Cab­i­net: Why Buhari with­drew Ibeto

Se­nate con­firms 18 nom­i­nees, de­lays Amaechi’s screen­ing

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - By Is­mail Mu­dashir & Ahmed Tahir Ajobe, Minna

Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari yesterday re­placed one of his min­is­te­rial nom­i­nees, the for­mer deputy gover­nor of Niger State, Ahmed Musa Ibeto, with a for­mer House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives whip, Abubakar Bwari Bawa.

Se­nate Pres­i­dent Bukola Saraki read a let­ter from the Pres­i­dent an­nounc­ing the with­drawal of the nom­i­na­tion of Musa Ibeto.

The sub­sti­tu­tion came on the day that the Se­nate con­firmed 18 out of the 37 min­is­te­rial nom­i­nees.

A source fa­mil­iar with the horse trad­ing that led to the sub­sti­tu­tion of Ibeto told Daily Trust that the Niger State gover­nor, Abubakar Sani Bello, met Pres­i­dent Buhari at the

Pres­i­den­tial Villa on Tues­day to lobby for the sub­sti­tu­tion with some­one from another zones of the state.

The re­quest was hinged on the fact that the gover­nor him­self, the speaker of the state house of assem­bly and other key po­lit­i­cal of­fice hold­ers are all from the same zone; Zone C of the state.

The nom­i­na­tion of Ibeto, who is also from the same zone, was cre­at­ing po­lit­i­cal ten­sion in the two other zones (A and B) ow­ing to what many say was lop­sid­ed­ness in the shar­ing of top of­fices in the state.

It is not clear if the nom­i­na­tion of the one­time whip of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, Abubakar Bawa Bwari, will as­suage the anger of the Nupe peo­ple who were also keen to see one of their own ap­pointed.

Op­po­si­tion had mounted against Ibeto’s nom­i­na­tion not only form Niger East Sen­a­to­rial Dis­trict which felt short­changed in ap­point­ments made so far by the in­cum­bent Gover­nor, Abubakar Sani Bello, but also key stake­hold­ers from po­lit­i­cal di­vides ir­re­spec­tive of party af­fil­i­a­tions.

“There is an ex­ist­ing po­lit­i­cal un­der­stand­ing of the ro­ta­tion of the three key po­si­tions of gover­nor, deputy gover­nor and min­is­ter amongst the three sen­a­to­rial dis­tricts in the state,” source told Daily Trust yesterday.

“It was on this strength that in 1999, dur­ing the Obasanjo ad­min­is­tra­tion, when Pro­fes­sor Jerry Gana from Niger South Sen­a­to­rial Dis­trict was nom­i­nated for min­is­te­rial ap­point­ment, for­mer Gover­nor Ab­dulka­dir Kure ob­jected to his nom­i­na­tion. There­fore, Engr. Mustapha Bello from the Niger North Sen­a­to­rial Dis­trict was even­tu­ally nom­i­nated.

“It was based on this agreed prin­ci­ple of fair rep­re­sen­ta­tion that in 2007 when Dr Shem Nuhu Zag­bayi of Niger East Sen­a­to­rial Dis­trict was nom­i­nated for Min­is­te­rial po­si­tion that Gover­nor Mu’azu Ba­bangida Aliyu who came from the same sen­a­to­rial dis­trict with the nom­i­nee ob­jected to it. This led to the ap­point­ment of Barr Has­san Gimba from Niger South Sen­a­to­rial Dis­trict as Min­is­ter of Sport.

“This was done to main­tain the needed po­lit­i­cal bal­ance and sense of be­long­ing for all, for peace­ful co­ex­is­tence, good gov­er­nance and rapid eco­nomic growth and de­vel­op­ment,” the stake­hold­ers had ar­gued.

For­mer gover­nor of the state, Al­haji Ab­dulka­dir Kure, was the first to have drawn at­ten­tion to what many be­lieved was an ‘ano­maly’, point­ing out that ex­ist­ing ar­range­ment was hinged on the need for sense of be­long­ing by all com­po­nents of the state.

He said the ges­ture has so far helped in bring­ing har­mony among di­verse groups in the state and urged ap­pro­pri­ate author­i­ties to in­ter­vene in dous­ing the ten­sion.

Daily Trust learnt that key stake­hold­ers from the two zones met over the week­end to draw up a road map for the fu­ture. At the said meet­ing which stretched for hours, party af­fil­i­a­tions gave way to zonal con­sid­er­a­tions.

A flag off by the Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party (PDP) in the state ahead of the Novem­ber lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tion in the state showed a pop­u­lar­ity shift to­wards the op­po­si­tion party. The mam­moth crowd de­fied po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tions. “They can have their min­is­ter and other ap­point­ments now but we will see if the APC will re­turn in the next elec­tion,” some­one shouted into the mi­cro­phone at the oc­ca­sion last Fri­day.

The gover­nor had kept up the pres­sure on the pres­i­dency un­til the pres­i­dent was said to have yielded at the last minute to re­place Ibeto with Bwari.

Bwari’s emer­gence has doused the ten­sion that had built up overtime in the state. A protest ear­lier planned by youth in the sen­a­to­rial dis­tricts cry­ing marginal­i­sa­tion was shelved when Bwari was named as Ibeto’s re­place­ment.

Min­is­te­rial nom­i­nees Dr Chris Ngige, Aisha Jum­mai Al­has­san and Hadi Sirika dur­ing their screen­ing yesterday

Photo Macjohn Akande

NNPC Group Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Ibe Kachikwu, dur­ing his screen­ing as a min­is­ter at the Na­tional Assem­bly in Abuja yesterday.

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