Second term: Governors, ministers battle for Buhari's cabinet slots

Second term: Governors, ministers battle for Buhari's cabinet slots

- Outgoing ministers and state governors elected in the APC are at loggerheads over plans to make the next cabinet of President Buhari

- Some outgoing governors are allegedly working round the clock to replace the current ministers from their various states

- Buhari’s first tenure ends at midnight on Tuesday, May 28, the same day all ministers are required to leave office

A report by The Nation indicates that outgoing ministers and state governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are intensifying their battle of wits to make their way into the next cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Buhari’s first tenure ends at midnight on Tuesday, May 28, the same day all ministers are required to leave office.

But many of them are keen to return as are some of the outgoing governors who want to move to the federal level.

Many of the returning governors are said to be equally playing high wire politics to make their input into the constitution of the next federal cabinet.

According to the report, they want to nominate candidates from their states to enable them have a firmer grip on the party at the grassroots.

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Multiple sources quoted in the report said the president is determined to hit the ground running this time around by forming his cabinet within weeks of his swearing in.

The situation has reportedly sparked intense lobbying by party chieftains including governors and ministers for ministerial slots .

Some outgoing governors, it was gathered, are allegedly working round the clock to replace the current ministers from their various states in the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

The affected governors have reportedly contacted some prominent party leaders to indicate interest in their states’ ministerial slot and possibly make a case for them at the highest level possible.

“Many of the ministers feel they have done well enough to be given a second chance. Currently, both parties are making moves to corner the ministerial slots of their various states,” a source said.

Continuing, the source said: “The body language of the president is such that nobody can predict where the pendulum will swing. I can tell you of a south-west state where many people will vow that President Buhari will give the outgoing governor a place in his next cabinet and others will strongly argue that the current minister from the state will retain his place in the next cabinet. And both of them are openly scheming for the state’s slot by lobbying party leaders and other stakeholders.

“In another state in the north, the outgoing governor and the minister are both holding meetings with party chieftains to explain why they should be given the state’s ministerial slot to occupy.

“Their ambitions have divided the party as their supporters are now lining up behind their preferred candidates.

“Party leaders in the state recently came out to call for caution over the matter. Both the governor and the minister have also been coming here to lobby party leaders.”

Many of the governors eyeing their state’s slot are relying on their relationship with the president to clinch the job.

While some are certain that with the efforts they put into ensuring Buhari’s re-election in their states and the words of commendation they got from him before, during and after the elections, others are banking on the interaction they had with Buhari when he came to their states to commission projects.

“It is normal to have ministerial hopefuls reach out to close aides and associates of the president for help. Don’t forget that President Buhari is one man you cannot predict easily.

“He is keeping the issue of his next cabinet close to his chest for now. But one thing we can deduce from indications is that he may have plans to announce the next cabinet early. Whether he will call for inputs from party leaders and other stakeholders or he will handle the selection of the team alone is left to be seen,” another source said.

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Meanwhile, Nigeria's minister of transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has dismissed insinuations that his ministry has been favoured by President Muhammadu Buhari, due to his closeness to the Nigerian leader.

Amaechi, 53, is reputed to be one of the best performing outgoing ministers and has been a long-term politically ally of President Buhari.

Addressing journalists at his valedictory press briefing in Abuja on Thursday, May 23, Amaechi said talks about his ministry and that of the works, housing and power ministry being favoured by Buhari were because the president was genuinely interested in the infrastructural development of Nigeria.

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