The much awaited list of ministers is eventually with Bukola Saraki, Senate president, who is going to preside over decision on who will be in the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari, but this has not controversy over expectations
| By Olu Ojewale | Oct 12, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT |
THE suspense is over. After about four months of speculation and anxiety, President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday, September 30, submitted the first batch of his nominees for ministerial positions to the Senate. The list was said to contain 21 names.
The list was delivered to Bukola Saraki, Senate president, who acknowledged its receipt and promised to read the president’s letter to his colleagues at the Senate plenary on Tuesday, October 6, when the upper legislative arm resumes sitting.
Since the list was submitted, there has been some speculations about names of those on the list. Even though Saraki said he would not open the letter until Tuesday, October 6, the media is awash with names of some notable individuals suspected to be on the list.
Prominent among those who are believed to be on the list are Chibuike Amaechi, former governor of Rivers State, and Babatunde Fashola, his counterpart in Lagos State. Others are Chris Ngige, Ogbonaya Onu, Kayode Fayemi, former governors of Anambra, Abia and Ekiti states respectively. The rest are Aisha Alhassan, a former gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Taraba State; Amina Mohammed, a special adviser to Ban Ki-Moon, secretary-general of the United Nations; Kunle Adeosun, a former finance commissioner in Ogun State; Malami Abubakar, SAN, a former national legal adviser to the defunct Congress for Progressives Change and Ibe Kachikwu, group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, among others.
One curious thing about the list is the said name of Kachikwu appearing on it. This because he is already a trusted hand at the NNPC and being made a minister is going to be an additional burden unless, he is going to vacate the corporation. In any case, Kachikwu can only be a junior minister of petroleum since Buhari has already announced himself as the substantive minister of petroleum.
While the Senate considers the 21 names on the list, information in circulation indicates that the remaining 15 names would be submitted to the lawmakers before the end of the week. According to the constitution, each state of the federation is entitled to a ministerial slot in the federal cabinet.
To ensure that right persons are selected, it was learnt that Buhari insisted that thorough background checks be conducted on all the nominees. Most of the checks were said to have been conducted by security agencies, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Even at that, there were reports of some horse-trading within the APC over the appointments.
Nevertheless, five factors were said to have determined the appointment of those on the list by the president.
These included strict adherence to principle of non-interference in choosing his cabinet; integrity or pedigree; selfless service; old acquaintances and less exposure to political influence.
During the compilation of the names, Buhari was said to have given priority to those he believed would deliver and those he had trusted over the years, especially those who worked with him when he headed the defunct Petroleum Trust Fund, PTF, and in the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, as well as the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC.
According to sources, through this method he was able to eliminate godfatherism because at some point, leaders of the APC could not get information on who would be on the list of his cabinet.
Since names of suspected appointed ministers were released, there has been a sort of anxiety across the country. Some Nigerians have expressed disappointment over the names of those they believed should not be there.
For instance, the likes of Fashola and Amaechi, who are being accused of corruption in their respective states said to be on the list. Besides, some persons felt betrayed that the list only contained names of politicians and not technocrats as promised by the president.
Among this school of thought is Monday Onyekachi Ubani, a human right lawyer. Ubani said he had not found anyone to be called a technocrat among those mentioned by the media and he would be disappointed if only politicians were appointed to the cabinet. “Well, since the media are still being speculative, I will be disappointed if technocrats are not appointed into the cabinet. What Mr. President promised us is that he would appoint technocrats and if he doesn’t it will be a great disappointment. But if this all we have been waiting for all this while, I will also be disappointed,” Ubani said.
Fredrick Fasehun, founder of the Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, said he would rather wait to see if best hands would be in the cabinet. “As a man with a vision of what he wants for the country, I want to believe that the President is not in a hurry to send all the lists because he wants the best hands for the job,” Fasehun said.
On his part, Abubakar Tsav, retired Police commissioner, wants Nigerians to be patient and also be supportive of the president so as to find the right people to help him in his war on graft. “Whatever people he wants to work with, let us hope and pray that they will be the ones to stop corruption in this country. It is time to do away with selfish and corrupt elite in this country. Buhari needs our maximum support to take Nigeria to the next level,” Tsav said.