- El-Rufai, Ganduje, Bagudu, Badaru, and Wike are all in the running for portfolios.
- Rivers APC refuses giving spot to Masari, Rahman, Oshodi, and 17 others to be confirmed as aides, given cabinet roles
As the race for ministerial nominations nears its conclusion, there are strong indications that no less than five former governors will be included on the president’s list of nominees that will be submitted to the Senate for approval between now and next week.
The odd list, nicknamed the “cabinet of (political) unity,” would include nominees from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and a number of technocrats.
President Bola Tinubu’s handshake has already sparked competition and intrigue in political camps over the selection of competent candidates in several crucial states.
However, there may be enough slots to go around for the most sought-after individuals. The Guardian has learned that, barring a last-minute adjustment, the cabinet will be as bloated as that of previous President Muhammadu Buhari, but with significant portfolio rearrangement.
The President has less than 20 days left out of the 60 days permitted by the Constitution to transmit his list of Ministers to the Senate for confirmation.
Yesterday, it was learned that a 42-member cabinet is planned since “each state is constitutionally mandated to have a representative at the cabinet, and each of the six geological zones will also have members in the unity government,” as the previous administration did.
The new cabinet will be made up of 42 Ministers and 20 Special Advisers. One notable shift from the previous administration would be the expected removal of Ministers of State. Additionally, SAs will contribute to discussions in the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meetings held on a weekly basis.
It is also expected that certain huge ministries would be split into two or three to generate enough portfolios for cabinet members. Works and Housing, Agriculture and Rural Development, Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, and Youth and Sports are among the ministries that would be affected.
Dr. Adekunle Tinubu is the Personal Physician; Tunde Rahman is the SSAP (Media); Damilotun Aderemi is the SSAP (Private Secretary); Ibrahim Masari is the SSAP (Political Matters); Toyin Subair is the SSAP (Domestic); Abdulaziz Abdulaziz is the SSAP (Print Media); Otega Ogara is the SSAP (Digital/New); Demola Oshodi
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); Sunday Moses – PA (Videography); and Taiwo Okonlawon – PA (State Photographer).
According to a document obtained over the weekend, the potential nominees are awaiting President Tinubu’s formal approval before being officially disclosed. Some of the nominees have already begun working in their allotted positions.
However, the APC’s state chapters and national secretariat were excluded from the process of recommending ministerial nominees because “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.”
Former governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, may have been penciled in to be part of the final list to be submitted to the Senate, especially for his role in the emergence of Hon. Tajudeen Abbas as Speaker House of Representatives. Furthermore, the report of the APC committee on real federalism, which he headed in 2018, is considered to be one of the key reasons he is supported by Tinubu’s camp.
Former governors Abdulahi Ganduje (Kano), Abubakar Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Muhammad Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa), and Nyesom Wike (Rivers) are also on the list.
Senator Gbenga Daniel, the former governor of Ogun State, is reportedly being preferred over Senator Ibikunle Amosun for the ministerial list.
Kayode Fayemi, the former governor of Ekiti State, is also being considered for the position of Foreign Affairs Minister. He was the previous administration’s Minister of Mines and Steel.
Senator Tokunbo Abiru, a banker, is being groomed to become the new Finance Minister in Lagos, the President’s stronghold. His departure from the Senate, where he presently represents the Lagos East senatorial district, will open the door for former Lagos governor Akinwunmi Ambode to rejoin the President’s political family. Ambode is expected to replace Abiru in the Senate following his recent reconciliation with his godfather.
Following planning by various interest groups and camps inside the party, the APC in Delta State is unsure who will be chosen minister.
According to The Guardian, even the party’s leadership was not pushing anyone for the ministerial role, as the door remained open for anyone interested.
According to a party source, the party has been divided into two groups, one led by former senate deputy president Ovie Omo-Agege and the other by Lauretta Onochie and Dr Cairo Ojougboh, who was reportedly ejected from the party.
According to a credible source, “from the top, the party may decide to pick Festus Keyamo, because he was the presidential campaign spokesman and has been assisting the President to defend his case at the tribunal.”
However, it has been reported that another group is rooting for Otega Emerhor, with Omo-Agege’s support, because he is still seeking to’reclaim’ his governorship mandate at the election tribunal.
There have been rumors in Cross Rivers State that some party leaders have been pressing Aso Rock for ministry jobs.
According to sources in Calabar, interested parties include the immediate past governor, Prof. Ben Ayade; former senate leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba; APC National Women Leader, Dr Betta Edu, who was a former commissioner for Health in the state; a governorship aspirant in this year’s elections, Senator John Owan Enoh; former party chairman and ambassador, Soni Abang; immediate past Board chairman of Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) and one
While Edu is counting on party heavyweights, females, and the ‘office of the First Lady’ to advance her cause, Ayade is depending on his influence and connections with former governors. Ndoma-Egba is relying on his experience and ties with his colleagues in the National Assembly to see him through.
However, the All Progressives Congress (APC) Legacy Group, Cross River State, has cautioned Tinubu against picking ministerial nominees from the state.
“It is important for the APC and Tinubu to be properly guided before he makes the choice of his minister from Cross River,” their leader, Sampson Egom, said in a statement issued in Calabar.
“Let the party reward and promote this silent majority, who do not have political godfathers and godmothers,” the declaration says.
According to a new addition to the 1999 Constitution, the President and governors must submit the names of those nominated as ministers or commissioners to the Senate or state House of Assembly for confirmation within 60 days of taking the oath of office.
President Tinubu was sworn in on May 29, making him in office for 42 days. Dele Alake, the presidential spokesman, had urged Nigerians to expect Tinubu’s cabinet roll call within the first 30 days of his presidency, a break from his predecessor, who took six months to launch one.
In May, Alake stated, “A month at most is enough for any serious government to form its cabinet and put a government structure in place after the swearing-in.”
However, Alake backed down on that deadline last Thursday, stating it was the President’s exclusive right to nominate people to the new cabinet “when he is good and ready.”
Responding to inquiries from State House Correspondents in Abuja, Alake stated that Nigeria has a presidential system that solely gives the President the right to designate ministers.
“You know, this is an executive presidency; we’re not running a parliamentary system,” he explained. So the money comes to a halt on his table, and he selects who is suitable and proper to be on his cabinet list.”
Alake, a Special Adviser on Special Duties, Communications, and Strategy, highlighted an avalanche of’speculations’ in the public domain, noting that such reports were fabricated.
“I can tell you that everything you’ve been reading in the media is a lie.” All of those things are completely false. “You will be the first to know about the President’s intentions when he is good and ready,” he continued.
Expectations are strong that when the list of ministerial nominees is released, notable individuals who may not have been prominent in the South-east area or the APC would be included.
According to the Guardian research, Tinubu is willing to accept politicians and eggheads who can help his administration achieve national cohesiveness in order to ease discontents caused by his election. It was learned that in doing so, he may not be able to rely only on members of the party who contributed to his success in the region.
Toward the end, it was disclosed that the list might include a mix of members, particularly from the PDP and APC, with the goal of strengthening the party in the region.
Tinubu has received ex-governors of Enugu and Abia states, respectively, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and Okezie Ikpeazu. They were among the PDP’s G-5 governors. While it is unclear whether Ikpeazu would make the list, Ugwuanyi is thought to be a lock due to his close relationship with Tinubu and his efforts as governor to unite the country.
In Abia, however, there is a schism over control of the party between former Minister Uche Ogar and the party’s governorship candidate in the 2023 elections, Ikechi Emenike.
Members of the party are divided as a result of the schism. According to one report, the party may have submitted two lists of potential ministers to the president.
Though Ugwuanyi is not a member of the APC, his demeanor has endeared him to a wide range of people and may gain him a position in Tinubu’s cabinet.
Another aspect is the state APC’s turmoil, which has divided the party and reduced its chances in the recent elections. Allowing either of the factions commanded by Ugochukwu Agballah or Adolphus Ude, among others, to nominate candidates was thought to exacerbate the issue.
Former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim, is rumored to be on the list in Ebonyi. Anyim’s friendship with the state’s immediate past governor, Dave Umahi, who would eventually have a voice in who is selected from the state, is considered to be a factor.
Before the election, Anyim openly endorsed the APC’s governorship candidate, a position that many felt had an impact on Tinubu’s success in the state. President Tinubu has received Anyim at the State House.
Imo state Governor Uzodimma will almost certainly have a say in the selection of a minister to represent the state.
The upheaval in the Anambra APC may force the president to search elsewhere for his minister. He only met with former PDP National Publicity Secretary Olisa Metuh last week.
In a similar incident, the Rivers State APC has rejected Wike any cabinet nomination slot.
Darlington Nwauju, the state party’s spokesperson, denied the assertion at a press conference on Wednesday, calling it “the most fantastically audacious of lies.”
In response to a publication authored by the former Chief of Staff to the Rivers State Government and state leader of the Amalgamated Bola Tinubu Campaign Council, Chief Tony Okocha, Nwauju stated that “the state chapter of the party has never interacted with the Amalgamated Bola Tinubu Campaign Council, emphasizing that there are more than a hundred NGOs and support groups who worked for the APC in Rivers State.”