with significant portfolio realignments.
Less than 20 days remain for the President to give the Senate his list of ministers for review out of the 60 days specified by the Constitution. Information obtained on Sunday states that, a 42-member cabinet is anticipated since “each state is constitutionally required to have a representative at the cabinet and as it was done by the previous administration, each of the six geological zones will also have members in the unity government.”
A total of 42 Ministers and 20 Special Advisers will make up the new cabinet. The expected abolition of Ministers of State will be one of the notable differences from the previous government. At the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) sessions, SAs will also participate in the discussions.
The splitting of certain substantial ministries into two or three is another planned change that will give cabinet members adequate portfolios to work with. The following ministries will be impacted: Youth and Sports, Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Works and Housing, Agriculture and Rural Development.
Dr. Adekunle Tinubu, personal physician; Tunde Rahman, SSAP (Media); Damilotun Aderemi, SSAP (Private Secretary); Ibrahim Masari, SSAP (Political Matters); Toyin Subair, SSAP (Domestic); Abdulaziz Abdulaziz, SSAP (Print Media); Otega Ogara, SSAP (Digital/New); Demola Oshodi, SSAP (Protocol); Tope Ajayi – SSAP (Media & Public) and Yetunde Sekoni – SSAP.
Others are Motunrayo Jinadu – SSAP; Segun Dada – SAP (Social Media); Paul Adekanye – SAP (Logistics); Friday Soton – SAP (Housekeeping); Mrs Shitta-Bey Akande – SAP (Catering); Nosa Asemota – SAP (Visual Communication) Personal Photographer; Kamal Yusuf – PA (Special Duties); Wale Fadairo – PA (General Duties); Sunday Moses – PA (Videography); and Taiwo Okonlawon – PA (State Photographer).
Preliminary permission from President Tinubu is required before the potential nominees can be formally revealed, according to a document saw over the weekend. In fact, a few of the candidates have begun performing their allocated duties.
As “the governors are in charge and states where opposition parties occupy the seat of government, party leaders make recommendations, which is why some states have multiple nominees,” the state chapters and national secretariat of the APC have been excluded from the process of recommending the ministerial nominees.
The former governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, could have been one of the governors who was pencilled in to be on the final list that was forwarded to the senate because of his contribution to the election of Hon. Tajudeen Abbas as Speaker of the House of Representatives. In addition, it’s reported that one of the main reasons Tinubu’s camp is supporting him is the report of the committee he led that was established by the APC in 2018 to study real federalism.
Former governors Abdulahi Ganduje (Kano), Abubakar Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Muhammad Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa), and Nyesom Wike (Rivers) are among the others. Furthermore, it was heard that Senator Gbenga Daniel, a former governor of Ogun State, is preferred over Senator Ibikunle Amosun for the ministerial list.
Former Ekiti State governor Kayode Fayemi is also a candidate for the position of foreign affairs minister. As Minister of Mines and Steel under the previous administration, he had experience.
Senator Tokunbo Abiru, a banker, is in line to become the new Finance Minister in Lagos, which is the President’s stronghold. To make room for the re-entry of former Lagos governor Akinwunmi Ambode into the President’s political family, he is leaving the Senate, where he presently represents the Lagos East senatorial constituency. Ambode is being considered to take Abiru’s seat in the Senate after recently mending fences with his godfather.
Following plotting by the various interest groups and camps within the party, the APC is unsure who would be nominated minister in Delta State.
The party’s leadership, according to The Guardian, was not pressuring anyone to apply for the cabinet job since there were no candidates in the running.
According to a party source, the party has split into two factions, one led by Dr. Cairo Ojougboh and Lauretta Onochie and the other by former deputy senate president Ovie Omo-Agege, who was allegedly ejected from the party.
Festus Keyamo, who served as the president’s campaign spokesperson and has been aiding the president to defend his case at the tribunal, may be chosen by the party at the top, said a dependable source.
Since Omo-Agege is still trying to’reclaim’ his governorship mandate before the electoral tribunal, it was also learned that another faction is cheering for Otega Emerhor with his backing.
There have been rumours in Cross Rivers State that senior party figures have lobbied Aso Rock for ministry appointments.
Sources in Calabar suggested that interested parties included the immediate past governor, Prof. Ben Ayade; former senate leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba; APC National Women Leader, Dr. Betta Edu, a candidate for governor in this year’s elections; former party chairman and ambassador, Soni Abang; immediate past Board chairman of the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) and one-time commissioner for information, A.
Ayade is counting on his power and connections with several past governors, whilst Edu is depending on some party heavyweights, females, and the “office of the First Lady” to further her case. To survive, Ndoma-Egba is relying on his expertise and on his connections with other members of the National Assembly.
However, a group called the All Progressives Congress (APC) Legacy Group, Cross River State, has sounded a note of caution to Tinubu in appointing ministerial nominees from the state.
Sampson Egom, the group’s head, said in a statement released in Calabar: “It is crucial for the APC and Tinubu to be properly led before he makes the pick of his minister from Cross River.
This quiet majority, which lacks political godfathers and godmothers, should be rewarded and promoted by the party, according to a portion of the statement.
A new addition to the 1999 Constitution mandates that within 60 days of taking the oath of office, the President and governors must submit the names of those nominated as ministers or commissioners for confirmation by the Senate or state House of Assembly.
On May 29, President Tinubu took the oath of office, marking his 42nd day in office. Dele Alake, the president’s spokesperson, had earlier advised Nigerians to anticipate Tinubu’s cabinet roll call within the first 30 days of his administration, in contrast to his predecessor who took six months to launch one.
Alake stated in May that “a month at most is enough for any serious government to form its cabinet and put in place a framework of government after the swearing-in.”
But last Thursday, Alake reclined on that timeline, saying it was the President’s sole prerogative to appoint persons into the new cabinet “when he is good and ready”.
Responding to inquiries from State House Correspondents in Abuja, Alake emphasised that Nigeria operates under a presidential system that solely gives the President the right to designate ministers.
You know, we’re not operating a legislative system here, he continued; this is an executive presidency. So, the bucks stop on his table, and he decides who is fit and proper to make his cabinet list.”
Alake, a Special Adviser on Special Duties, Communications and Strategy noted the avalanche of what he described as ‘speculations’ in the public domain, adding that such reports were mere fabrications.
“I can assure you that all the information you have been reading in the media is a complete lie. All of those statements are completely untrue. You will learn about the President’s objectives as soon as he is prepared, he assured.
Expectations are high that when the list of ministerial nominees is unveiled, notable persons that may not have been prominent in the South-east region or in the APC may form part of it.
Investigation revealed that Tinubu, to assuage discontents arising from his election, is ready to accommodate politicians and eggheads that could enable his administration achieve a national cohesion. It was gathered that in doing so, he may not rely solely on members of the party that worked for his success in the region.
Towards the conclusion, it was disclosed that the list may include a mixture of PDP and APC members, adding that the goal was to boost the party in the area.
Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and Okezie Ikpeazu, the former governors of Enugu and Abia states, have so far been given to Tinubu in that order. They were PDP governors that were part of the G-5. While it is not clear whether Ikpeazu could make the list, that of Ugwuanyi is said to be a done deal based on his closeness with Tinubu and his efforts to unite segments of the country as governor.
However, there is a disagreement in Abia over party control between former minister Uche Ogar and Ikechi Emenike, the party’s candidate for governor in the 2023 elections.
Party members are split along the fissure. The party may have given the president two lists of prospective ministers, according to a source.
Although Ugwuanyi is not a member of the APC, it has been learned that his persona, which has made him popular with a wide range of people, may help him get a job in Tinubu’s administration.
The APC’s internal instability, which has split the party and reduced its electoral prospects in the past, is the other contributing element. It was speculated that allowing any of the factions led by Ugochukwu Agballah or Adolphus Ude, among others, to nominate candidates would fester the crisis.
In Ebonyi, there are rumours that former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim, may also make the list. Anyim’s closeness with the immediate past governor of the state, Dave Umahi, who will eventually have a say in who should be appointed from the state is said to be a factor.
Before the election, Anyim publicly supported the APC’s nominee for governor, a move that many believed had an influence on Tinubu’s success in the state. At the White House, President Tinubu greeted Anyim.
It seems improbable that the governor of Imo state, Uzodimma, won’t have a voice in the minister selected to represent the state. The president could search elsewhere for his minister due to the conflict inside the Anambra APC. He only recently spoke with Olisa Metuh, the former PDP national publicity.
In a similar incident, Wike was not granted any cabinet nomination slots by the APC in Rivers State.The accusation was refuted by the state party’s spokesperson, Darlington Nwauju, who called it “the most fantastically audacious of lies” during a press conference on Wednesday.
Nwauju stated in response to a publication written by Chief Tony Okocha, a former chief of staff to the Rivers State government and state leader of the Amalgamated Bola Tinubu Campaign Council, that “the state chapter of the party has never interacted with the Amalgamated Bola Tinubu Campaign Council, stressing that there are more than a hundred NGOs and support groups who worked for the APC in Rivers State.”