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Federal Cabinet List : Will President Buhari Gamble With Untested Saints or Go With Known Associates?.


By Tokunbo Adedoja

As the nation awaits the list of President Muhammadu Buhari 's ministers , which is expected to be released before the end of the month, a national discourse is already on about the pedigrees of those who may make the ministerial list.

In the past few days, there have been speculations that the president's ministerial list had been forwarded to the Department of State Security Services (DSS) for screening of the nominees, a ritual that usually precede the dispatch of the nominees' list to the Senate for screening.

Over the past three months, President Buhari  has had the opportunity to look at the records of government through briefings by heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) - sometimes meeting with two or three MDAs in a day – thereby having a clearer idea of the state of affairs in government offices and the calibre of people who could help drive his vision in all sectors.

The President had himself raised the bar on the calibre of those that would make his cabinet list with his avowed determination not to have anyone with a whiff of corruption in his cabinet.  But his strong stance against corruption, which had been widely applauded, may have created a dilemma for him as he juggles the names on a list which has kept close to his chest.

Having set the anti-corruption tone for his government, President Buhari is currently facing the hard task of choosing his ministers.  There is a noticeable trend in the whole process of picking the President's cabinet: As soon as a name sneaks out of the President's list, the Presidential Villa is immediately inundated with petitions detailing the corrupt antecedents of the prospective minister, thereby putting such a person  in an invidious position.

Many of the people that had been touted in the past as likely nominees have had their integrity and character savagely impeached by negative news reports on their stewardship in government or in private enterprise, prompting an endless search for saints and lately, the prospect of picking members of his cabinet  from among known associates.
President Buhari, according to sources, has been weighing the option of either going for safety (appointing those whose character and competence he can vouch for, based on long association) or novelty (new faces with impeccable credentials recommended to him by some APC leaders).

At the end, the President may have to strike a balance between the two options, even when his inclinations seem to be towards going with those he knows as he did with recent appointments.
The question many are asking is: Will President Buhari take a gamble with unproven saints  who may not even know how to match the vision of his government with the campaign promises of his party?

Already many people are being considered for slots in the President's cabinet and the list comprises technocrats and politicians. They include former Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola SAN, prominent lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana SAN,  former Rivers Governor Rotimi Amaechi, Pastor Tunde Bakare, former  Vice President  of the World Bank Africa Division and minister under former President Olusegun Obasanjo's regime, Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili;  former Minister under late President Umaru Yar'Adua, Mr. Abba Sayyadi Ruma; Chief of Staff to Governor Nasiru El-rufai, Hadiza Bala Usman; former Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi; and former Sports minister Bolaji Abdullahi.

Also being considered for slots in the President's cabinet, THISDAY gathered, are former Kano State Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso, who is currently a senator; Senator Chris Ngige;  defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) former  lawyer  Uba Malami; APC scribe Tijani Tumsah; Malam Adamu Adamu; former Chief of Army Staff and close aasociate of the President, Lt. Gen.  Abdulrahman Dambazau; former Lagos Finance Commisioner, Mr. Wale Edun; former Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru;   member of the Faculty of Lagos Business School, Dr. Doyin Salami; and former Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) President and Action Congress of Nigeria Governorship Candidate in Ondo State, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu.

While Dambazau is being considered for the defence portfolio, it was gathered that the President was considering picking either Falana, whom he is said to admire for his doggedness in the pursuit of justice and rule of law, or  Malami, who has been close to him since their days in CPC, for the Attorney General slot.

Smarting from the delisting of Nigeria from JP Morgan Chase' Emerging Market Government Bond Index, not a few believe that the President must urgently consider putting in place an economic team to balance Central Bank of Nigeria's fiscal team. Names like Ezekwesili, Omoigui-Okauru, Edun and Salami  are said to have been slated to constitute the President's economic team.  Ezekwesili may however head the economic team because of her pedigree, having been a player in the global economic stage as a key official of the World Bank, and the fact that the current situation whereby the country would need to constructively engage international financial institutions would require a seasoned global player with valuable contacts.

Source : thisdayonline


  1. Hahaha no of them is free from corruption in facts Amaechi is worse

    1. Even OBY is corrupt or falana? Change is here ohhh