By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor

The Muhammadu Buhari administration is expected to be shaped by some Nigerians who in the recent past helped to project the president-elect into the formidable political phenomenon he turned into.

One of the major criticisms his critics threw at Buhari during the campaigns is that he does not know how to take charge as his subordinates were wont to dominate or take the shine off him.

The example was made of the late Major General Tunde Idiagbon, who as chief of staff Supreme Headquarters, supposedly directed the affairs of the military government between 1984 and 1985.

Responding to the criticism during a session with some of his closest aides, the general was quoted as saying that so long as he had delegated a duty to a subordinate that it did not matter to him what glory came to the subordinate so long as the duty he asked him to do was being done.

At 72 and going to 73, Buhari is not expected to change much. As such, many of the men and women who helped to enthrone him in power and a handful of other technocrats who would be recruited could become more visible after the inauguration.

Among the men and women who could be expected to shape the structure and style of the Buhari administration would be those who projected him. They include:

Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu


Undoubtedly, the main man behind Project Buhari, Tinubu is not expected to take a position in government but would largely determine the political colouration of the new government. Tinubu’s role, however, is expected to over time fade as the new government takes shape.

It had been guessed in some quarters that Tinubu could have made a dramatic step into the government as Senate President by contesting the Senate seat won by his wife last weekend, but prospects of such are now remote following his earlier nomination and support for Prof. Yemi Osinbajo as the vice-presidential candidate of the party.

Prof. Yemi Osinbajo

Even though he would be the number two man, the prospect of him playing Tunde Idiagbon to Buhari would be highly unlikely. Pastor Osibanjo would, however, remain in the inner caucus of the Buhari administration and would be influential in setting the administration’s goals in social justice and justice administration, areas in which he has much experience in. The incoming vice-president would also be expected to play a leading role in the administration’s economic goals as the chairman of the National Economic Council and the National Council on Privatisation.

Governor Rotimi Amaechi

After two significant terms as governor of one of the nation’s most noticeable states, Amaechi refused to take the path of many of the outgoing governors in seeking a Senate seat. Rather he took the politically significant step of marshalling the campaign to oust his one-time friend, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan from the presidency. The energy, verve and vision he brought into the campaign helped to remake the image and impression many people had of the general.

Against the allegation by many of his local political rivals that he was fuelled by a personal ambition of becoming vice-president to any northerner, Governor Amaechi’s seeming altruism came to the fore when even when he was bye-passed for the position of vice-president soldiered on in leading the campaign against his South-South “brother.”

The gist among many in Team Buhari is that Amaechi would end up becoming the Secretary to the Federal Government or Chief of Staff to the president. That is if he does not become funny and stick to his idea of taking a year off from public service to study.

Mallam Nasir El-Rufai


Mallam Nasir El-Rufai is one of the intellectual backbones in the reconstructed Team Buhari. Though he is in a good position to win the governorship of Kaduna State, especially after Buhari’s victory, he would whether he becomes governor or not be an inside member of Team Buhari in Abuja. If he loses in the governorship election, El-Rufai could get a post in the federal cabinet, and the guess could be the FCT portfolio.

Dr. Kayode Fayemi.

The immediate past governor of Ekiti State was the head of the Policy, Research and Strategy Directorate of the Buhari Campaign and is expected to move into the administration in a similar policy formulating position.

Dr. Tanimu Yakubu

Dr. Yakubu who worked as Chief Economic Adviser in the Umaru Yar‘adua administration and was reportedly an influential member of the cabal during the sick days of the late president could return to public light in the same office. The plan to appoint him as director of policy during the campaign was stoutly resisted on the allegation that such an appointment would remember many of the days of the cabal.

If he is not brought into government, then his wife and human rights activist, Hadiza Bala Usman who was a founder of the Bring Back Our Girls group could then play a leading role in the next government.


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