Nigeria: Intrigues, Intense Lobby Delay Submission of Ministerial List

Buhari's ministerial appointments (file photo).
12 July 2019

Intense intrigues and lobby have restrained the submission of President Muhammadu Buhari's list of ministerial nominees to the Senate in spite of assurances by the presidency on Wednesday night that the list had been concluded and was on its way to the upper chamber of the federal legislature.

A presidency source had told THISDAY that the president had closed entries into the list and directed its submission just as he had instructed the transmission of his application for approval for appointment of 15 special advisers.

The President of the Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan, had told his colleagues on Tuesday that he was expecting the list shortly in order to enable the Senate to consider the nominees and confirm them before the legislators proceed on recess.

But THISDAY gathered last night that the nation might have to wait a while to know those the president would be proposing to work with as the intrigues surrounding the compilation of the nominees have become intense with former ministers mounting blistering pressure to return to office.

Many of them are said to have besieged the president's close associates to lobby them to make a case for their aspirations.

However, they are said to have met with stiff opposition from party faithful and campaign canvassers, who believe that having worked hard during the electioneering to secure success for the party and Buhari in the general election, they should be the beneficiary of the victory.

"Party officials are strong in their position that they could not work for others to reap the fruit of their labour," a presidency source said, adding: "They are insisting that most of the former ministers must give way to members of the party that made the president's re-election possible."

Buhari is said to be torn between these two tendencies and appears to be unable to make a decision, recalling the list severally to make changes.

But a reliable presidency source told THISDAY last night that the list would be transmitted by weekend because time is no longer on the side of the president.

"It has almost become a credibility issue," he said, "because the president had indicated he would send the list on Wednesday, which explained the assurance the Senate president gave his colleagues on Tuesday."

The Senate, a source had told THISDAY on Wednesday, had decided to postpone its recess by one week to enable it consider the ministerial list.

The National Assembly is scheduled to proceed on its long vacation on July 25 to resume in the fourth week of September. Except the Senate gets the list by Tuesday, confirmation hearing may not happen till October.

Buhari Meets National Assembly Leadership

Meanwhile, Buhari last night in Abuja hosted the leaderships of both the Senate and House of Representatives led by Lawan and Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila to dinner in the State House behind closed-doors.

It is believed that the meeting attended by members of both the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was called by the president to solicit their support for the screening of the ministerial nominees.

It is also believed that the president might hand over the ministerial list to them at the end of the meeting.

Present at the meeting were Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege; Senate Leader, Senator Abdullahi Yahaya; Chief Whip, Senator Orji Kalu; Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Ajayi Borofice; Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Sabi Abdullahi.

Also present were the Minority Whip, Senator Philip Aduda; Deputy Minority Leader, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha; Deputy Minority Whip, and Senator Sabi Wau. The Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, was, however, absent.

Leaders of the House of Representatives present were House Leader, Hon. Ado Doguwa; Deputy Whip, Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha; Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu; and Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Toby Okechukwu.

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