By Yusuf Alli:

*  Lagos PDP rejects Aganga *Saraki tackles Danjuma on Kwara
*  Jubilation in Akwa Ibom *Wife’s nominati

Many governors may have lost the battle to have their favourites in the cabinet, it was learnt yesterday.

They are protesting. But, the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have a slot conceded to them.

It was also learnt that a former President of the Senate, Chief Adolphus Wabara, may make the final list of nine nominees.

The Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has on submitted a list of would-be ministers to the Senate.

The list, which was updated on Wednesday, contains 33 names. The old cabinet had 42 members. The Presidency is working on the outstanding nine, amid pressure from stakeholders and godfathers.

A highly-placed source said: “Most of the governors are not happy because their nominees were rejected because of the pressure on the Acting President to satisfy some powerful Nigerians.

“They spent a greater part of Thursday protesting to party elders and influential aides close to the Acting President.

“But the Acting President has taken his time to explain why he had to apply broad yardsticks in choosing his team. He told some of the governors that he has nothing against them.”

Some of the governors include those of Bauchi, Nasarawa, Imo, Benue, Katsina, Borno, Taraba, Ogun, Anambra, Abia, Lagos and Kebbi.

A source said: “For instance, Governor Ikedi Ohakim was shocked that his nominee was rejected in favour of Capt. Emmanuel Iheanacho, who is the choice of the National Chairman of PDP, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor.

“The governor is querying why Ogbulafor, who is from Abia State, should have to determine the state’s nominee. We know that Iheanacho has always been the candidate of Ogbulafor, and he had tried to force the nominee on President Yar’Adua twice without security clearance.

“As for the Governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam, his nominee was rejected in favour of the slot conceded to the President of the Senate, Chief David Mark.

“In Ogun State, ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo single-handedly determined the candidates. The two candidates are alleged to be politically estranged with Governor Gbenga Daniel.

“But to pacify the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Dimeji Bankole, who is from Ogun State, the Acting President asked the Speaker to nominate a cabinet member from a state in the South-West outside Ogun State.

“We learnt that Bankole might choose his nominee from Oyo State, a development being resisted by the Governor, who has nominated former Minister of State for Finance Mr. Remi Babalola, into the cabinet.”

The nomination of Mrs. Josephine Anenih from Anambra State confounded a former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the PDP, Chief Tony Anenih, it was learnt. He is said to be worried over the motives of those who picked his estranged wife for minister.

“Apart from the rejection of Anenih’s nominee for Edo State (Godwin Abbe), it was shocking that anyone could be doing him a favour in Anambra State,” said another source.

As at press time, governors of Ebonyi, Adamawa, Benue, Kwara and Cross River were battling to have their nominees among the nine remaining minister-designates.

A source said: “As for Kwara State, it is a battle royale between the Chairman of the Governors’ Forum, Dr. Bukola Saraki and the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee, Gen. T. Y. Danjuma.

“Saraki had already re-nominated the immediate past Minister of Transport, Alhaji Isa Bio Ibrahim from Kwara North Central District, but Danjuma insisted on the choice of his former Special Assistant, Mr. John Dara, from Kwara South.

“Both the governor and his father, Dr. Olusola Saraki, who supported the emergence of Jonathan as Acting President, have called the bluff of Danjuma.”

Of the nine nominees left, a former President of the Senate, Chief Adolphus Wabara, might make the list to represent the South-East.

A source said: “The Acting President seems favouraby disposed to those pushing for Wabara, who is rated as a meticulous diplomat. I think the acting President on Wednesday met with Wabara at the Presidential Villa.”

In Akwa Ibom State, there was jubilation over the nomination of Hon Ndueso Essien.

A former governor was said to have been disappointed that he did not make the list.

The loss of the slot is seen by politicians in the state as a big setback for the former governor’s bid to boost his camp’s chances.

A party to celebrate the nomination had been planned. It was shelved for obvious reasons, a source said.

The source said: “Jonathan couldn’t have appointed former governors, some of who wanted to be president in 2007 but failed. How do you expect them to be minister under somebody who they think they are better than?”

An Akwa Ibom Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader, Obong Dominic Udoro Attah, said: “We are happy with the choice of Essien Ndueso and it is a message to the spineless opposition in the state that Governor Akpabio is in charge.

In Lagos, the PDP is protesting the choice of Mr Olusegun Aganga as the state’s representative in the cabinet.

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