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Cabinet: Former governors intensify lobby for slots

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Some former governors may have been among presumed presidents Muhammadu Buhari last week to pressure him into establishing his next government.

An investigation by The Nation shows that former governors want ministerial appointments for themselves or that they are allowed to recommend candidates from their states.

But the news security convictions on the financial reports of some of the previous governors while they are in office can count against them, the sources say.

It is said that one of them shared dollars with those who, according to him, could help promote his case to become a minister.

But some of them, who are desperate, have recommended ministerial candidates in case Buhari does not accept them.

It was also concluded that some serving governors are already pleading with the President to allow them to participate in the selection of candidates from their states.

The investigation conducted by our correspondent revealed that the former governors accounted for most of the pressure on the president.

It was said that the former governors were looking for ministerial spaces or that they wanted their candidates for the “political ego” because they wanted to remain as sponsors in their respective states.

Some acting governors are pushing for their loyalists to be appointed as part of the strategy to prevent independent ministers from following them or becoming the meeting point in their states.

A top source said: “For political relevance, ex-governors are foremost among those mounting pressure on the President. They don’t want to lose out of the political equation in their states.

“They are whipping up sentiments on the roles they played in backing Buhari for second term and how they have stabilized the National Assembly for him with the emergence of the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

“Most of them want to retain the godfather status in their states. Some of them also want the ministerial ticket as a kind of immunity against prosecution by the Buhari administration.

“But security reports do not favour most of them at all. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) as at December 31, 2018 indicated that states were then indebted to the tune of N3.853trillion. “These debts were either mismanaged or unjustified.

“Some of these governors are under investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for mismanaging their state resources. Yet, the same former state chief executives want to be ministers. Justifying their appointments will be difficult for the President. This is one of the factors for the pressure being faced by the President.”

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Responding to a question, the source added: “These ex-governors have become so desperate such that one of them is sharing dollars to lobbyists who have the ears of the President.

“But the cash-for-ministerial ticket lobbying is a waste because the President has refused to listen to anyone. He has warned members of his family and aides against such indulgence. He has not only kept his ex-ministers in suspense, it has been difficult for governors to know his mind set.

“He does not discuss cabinet issue with his closest aides. Anyone dishing out cash to lobbyists is wasting his money. That era is gone in this country for now.”

Investigation also revealed that those who have information about the ministerial list, especially security agents conducting the screening, have been put on oath to stop the list from leaking to the public before its dispatch to the Senate for confirmation.

“All the agents in charge at the Department of State Security Service (DSS) are on oath and once there is any leak, it can be easily traced,” a highly placed source said.

“Everyone is abiding by the oath because Buhari is a man of Spartan discipline who can impose maximum sanctions if you betray any trust.”

Section 147(1-3), provides that the President has to run his government with at least 36 ministers at one each per state.

The section reads: “There shall be such offices of Ministers of the Government of the Federation as may be established by the President.

“Any appointment to the office of Minister of the Government of the Federation shall, if the nomination of any person to such office is confirmed by the Senate, be made by the President.

“Any appointment under subsection (2) of this section by the President shall be in conformity with the provisions of section 14(3) of this Constitution:

“Provided that in giving effect to the Provisions aforesaid the President shall appoint at least one Minister from each state, who shall be an indigene of such state.”

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