Former governors, senators, and other bigwigs in the All Progressives Congress, APC, have intensified lobbying for ministerial appointments from President Bola Tinubu.
Webteam@ipledge2nigeria investigations indicated that some state chapters of the ruling party have already compiled names of persons nominated for ministerial slots, while others are still in the process.
According to reliable sources, the lists are set to be forwarded to the party’s secretariat in Abuja for onward transmission to President Tinubu, who will decide on the shortlist and unveil the names of ministers and their portfolios any time soon.
Webteam@ipledge2nigeria recalls that former President Muhammadu Buhari, on March 17, 2023, assented to a bill mandating the President and governors to submit the names of persons nominated as ministers or commissioners within 60 days of taking the oath of office.
Buhari signs amended bills that mandates Tinubu to name cabinet within 60 days.
The lists are subject to confirmation by the Senate and state House of Assembly, respectively. In line with this new order, President Bola Tinubu, who took over power on May 29, has less than 33 days left to unveil the list of his ministers.
There are 27 ministries left vacant by the previous administration. These are:
Federal Capital Territory Administration
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
Ministry of Aviation
Ministry of Budget and National Planning
Ministry of Commerce and Industry
Ministry of Education
Ministry of Environment
Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Health
Ministry of Information and Culture
Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy
Ministry of Interior
Ministry of Justice
Ministry of Labour and Employment
Ministry of Petroleum Resources
Ministry of Water Resources
Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development
Ministry of Mines and Steel Development
Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs
Ministry of Power
Ministry of Transportation.
Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development
Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation
Ministry of Youth and Sport
Ministry of Works and Housing
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
While President Tinubu has been enjoying public acceptance following his recent appointments, there are worries that party loyalists rather than competent individuals may occupy the ministerial seats.
Webteam@ipledge2nigeria findings indicated that some of the party chieftains, including ex-governors and former lawmakers who lost out in the February 25 election, have been sighted frequently at the APC National Secretariat in the past few weeks. Their sudden appearances at the secretariat in the nation’s capital are being construed as an apparent jostling for ministerial positions.
Others did not show up in Abuja, but their names are strongly mentioned as likely candidates to appear on the ministerial list. This category includes former governors Ikedi Ohakim of Imo State, Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, and Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano.
Similarly, there are speculations that former Rivers State governor Nyesom Wike, currently a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stalwart, is contemplating defecting to the ruling party for a subsequent appointment.
States chapters of APC are also contending for slots as compensation for their contribution to Tinubu’s presidential victory.
The immediate past Senate Majority Leader, Senator Ibrahim Gobir, is being considered for a ministerial slot in Sokoto State, while party members in Osun State are rooting for the immediate past governor of the state, Gboyega Oyetola, to be named a minister.
Beyond rumours, a party source who spoke on the condition of anonymity confirmed that some party members who did not win the last general election but toiled tirelessly to ensure Bola Tinubu’s victory on February 25 will be rewarded with ministerial jobs or other high-ranking positions.
He was quick to add, however, that such appointments would be determined on a quid pro quo basis.
He said: “You want to be appointed as a minister, but meanwhile you were not able to even deliver your own polling unit for Asiwaju. It is not possible; this is politics.
“There are people in the party who obviously worked against us. Such people are now lobbying for ministerial slots, how is that possible? The fact that you are well-known in the party is not enough reason to be appointed. You gain favour based on the favour you render.”
He further added: “There are some people who were not members of our party but fought a good fight to ensure that Asiwaju won that election; should Tinubu now abandon them and go for those who didn’t do anything just because they are party members? No, it doesn’t work like that.
“If you are not loyal, you cannot work with Bola Tinubu. He works with people he trusts, not someone who is just an APC member.”
Iorfa Thomas, a leader in the ruling party and a former senatorial candidate in Benue’s Zone C senatorial district, claimed that Tinubu will have a good cabinet that will provide Nigerians with the desired level of governance.
According to him, previous appointments made by the president are a good indicator of how his ministers will also be appointed.
He said: “President Tinubu will not disappoint Nigerians; even though he does not have enough time, Nigerians should expect capable people in his cabinet. It is not about spending the whole year looking for a capable person. I believe he already knows those he can work with.”
Continuing, he noted: “Former president, Buhari had almost half a year to pick his ministers, yet they didn’t meet the expectations of average Nigerians. Tinubu has limited time based on the recent law mandating him to pick his ministers within 60 days of his assumption of office, but he will have the best ministers in the history of the country.”
He said further: “If you look at his recent appointments, you will see that the president balanced them by going to different regions. He is going to make sure that nobody is left out.
“For example, in Benue, the Tiv already have George Akume as Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF); so a ministerial slot is likely to be given to Zone C, the Idoma nation.
“I am certain that at the end of the day, when the list is out, we will all have reasons to celebrate the President.”
Some state chairmen contacted by Ipledge2nigeria declined to speak on the matter.