*Lawmakers decry the waiting game
*Economy bleeds on lingering delay
SUNDAY ODE, Abuja
Lobbying for ministerial posts has intensified at the Presidential Villa, Abuja as President Muhammadu Buhari continuous to hold onto the list despite public anxiety.
Daily Champion can reveal authoritatively that since the declaration by the President penultimate week that he would appoint only people he knew to work with him as ministers and advisers, various interest groups have shored up their lobbying.
Interpreting Buhari’s pronouncement to mean that he would look more closely at those who worked for his reelection in the choice of his appointees, interest groups and associates have been scrambling for the President’s attention as they storm the Presidential villa on courtesy visits.
President Buhari was roundly criticized by many of his political associates for failing to reward most of them with appointments, preferring instead to appoint ‘outsiders’.
Governors on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Buhari’s first tenure had complained aloud about the President’s departure from the norm of allowing governors and state party chapters to recommend ministerial nominees.
The governors are not likely to have a different experience even in this second term as there are no obvious indications that they are being consulted by the President in his search for ministerial nominees.
Asked after a recent meeting of APC governors with the President in Aso Rock whether the issue of selection of ministers was discussed with them at the meeting, the governors replied that the decision was the prerogative of the executive arm that did not require their input.
“No, it is an executive decision,” Governor of Kebbi State and Chairman of APC Governors Forum, Atiku Bagudu, had replied when asked by newsmen if the list formed part of discussions at the meeting.
Accordingly, individuals and groups have been storming the Presidential Villa to present themselves to the President with a view to placing themselves on his consciousness so as not to be forgotten as he finalizes the list.
Prominent among the groups that Buhari recently received on courtesy visits and whose mission may not be unconnected with demands for ministerial appointments were Buhari. Campaign Organisation (BCO) led by Alhaji Danladi Pasali; Buhari Media Support Group headed by Niyi Akinsoju and. Buhari Support Group (now called Buharism Centre) headed by Umaru Dembo
Daily Champion could recall that the Council of Kogi State Traditional Rulers led by it’s chairman, Dr Michael idakwo Ameh Oboni had recently paid a courtesy visit on President Buhari and openly demanded that the President should give the state a senior minister this time around, possibly, the finance portfolio.The state produced a minister of state in Buhari’s first tenure.
Similarly, the Oba of Benin Oba Ewuare II was also at the Aso Rock seat of power to ask President Buhari for no fewer than two ministerial slots for Edo State.
Former Governor of Bauchi State, Isa Yuguda, was at the Presidential Villa on Tuesday to see President Buhari. It was believed that the visit afforded the former governor to canvass for a ministerial position in the yet to be constituted cabinet
Also, former Governor of Ogun State, Segun Osoba was guest of President Buhari recently at the Presidential villa. Though he said he was at the state House to intimate the President of his new book ‘Battlefront’, there were suspicions that he may have used the opportunity to chip in a word on behalf of someone eyeing the ministerial position from his state.
Though Buhari may have foreclosed the practice of having governors short list their favourites for ministerial and other positions, it is believed that some of the re-elected governors are pushing for the inclusion of former Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, in the ministerial list.
Yari has been seen frequently in the State House in the company of Kebibi Governor and Chairman of APC Governors Forum, Atiku Bagudu, to meet with President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
The President had told the leadership of the National Assembly at a dinner last week that though he was under intense pressure to constitute the new cabinet, he would only work with people he knew in his new term.
“Many at this dinner meeting are saying they want to see the list of the proposed cabinet so that they can go on leave peacefully.
“I’m very much aware about it; I’m under tremendous pressure on it. But the last cabinet which I headed, most of them, the majority of them I didn’t know them. I had to accept the names and recommendations from the party and other individuals.
“I worked with them for three and half years at least – meeting twice or two weeks in a month. So I know them.
“But, this time around I’m going to be quiet me – me in the sense that I will pick people I personally know,’’ he said.
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