by OBIORA IFOH
… as governors insist on hand-picking candidates
•Obasanjo, Tinubu may clash over Soludo’s nomination
The heat of leadership is already being felt by the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari as pressure mounts over ministerial nominations from party leaders and state governors from across the 36 states of the federation.
Prior to his election, Buhari had vowed to prune the cabinet, insisting that 42 man cabinet as operated by the Goodluck Jonathan administration is not to the best interest of the nation.
Buhari also said his cabinet will not be for patronage, as only people of integrity and with professional backgrounds will be considered.
But barely a month to the inauguration of the All Progressives Congress, APC, government on May 29, Buhari is now being inundated with pressure by notable political leaders, who aided his victory and are now hoping to reap where they sown.
The party had requested three nominees per each state for Buhari to make final choice but it appears that the request is being spurned by some of the leaders who are insisting on hand picking their nominees.
Among these leaders, Sunday Mirror learnt include the APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, some oil moguls and APC state governors, among others.
Party sources told our correspondent said that the 22 APC governors have told the party leadership to hands off the ministerial nomination matter as it concerns their respective states.
According to the source, who is a member of the National Executive Committee of the APC, “At the beginning when it was suggested that state executive should send the list of three nominees for assessment, the governors appeared not to have issues with that, but everything has changed and they are now insisting that they submit their sole recommendation for possible ratification.
“The governors are insisting that they want to avoid unnecessary rancour from the onset as sending three names will generated heated politicking that may end up causing more crisis in their state chapters.”
Several nominations have continued to be received by Buhari as politicians appear to have ignored the party leadership choosing to deal directly with the president-elect.
Virtually all the state chapters of the party have continued to pay visit to Buhari both at home and at his temporary office at Defense House, where it was learnt that high scale lobbying is taken place.
Top on the list of nominees that may form the government include the former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Professor Charles Soludo, who is being considered for the Ministry of Finance. Soludo, according to source is ex-president Obasanjo’s nominee.
Soludo was a member of the economic team in the Obasanjo government prior to becoming the governor of the CBN. Many APC leaders are however said to be opposed to his nomination. One of the reasons is that Soludo remains a card-carrying member of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA.
The other is that it was under Soludo that the banking sector almost collapsed; a situation confirmed by the former CBN chief and Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, a loyal supporter of the APC.
The former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, is considered also to be strongly against Obasanjo’s recommendation.
Prior to the APC victory, it is believed that Buhari and Tinubu may have entered into an agreement to cede some top ministerial positions including Petroleum, Finance, Works, Federal Capital Territory and Interior to him.
Also being considered to make the cabinet is Prof. Bath Nnaji from Enugu State, who is expected to pair with Prof Tam David -West as an Adviser to supervise the Petroleum Ministry. Both men had headed the ministry in the past and Nigeria recorded modest achievements in the sector under their watch.
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