Cabinet: Ex-governors intensify lobby for slots

A FEW ex-governors may have been among those President Muhammadu Buhari alleged, last week, to be putting him under pressure on the constitution of his next cabinet.

An investigation by The Nation shows that the ex-governors want ministerial appointments for themselves or be allowed to recommend nominees from their states.

But damning security reports on the financial dealings of some of the ex-governors while in office may count against them, sources said.

One of them is alleged to have been sharing of dollars to those he thought could help push his case to become a minister.

But a few of them, who are desperate, have recommended ministerial nominees in case Buhari cannot accommodate them.

It was also gathered that some serving governors are already pleading with the President to allow them make input into the selection of nominees from their states.

Investigation by our correspondent revealed that the ex-governors accounted for most of the pressure on the President.

The ex-governors were said to be seeking ministerial slots or wanted their nominees for “political ego” because they want to remain godfathers in their respective states.

Some incumbent governors are lobbying to get their loyalists appointed as part of the strategy to stop independent-minded ministers from either succeeding them or becoming the rallying point in their states.

A top source said: “For political relevance, ex-governors are foremost among those mounting pressure on the President. They don’t want to lose out of the political equation in their states.

“They are whipping up sentiments on the roles they played in backing Buhari for second term and how they have stabilized the National Assembly for him with the emergence of the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

“Most of them want to retain the godfather status in their states. Some of them also want the ministerial ticket as a kind of immunity against prosecution by the Buhari administration.

“But security reports do not favour most of them at all. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) as at December 31, 2018 indicated that states were then indebted to the tune of N3.853trillion. “These debts were either mismanaged or unjustified.

“Some of these governors are under investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for mismanaging their state resources. Yet, the same former state chief executives want to be ministers. Justifying their appointments will be difficult for the President. This is one of the factors for the pressure being faced by the President.”

Responding to a question, the source added: “These ex-governors have become so desperate such that one of them is sharing dollars to lobbyists who have the ears of the President.

“But the cash-for-ministerial ticket lobbying is a waste because the President has refused to listen to anyone. He has warned members of his family and aides against such indulgence. He has not only kept his ex-ministers in suspense, it has been difficult for governors to know his mind set.

“He does not discuss cabinet issue with his closest aides. Anyone dishing out cash to lobbyists is wasting his money. That era is gone in this country for now.”

Investigation also revealed that those who have information about the ministerial list,    especially security agents conducting the screening, have been put on oath to stop the list from leaking to the public before its dispatch to the Senate for confirmation.

“All the agents in charge at the Department of State Security Service (DSS) are on oath and once there is any leak, it can be easily traced,” a highly placed source said.

“Everyone is abiding by the oath because Buhari is a man of Spartan discipline who can impose maximum sanctions if you betray any trust.”

Section 147(1-3), provides that the President has to run his government with at least 36 ministers at one each per state.

The section reads:  “There shall be such offices of Ministers of the Government of the Federation as may be established by the President.

“Any appointment to the office of Minister of the Government of the Federation shall, if the nomination of any person to such office is confirmed by the Senate, be made by the President.

“Any appointment under subsection (2) of this section by the President shall be in conformity with the provisions of section 14(3) of this Constitution:

“Provided that in giving effect to the Provisions aforesaid the President shall appoint at least one Minister from each state, who shall be an indigene of such state.”  (The Nation )

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