L-R; President Muhammadu Buhari, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federal Abubakar Malami, Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, Minister of State Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Heineken Lokpobiri and Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen Udoma Udo Udoma during the federal Executive council (FEC) meeting held at the Council Youths and Sports, Solomon Dalung and Minister of State Mines and Steels, Alhaji Bawa Bwari Chamber in Abuja. PHOTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE. NOV 7 2018.
By Charles Kumolu, Henry Umoru& Bashir Adefaka
Following divergent reports over what the composition of President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet may look like, Sunday Vanguard understands that state Chairmen of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has asked to be carried along in the appointment of ministers.
The party leaders, who made their position known at a meeting with the party’s National Working Committee, NWC, held in Abuja, said they were not carried along when the immediate past ministers were appointed in 2015.
An impeccable source said that at the gathering, which took place two weeks ago, the party Chairmen said the situation was responsible for the inability of the ex-cabinet members to deliver their wards during the last general elections.
Consequently, they appealed to the NWC to inform the President that their inputs should be considered in the appointment of ministers from their respective state chapters.
Though there were reports that some states had submitted lists of nominees, the source told Sunday Vanguard that nothing of such took place.
The same position was also maintained by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Lanre Issah- Onilu, who reportedly said the APC had not asked its state chapters to submit lists of nominees.
However, the state chairmen were said to have made a special case for states where the party lost at the governorship elections.
The source said: “The President is not going waste time this period and he is not under pressure to make the list known. The man is taking his time to able to come up with competent party members. He is not going to reward people with ministerial positions like former Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, members, who were appointed and made little impact. He is going for quality hands, who would be chosen from the party. To make that possible, state party chairmen at a meeting with the NWC in Abuja last two Thursdays, pleaded with the party leadership to carry them along in the appointment of ministers, especially in non-APC states. They gave examples of states where cabinet members were appointed in 2015 without their contributions. The party chairmen want to be part of the process now. Their belief is that if they are carried along, people, whose objectives are different from the President’s vision, would not be appointed. The NWC agreed that they would be carried along.”
However, a Presidency source told Sunday Vanguard yesterday that the President said the names being touted were speculative.
“He, President Buhari, is doing that separately not as a team. Those reported to be suggesting names may not even know the names the President may have settled for,” he said.
However, in a telephone conversation with Sunday Vanguard, the newly appointed Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, said: “The Senate would reconvene on July 2, 2019, and we have already written to the President that we are ready to receive communication from him.”
Also speaking, Senate Deputy Minority Leader, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, said: “It is the President who determines when the list is ready. We are ready.”
On his part, Senator Chukwuka Utazi said: “By communicating to Mr. President that the Senate is properly constituted and have formed a quorum, it means that the Senate is ready for business. It means that the Senate is ready to receive the ministerial nominees.
“I don’t know when the Presidency would send the ministerial list to the Senate, but I want to state that this National Assembly would be time conscious in handling national assignments.
“We, the entire senators are in total agreement with the Senate President on how our legislative assignments would be handled for the good of the country.”