By Sam Akpe:
Fresh information have exposed how intense power-play by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, pressure groups and state governors almost marred selection of ministerial nominees.
Each group, it emerged at the weekend, tried to hijack the exercise.
In particular, Obasanjo was said to have submitted lists of nominees “as though he wanted to appoint all the required number of ministers,” a situation that placed Acting President Goodluck Jonathan in a dilemma.
Sources disclosed to Sunday Independent that the appointment of Murtala Yar’Adua, son of the late senior Shehu Yar’Adua, from Katsina State, was at the prompting of the former President who also suggested Josephine Tapgun of Plateau State.
The former President was also said to have vetoed the appointment of Adamu Waziri (Yobe), Jibril Martins-Kuye (Ogun) and Dora Akunyili (Anambra).
Sources said it was the intervention of Obasanjo that led to the inclusion of Akunyili’s name in the second list sent to the Senate. “Many of the stakeholders were against her appointment.”
In particular, Obasanjo was said to have insisted that Akunyili played crucial roles during the 2007 political campaign that led to the election of Umaru Yar’Adua and Jonathan.
Akunyili’s disclosure of the existence of a cabal loyal to the sick President at the risk of the nation coupled with the memo she presented at the Executive Council of the Federation (EXCOF) meeting asking for the invocation of Section 144 of the Constitution against President Yar’Adua was said to have created opposition against her reappointment.
Unofficial sources said most of Obasanjo’s nominees attracted opposition from some state governors who made their nominations on behalf of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The governors were said to have been opposed to recycling of people who had earlier served in previous administrations, a situation
they were not given the opportunity to make meaningful input in the appointment of the emerging ministers.
Sources said that matters were made worse for the governors when Jonathan was ambushed by Obasanjo with his long list which he was forced to prune down to five nominees.
For example, Sunday Independent learnt that a governor from the South South was particularly disappointed when Jonathan refused to grant his request to nominate a minister for his state even after the said governor had had to cut short his trip to the United States to rush down to Nigeria on learning that the nomination of the ministers was going on.
“They considered it morally wrong for Jonathan to accept nomination of persons dropped by the same administration when fresh minds with fresh ideas are available,” said a source at the Villa.
It was also revealed that former minister, Mohammed Sanusi Daggash, was nominated by a pressure group represented by business mogul, Aliko Dangote.
Sunday Independent also learnt that non-reappointment of Ufot Ekaette, former Minister of Niger Delta, and another of Obasanjo’s candidate was because of his advice against invocation Section 144 of the Constitution against Yar’Adua.
“He was seen as a member of the so-called cabal although he was never seen to have been disloyal to Jonathan, he offered his advise at any point bluntly,” confirmed our source.
Ekaette was labeled as one of the 12 wise men who stood against any action “that could embarrass Yar’Adua out of power in his present state of health.”
Meanwhile, sources said “Jonathan is trying to put his team in place. The message he is sending is clear, ‘this is Goodluck’s government, not exactly that of Yar’Adua.’
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