Niyi Odebode and John Alechenu
There were indications on Saturday that President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress had begun moves to compensate the South-East for not getting any appointments so far in the current administration.
SUNDAY PUNCH reliably gathered that some states in the geopolitical zone might get more than one ministerial slot.
The Presidency and the APC sources, who spoke to SUNDAY PUNCH on condition of anonymity, also justified the appointments made by Buhari on Thursday.
A top member of the party said the President was not unmindful of criticisms that greeted the alleged lopsided appointments.
He said, “The President has assured us that all zones that have not been represented in the appointments he has made so far will be compensated.
“For example, some states in the South-East may get more than one ministerial slots. The President is going to make board and ambassadorial appointments. All zones, including the South-East, will be represented in this government.”
Prominent Nigerians and socio-political groups, have criticised the appointments made by Buhari so far.
Out of 31 appointments made so far, 24 of the appointees are from the North and seven are from the South. The South-East has no representation in the Buhari-led government.
SUNDAY PUNCH however gathered that the emergence of the new Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Pastor David Lawal, and the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, was the result of the politics among power blocks in the APC.
It was learnt that the two appointees belonged to the Congress for Progressive defunct Change, which Buhari led, before it merged with other parties to form the APC
A Presidency source told one of our correspondents that Lawal and Kyari were picked because of their closeness and loyalty to the President.
The source said, “Although the President is a loyal member of the party, the levels of trust he has in the members differ. There are various blocks in the APC.
“You don’t give appointments such as chief of staff and the SGF to your rival or his loyalists; you give them to those you can vouch for. Those posts are ears and eyes of the President and they are not subjected to the party’s ratification.”
It was also gathered that the latest appointments confirmed the existence of various power blocks in the APC.
It will be recalled that the CPC, led by Buhari, merged with the Action Congress of Nigeria, the All Nigerians Peoples Party and a faction of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, led by the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, to form the APC.
They were later joined by five governors, who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar also defected from the PDP to the APC.
Meanwhile, the Presidency, on Saturday, assured Nigerians that by the end of the series of appointments being made by Buhari, no part of Nigeria would feel alienated.
The Special Assistant to the President on Media Affairs, Mr. Garba Shehu, said this in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents.
When asked if the South- East and other parts of the country, who are complaining of being marginalised by Buhari would be compensated, Shehu said appointments so far made by the President were just a few out of so many that would be made by the President.
He said, “There will be ministers, heads of government departments, federal boards and ambassadors. At the end of the exercise, no part of the country will be left feeling left out.”
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