By LEKE ADESERI, South West Regional Editor, CLIFFORD NDUJIHE, SIMON EBEGBULEM, CHRIS OCHAYI & VINCENT UJUMADU

LAGOS — IF feelers from the Presidency, weekend, are anything to go by, President Goodluck Jonathan may not rely on the list of 10 names each sent from the states in appointing  members of his new cabinet.

Apart from being in favour of technocrats, who would deliver his campaign promises to Nigerians without playing undue politics, sources said the President was getting disturbed by the furore and bad blood the lists are generating among members of his ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, across the states.

Indeed, Defence Minister, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, SAN’s suspension from the Ondo State PDP has been traced to struggles over who would be on the list. And Chairman of the Ekiti State PDP caucus in the House of Representatives, Hon. Duro Faseyi, has raised the alarm that a chieftain of the party had sent assassins after him, over the list of ministerial nominees and other federal appointments.

An impeccable source told Vanguard, yesterday: “The President has only four years to prove his sincerity to Nigerians, which is making him have a second thought about stuffing his cabinet with politicians who are likely to subject his policies to undue politicking.”

Undeterred, politicians have intensified lobbies for the plum jobs and are not leaving anything to chance in their quests. A host of them, after waging the battles to make the lists in their states, have invaded the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, to realise their ambitions. Aside the ministries, openings for appointments abound in boards, parastatals and agencies.

Ministerial slot for Bankole

Meantime, the outgoing Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, has been pencilled for a ministerial slot. Informed Presidency sources said Bankole may become the new minister of state Foreign Affairs to pair up with Odein Ajumogobia, who is also expected to retain his seat as Foreign Affairs minister.

Presidency sources have, however, expressed worries about Bankole’s fate. Though President Jonathan wants him to become a minister and has reserved a slot for him, recent events in the House of Representatives make the speaker’s fate hang in the balance.

Bankole, who was voted into office on the platform of the PDP lost his re-election bid in last month’s general elections. The ministerial slot may be some kind of compensation for him. But getting security clearance may become a hurdle for the outgoing speaker. A source said, yesterday: “Yes, Bankole is on the ministerial list, but he has not gone for security clearance yet.”

PDP factions move to Abuja

To get the upper hand in the battle for appointments, various factions of the party in Anambra State have moved to Abuja. There are at least four interest groups within the PDP,  which are  seeking the attention of the Presidency on the issue.

For instance, apart from the state executive council of the party loyal to members of the Uba family, Andy and Chris Uba, there is also the Professor Charles Soludo group, the Prince Arthur Eze group and the APGA group, which worked for the success of President Goodluck Jonathan during the April election.

Shortly after the directive to the party on ministerial list, there were insinuations that Governor Peter Obi was also contacted to send nominees, which the governor himself had debunked. Obi said what the South East Governors’ Forum and APGA resolved before the election was to give support to any presidential candidate who had the best of Igbo interest in his programme, adding that the struggle for political positions should be the responsibility of members of the president’s party, the PDP, who ought to raise questions concerning what comes to their zone.

Obi said: “There are two things there: The South East Governors of which I am the chairman categorically stated they were not running for the office of the President or office of the Vice President and that remained sacrosanct. We said we will support any candidate with the best interest of the region. I am not of the PDP but I supported the President. What we want from the President are those things he will do for the masses of Igbo land, such as the second Niger Bridge, fighting of erosion, making Enugu International Airport.

“The job of who gets what position is for the PDP. It is left for PDP from this area to ask what is our own. When people should blame us is when the President fails to deliver on our expectations. They are two different things. We negotiated for what will benefit the masses, what President Jonathan will do for Igbo man within four years of his tenure.”

He said that it would be a big relief the day international flight would land at Enugu airport because that would change everything; while the second Niger bridge would open up trade. He added that working on the erosion sites in the South East was important, “otherwise we will be wiped away.”

The governor noted that the ability of ethnic groups to get what belonged to them depended greatly on their ability to come together and not necessarily on the political party, otherwise the South West that is now predominantly Action Congress of Nigeria could not have got anything.

Ekiti Rep raises alarm over threat to life

Hon. Duro Faseyi told reporters in Abuja that he had been receiving threat calls on his mobile phone from people using unknown numbers with a warning that he should not step his feet on Ekiti State. Faseyi, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Environment, said the callers warned him that if he came to Ekiti State, he would either be eliminated or maimed.

He said: “Some unknown persons, using hidden numbers, have been calling my phone repeatedly since Tuesday night, saying that I should not make the mistake of coming to Ekiti State, with a stern warning that if I did, I would either be eliminated or maimed. One of the callers even asked to know the right I have to lead other members of Ekiti PDP caucus  in the House, to question the modality adopted in drawing the list of 10 nominees by the PDP in Ekiti State which has been forwarded to the Presidency.”

It would be recalled that members of the Ekiti State caucus in the House of Representatives, under the chairmanship of  Faseyi, had last week rejected the list of ministerial nominees drawn from the state, stressing that all PDP stakeholders must be involved in drawing up the list and that the process must be open and transparent.

Edo  may get two slots

To revive the PDP in Edo State, Vanguard gathered that President Jonathan has promised to give two ministerial seats to the state – a senior and junior ministers.

The 10 names submitted by Edo PDP to the Presidency are that of the State Chairman, Chief Dan Orbih, former Special Adviser to President Olusegun Obasanjo, Prof. Julius Ihonbvere, former Minister of Defence, General Godwin Abbe, former Deputy Governor of the state, Mr Lucky Imasuen; Pharm.Mathew Urhohide, Engr. Clifford Odia; Mr. Akhere Ugbesia, former Minister of State for Defence; Chief Mike Onolemhemhe, and Barr Johnson Abulagba. Vanguard further learnt that the name of the current Minister of State for Works, Dr. Chris Ogienwonyi was also listed.

As in most states of the country, a protest is trailing the list. The Akoko Edo chapter of the PDP protested what they described as exclusion of any of their own from the list. They argued that they had capable hands such as the outgoing leader of the Federal House of Representatives, Col. Tunde Akogun, former Commissioner for Agriculture in the state, Dr. Tunde Lakoju and Bisi Idaomi and wondered why they submitted names from Owan and Etsako and excluded Akoko Edo.

The protest comes as a youth group in the state, under the aegis of the Afemai Youths for True Democracy, urged President Jonathan to give the ministerial appointment to somebody from Edo North because “since 1999, Edo Central has produced three ministers, Edo South two while Edo North is yet to produce one despite our support for PDP.”

PDP Chairman in Akoko Edo, Mr Samuel Dania, said in a statement: “We have sent our protest to the national leadership of the PDP because this is marginalisation. They sent two names from Owan and one from Etsako but none from Akoko Edo when we have capable hands that can be ministers. So we appeal that the matter should be addressed in the interest of justice and fair play because it is sad that Akoko Edo is always being marginalized in the politics of the state and we are saying enough is enough.”

Akoko Edo people were said to be sad that the name of Col.Tunde Akogun was substituted with that of Johnson Abulagba, who is from Owan West.

However, Vanguard gathered that since the leadership of the party in the state had ceded the governorship seat to Edo South, the race for the senior ministerial seat is now between Edo Central and North districts. Those from Edo Central, where the former Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih hails, are arguing that the zone supported the PDP immensely more than any other zone in the state and deserved to be rewarded by the PDP.

But those from Edo North, countered that argument severally, saying that since the inception of this democracy in 1999, the zone was the only area that has not enjoyed that position while Edo Central had produced three ministers in the persons of Chief Anenih, Elder Odion Ugbesia and Arch.Mike Onolemhenhe. And the South had Gen Abbe and Dr Chris Ogienwonyi who is currently the Minister of State for Works.

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