Mixed reactions over Buhari’s minsters
The sealed envelope sent to the National Assembly, on Wednesday, last week, containing list of 21 prospective ministers that would form President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet was yesterday unveiled by the Senate President, Bukola Abubakar Saraki.
Political analysts believe that contrary to widespread belief, the list did not elicit much surprise, especially when viewed from speculations that trailed the long awaited release.
Similarly, more than half of the nominees are familiar names and stalwarts of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), a development that raised fresh concerns that Buhari vowed to mounting pressure from his party.
However, now that the list is out, pundits believe that some of the nominees would find it difficult to scale through screening at the Senate.
A Professor of political science and international relations, Hassan Salihu, said that from the political point of view, the ministerial list of Buhari was in order.
However, he said the list betrayed the expectations of Nigerians who had expected the president to nominate fresh faces.
“From the point of view of politics, I think he has acted well but from the point of view of change that people are expecting, it is possible that some people may not be too pleased because if a man has served as governor for eight years and he is now being called upon to come and be minister, are we saying there are no good Nigerians again?
“And if the president has taken four months, certainly the expectation of Nigerians is that he would bring in totally new set of people to reflect the change mantra that the party made too much noise about during the campaign.”
According to Dr Mohammed Musa, a political analyst, the allegations of corruption against some of the nominees will come to play during their screening.
“Also, from the list, it is evident that some of the nominees are not in good terms with the governors of their states and some of the senators from their states. I only pray that this will not cause a gridlock.
“Honestly speaking, if the claims made by Buhari that he wants to bring onboard people that are like angels, I did not expect to see some of the names we saw. I am sure the president had vowed to pressure from certain quarters.”
Junaidu Mohammed, a public commentator said it is premature for anyone to condemn any of the ministerial nominees.
“Giving the system we are going to operate, the ministers would be less powerful than they used to be because they would work much closer with the people in the civil service.”
On its part, the APC said all is well.
The deputy national chairman of the party, Engineer Segun Oni, said: “We feel very good. When you talk of party, you can go through the list. You will see that a lot of party leaders featured prominently in the list. You will see that this is really a cabinet that is made up of people who are respected within the party, people who have contributed their quota.”
But the PDP said there was nothing exciting about the list.
The party in a statement yesterday by its national publicity secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, said it was hard to explain why President Buhari took much time in naming his cabinet.
The party said the list and the length of time it took have further confirmed that the APCled administration is “driven by propaganda and deceit, a development that raises doubts on the sincerity of its anti-corruption crusade.”
Based on constitutional provision, Buhari would have to send additional 15 names so that each of the 36 states in the country would have a minister.
“May be we would see the angels we are yearning for in the forthcoming list,” said Barrister Idris Aliyu, a legal practitioner. The nominees are: Abubakar Malami (SAN): Is a constitutional lawyer who is among those that played prominent role in the formation of the APC in 2013. Following the delay in registering the party, he told the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that the merging political parties seeking to be registered as APC have crossed the constitutional hurdles.
He said: “The position of the law is clear on this. INEC is expected to make pronouncement on party’s request for registration within 30 days. If the electoral body refuses to make a pronouncement at the end of 30 days, such a party is deemed to have been registered because the operative word in this regard is within 30 days and not otherwise.”
Abdurahman Bello Dambazau: Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau is a retired Nigerian Army LieutenantGeneral who served as Chief of Army Staff (COAS) during the reign of late President Umaru Yar’adua. He is from Kano State and has been visible throughout the APCs presidential campaign. Sources say he remains active in giving professional advice to the president on security issues. In fact, at the initial stage of the Buhari’s administration, many people thought Dambazau would be made the National Security Adviser.
Aisha Al-Hassan: Popularly known as Mama Taraba, she would have been the first female governor in Nigeria. She was a senator who represented Taraba North constituency of Taraba State under the PDP but later decamped to the APC and became the gubernatorial candidate of Taraba State for the 2015 general elections. She was defeated in the election re-run held on 25th of April 2015.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed: For some reasons, very few people expected that Lai Mohammed will make the ministerial list of Buhari. He is an outspoken lawyer, and as the national publicity secretary of the APC, he has defended the actions and inactions of the APC.
Babatunde Raji Fashola: A former governor of Lagos, from May 29, 2007 to May 29, 2015, is a notary public of the Supreme Court of Nigeria and one of those that played active role in the formation of the APC. Observers believed that his recent travails with the APC leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and Governor Ambode would scuttle his dream of becoming a minister but all is now history.
Adebayo Shittu: He is from Oyo State and was among those speculated to be ministers. A lawyer by profession, Shittu came to the APC from the CPC wing and stood by his party firmly. He reportedly refused to decamp, even when he contested and lost the gubernatorial primary poll in the last election.
Solomon Dalong: Is from Plateau State and equally a lawyer, activist and a university lecturer. He had stood by the minorities in Plateau State throughout the crisis period. A serious supporter of President Buhari, Dalong lost to the incumbent governor of the state during the primary election. He had served in Buhari’s transition committee.
Senator Chris Ngige:
A staunch loyalist of Buhari, observers suggested that if not for the fact that he failed in his bid to return to the Senate, Ngige would have been the Senate president in the 8th Assembly. He was governor of Anambra State from May 29, 2003, to March 17, 2006, under the PDP.
A medical doctor by profession, Ngige’s election was nullified by a tribunal.
Rotimi Amaechi: If trouble at one’s home state will deny such a person access to any opportunity at the national stage, Amaechi, a former governor of Rivers State, would have been a victim. It is believed that his ‘stubbornness’ worked well for him during his ‘war’ with former first lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, that culminated into his dumping of the PDP.
Amaechi had played vibrant role in the formation of the APC and was the director-general of Buhari’s campaign organisation.
Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, had set up a panel to probe the N8.45 billion allegedly spent by Amaechi on the Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte Hospital.
Before now, there were insinuations that he will not make the ministerial list.
Chief Audu Ogbeh: He was the national chairman of the PDP from 2001 until January 2005 when he was allegedly forced to resign due to his criticism of President Olusegun Obasanjo’s handling of a crisis in Anambra State. An indigene of Benue State, he was appointed minister of communications in 1982 and later became minister of steel development.
Senator Udo Udoma: He was elected senator for the Akwa-Ibom South constituency of Akwa-Ibom State in 1999 under the PDP and was reelected in April 2003 under the PDP platform.
Senator Hadi Serika: He said to be an ardent supporter of Buhari. A retired pilot from Katsina State, Serika was a senator who represented Katsina North Senatorial District.
Ibrahim Usman Jubrin: He is from Nasarawa State and is said to be a dependable and highly principled technocrat who was working with the Abuja Geographic Information System (AGIS). He is now at the Nasarawa State Geographic Information System.
Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu: A former governor of old Abia State and one of the national leaders of the APC. He is also a former national chairman of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) which merged to form the current governing party in Nigeria. In fact, he was the party’s chairman who led the ANPP in the merger talks. He struggled to ensure that the people of the South-east geopolitical zone embraced the APC ahead of the 2015 general elections.
Ahmed Isa Ibeto: He is the immediate deputy governor of Niger State who was ejected from the weekly cabinet meeting for dumping the PDP for APC on January 19 this year. Ibeto said he left the PDP because of injustice and lack of internal democracy. He is an historian, who became local government chairman at the age of 28, shortly after completing his national youth service.
Mrs Amina Mohammed: She was born of a Nigerian father from Gombe and a British mother from Wales. She was educated in Nigeria from the age of 2 in Birnin Kebbi, Kaduna and Maiduguri before finishing in the Isle of Man. She has been in Nigeria since 1980 and reportedly set up the Afri-projects Consortium with 4 other male colleagues.
She was asked by former president Olusegun Obasanjo to come and design a mechanism to spend the debt relief Nigeria acquired in 2005 on poverty related programmes.
Dr. Ibe Kachikwu. He is from Delta State and was recently appointed as the group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Kachikwu was the executive vice chairman and general counsel of Exxon-Mobil (Africa). He is a first class graduate of law from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and the Nigerian Law School. The new NNPC chief executive also has master’s and doctorate degrees in law from the Harvard Law School.
Mrs. Kemi Adeosun: She was a former commissioner for finance in Ogun State. Mrs. Adeosun is an economics graduate and a member of the Institutes of Chartered Accountants, England and Wales, with over 23 years’ experience gained in the United Kingdom and Nigeria.
Eng. Suleiman Adamu: He is a civil engineer who graduated from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in 1984. He was principal consultant with Afri-Projects Consortium, management consultants to the Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund, where he was actively involved in the planning and preparation of several national infrastructural projects in the health, education, transportation, agriculture, water resources and energy sectors.
Dr Kayode Fayemi: A former governor of Ekiti State, he received degrees in history, politics and international relations from the Universities of Lagos and Ife in Nigeria and his doctorate in War Studies from the prestigious King’s College, University of London, England, specialising in civilmilitary relations. He worked as a lecturer, journalist, researcher and strategy development adviser in Nigeria and the United Kingdom.
Dr. Osagie E. Ehanire: He is from Edo State and also an outstanding surgeon who holds an (MD) of college of Medicine, Ludwig Maximillians University, Munich. He also holds post graduate diplomas from the Teaching Hospital of the University of Düsseldorf and Essen, Germany in the areas of anaesthesiology, general surgery, and orthopaedic trauma surgery.
Chief John Oyegun
President Muhammadu Buhari