By Yusuf Alli:

As the nation awaits the list of new ministers, some prominent Nigerians have become the toast of lobbyists seeking to be appointed into the cabinet.

The lobbyists include ex-ministers desperate to return to the cabinet.

Among those being wooed are: ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo (the godfather of Jonathan); ex-President Ibrahim Babangida; the President of the Senate, Chief David Mark; the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee, Gen. T.Y. Danjuma; the National Security Adviser, Gen. Aliyu Gusau (rtd); the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Mahmud Yayale Ahmed.

They also include: a former Minister of Information, Chief Edwin Clark; ex-Minister Godsday Orubebe(who was single-handedly nominated into the cabinet by the Acting President); ex-Minister Diezani Allison-Madueke(a confidant); ex-Minister Odein Ajumogobia; Senator Smart Adeyemi(a long-standing friend of the Acting President); and Senator Emmanuel Paulker(a political godson of Jonathan).

A presidency source, said: “There is no doubt that these Nigerians have the listening ears of the Acting President.

“That is why lobbyists have almost turned the homes of these people, especially the NSA and Yayale to a Mecca of sorts. The pressure is too much on these people but they have been careful in giving commitments.”

The Nation

learnt that some lobbyists, on Thursday invaded Minna, Niger State to see ex-President Ibrahim Babangida. They were disappointed as the ex-military leader has traveled out of the country.

A source, who was part of a delegation to the hilltop mansion for some ex-ministers, said: “We had a failed trip to Minna because the ex-Military President has traveled abroad for a well-deserved rest after the death of his wife. Well, the lobbyists have no choice than to continue to prevail on ex-President Obasanjo, Danjuma and others for a second chance for their candidates.”

State governors, The Nation also learnt, are lobbying to have their nominees appointed into the cabinet.

They are, however, finding it difficult to have their way with Acting President Goodluck Jonathan.

Investigation by The Nation revealed that unlike the case with President Umaru Yar’Adua, the governors’ nominees might not be given automatic ticket.

A source close to the Acting President said: “It is true that governors are making recommendations to the Acting President, who is insisting that every nominee will be considered on merit.

“So, this time around, the governors are in a fix because their recommendations will be considered alongside others from their states. They cannot call the shots with Jonathan as they did when Yar’Adua was reconstituting the cabinet in 2008.

“One of the reasons why the governors won’t have their way is because some of them have personal scores to settle with some ex-ministers.

“Security reports have shown that some desperate governors do not want to appreciate merit in what some former ministers did in office.

“The fear of the governors using their nominees for political reasons and contract patronage has made the Acting President to be wary of their motives. That is why the Acting President has an open attitude to the choice of new ministers.”

Jonathan, according to sources yesterday, is insisting on merit in the appointment of ministers because he does not want a lame duck cabinet.

The last cabinet reshuffle by President Yar’Adua was on October 29, 2008 when 20 out of the nation’s 42 ministers were dropped.

But barely a year after reshuffling the cabinet, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua became ill leading to the emergence of the Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.

Following division in the cabinet, Jonathan on Wednesday dissolved the inherited Federal Executive Council.

If the new ministers emerge next week, Nigeria will have three sets of ministers within four years.

The reconstitution of the cabinet has led to politicking with pressure on the Acting President, associates, aides, and relations.

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