New Governments And The Likely Teams
With the last week swearing-in into office of the President, Mr. Muhammadu Buhari and 29 elected state governors, Nigerians were full of expectation that by now, the new helmsmen would have announced major appointments, and hit the ground running as promised during the campaign.
Barely a week after, while some state governors have announced major appointments, majority of them, including President Muhammadu Buhari have not made or announced major appointments that will likely shape their governments.
Investigation reveals that in most states, the delay in announcing the appointments is as result of the interference and consultation between the incumbents and their predecessors to avoid early political crisis.
In states where some appointments have been announced, the appointees were almost the same persons that worked with the immediate past government in the states.
To many, it has been recycling of men of yesterday to continue with the government of today.
Meanwhile President Buhari has appointed two media aides namely Mr. Femi Adesina and Mallam Garba Shehu. Other major appointees that will run the presidency such as Chief of Staff, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), and others are still pending.
The president’s request for approval to appoint 15 special assistants has been granted by the National Assembly, Nigerians are still holding their breath to see those that will make the list.
The development has created room for media speculation, intrigues and scheming among chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) across the country who have relocated to Abuja, jostling for appointments in the new government.
A source within the APC leadership disclosed to The Guardian that there has been power play among the party blocs that formed APC namely, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP), Congress For Progressive Change (CPC) and a faction of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) over who makes the ministerial list since Buhari was sworn in.
“There has been serious power play and intrigues among the forces in the various political parties that formed APC.
“Apart from this, there is also intense lobbying by former ministers and governors who served in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government, but are being positioned by their godfathers who worked behind the scene for Buhari’s victory in the poll.
“There is also another group who has been with President Buhari since his foray into politics who believe that they are the right people to serve in his government. It has been clashes of interest, but President Buhari has the final say. Such is expected in politics, especially where the party in power is a product of merger. There is a lot of interests and coalitions,’ the source disclosed.
But a source close to the presidency who craved anonymity told The Guardian that the delay in the announcement of key appointments by Buhari is not unconnected with non-inauguration of the 8th National Assembly.
Accordingly to the source, ‘things have changed for good. Buhari is not under pressure as being speculated. He is taking his time to unveil his team after National Assembly is inaugurated.
“Buhari said in his inaugural speech that security is of utmost concern to his government. He has started tackling the insecurity by his visit to Chad and Niger recently. He is not a man that one can easily push around.”
It was also disclosed that when the members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party met with Buhari within the week, they discussed the best way to go about running the party and the government.
According to a member of the NWC, the president and the party leadership agreed that zonal caucus of the party should meet and harmonise their position on ministerial appointments.
It was alleged that the members expressed their displeasure over the interview the president granted one of national dailies before his swearing-in where he said that he knew those that would work with him.
The Guardian learnt that there have been discordant tunes, squabbles and backbiting among the national, zonal and state stakeholders of the party over who made the ministerial list since Buhari won the presidential poll.
It was revealed that in some states, the situation has degenerated to members assaulting each other physically in meetings. Some had visited President Buhari before the swearing-in to lobby and blackmail their rivalries.
Meanwhile several names have been flying in the social and print media as those that will likely make the list of Buhari’s appointees. While some of them are household names that have been in successive governments, others are men of yesteryears that have been in political limbo for long and needed rehabilitation.
Speaking on the development, a legal expert Mrs. Joy Nwangwu said that it is too early to stampede the president into appointing cabinet members.
Nwangwu said: “There is nothing illegal about the delay. It is understandable that Nigerians want to see quick change. There is need for patience and caution. This is a new government that needs time.
In his own remarks, a Lagos-based Pentecostal cleric, Pastor Emmanuel Nwaba, Buhari government needs prayers from Nigerians to avoid being hijacked by forces of darkness that has held the country down for years now.
“Buhari’s victory was divine and timely. Nigerians will benefit from it because they voted and clamoured for it. No matter how long Buhari delays his cabinet list, he should be mindful of the fact that he cannot afford to disappoint Nigerians. Much was given to him and much is expected from him,’ Nwaba said.
As Nigerians wait patiently for Buhari to unveil his team, expectations are very high that they will be men and women of proven integrity and outstanding track record. Anything short of this may mean that nothing much has changed, rather it is a case of old wine in a new bottle.