BY OLUSESAN LAOYE and OKUNADE ADEKUNLE
The All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate and President-elect, Major-General Muhammed Buhari, may have finally edged out political godfathers in the choice of his ministerial nominees.
Hallmark was informed that Buhari who was trying to avert the controversy already trailing the choice of those who would make his cabinet has directed the elected governors under the APC and incumbent Governors to forward to him three ministerial nominees from their states to be considered in the new cabinet.
Hallmark was informed that Buhari gave the mandate during the crucial meeting he held with them in Abuja on Monday night. Sources revealed that Buhari took that decision to allow governors in their respective states to nominate people for ministerial appointments, after he was inundated with several names from political godfathers in the state, a situation which it was said got him worried and confused.
It was said that since the APC is still having the knotty issue of the National Assembly leadership to be resolved, he decided that he would not allow the ministerial issue to overwhelm him to the extent that some godfathers may want to dictate to him, on his choice of who to consider in his team.
Hallmark gathered that Buhari in order not to be seen as departing totally from the party’s policy and the constitutional provision for the appointment of ministers, specifically told the governors to shop for those who are vast in the policy of the party and those who have contributed meaningfully to the progress and the success of the party both in their states and at the national level.
He was also said to have told the governors that they should also consider technocrats who are ready to work in line with the party’s policies and programmes in the list they would forward to him.
The pronouncement by Buhari may have put to rest the agitations coming from party leaders in their respective states over who should be nominated.
One of the leaders in Ondo state, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Hallmark that although the directive by the President-elect would eliminate a one man-show in some states, he was convinced that the elected governors would not singlehandedly draw up the list, but would still have to consult widely among party leaders and members, before names are sent for the final ratification by the President-elect.
It was however learnt that despite the fact that Buhari asked the governors to submit three names to him from their states, he too would not unilaterally make the final selection as the names would be deliberated upon by the national leaders, party’s executive Council and Board of Trustee, after which a strong and effective internal screening committee would be set up to examine the list before it would be ratified by the NEC of the party for onward transmission to the Senate.
Meanwhile, based on the directive from the President-elect, political observers believe that the party may be heading for a serious crisis, as there would be some party leaders in some states who may want to dictate to the governors as to whom to present.
For instance, it was argued that this kind of problem may occur in some of the states where the APC has no governor or governors-elect.
Some of the states in question are Ekiti, Ondo, South-South states except Edo, and all the South East states. It was argued that there could be problems there because there would be clash of interests between the APC governorship candidates and some states and national leaders. Also in the South West, there are speculations that the likes of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who had requested for ministerial slots may want to dictate the names in the
list for the incumbent governors.
It would be recalled that Hallmark reported exclusively on Tuesday May 5, 2015 that Asiwaju Tinubu may have perfected plans to block the incumbent governor Fashola and former Ekiti Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi from getting ministerial appointments.
Speaking with Hallmark on the issue, the Director of Publicity and Strategy of the APC in Osun State, Barrister Kunle Oyatomi, said that the governors would not work alone, and adding that they would need to work with party leaders in their respective states. According to him, the governors, party leaders and stakeholders of the party would have to sit to draw up the list.
He further said that other interest groups within the states and the country would be phantom into the list that would be presented to Buhari, saying that since they can read the lips of Buhari, he was
sure that he Buhari, would be presented with credible names who would work with him to bring the country out of the present problems. He however pointed out that in each state there are more than thousands of people qualified to be ministers “but all of us cannot be there but what will happen is that the best would be picked for the country”.
Also commenting on the directive, a member of the APC in Oyo state and a veteran Journalist, Mr. Sola Oshotoye said that it was a good development for the country. He added that the move by Buhari was an indication that he was ready to run an open and transparent government. He was also of the opinion that the governors would not on their own send the names without consulting party leaders and the stakeholders in the party.