Cabinet nominees undergo security checks: Who is in; who is out 

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As anxiety mounts amongst stakeholders and ordinary Nigerians get impatient over the delay by President Muhammadu Buhari to send his list of ministerial nominees to the Senate for vetting, Huhuonline.com has learnt from Aso Rock insider sources that the list will be out this week. The list has been forwarded to security agencies for appropriate checks and according to presidential sources, only Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo know the details of those who made the final list.

 

The sources disclosed that even the Secretary to the Government of Federation (SGF) and Chief of Staff (COS) to the President will only see the final list when it’s set for the Senate sometime this week. On whether it was the President alone who made all the nominations, the source said governors and other stakeholders sent in proposal but there were no indications that such proposals were considered.

 

Some chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), confided to Huhuonline.com that despite all the hype and public expectations, the new cabinet may not be so new after all, as a majority of the ministers are set to return. They pointed to the re-appointment of Kyari as COS despite public criticisms that he is the head of a cabal in Aso Rock that has hijacked and taken Buhari hostage.

 

Huhuonline.com also learnt that since most of the immediate past ministers were being considered for possible return, forensic investigations of their past financial entanglements were causing some delay. The other reason, the source added, was the late appointment of SGF and COS, which the President did on Friday, because the two offices, apart from coordinating the affairs of the cabinet; would also interface with the National Assembly during the vetting process. 

 

Among former ministers tipped to return include former Works, Power and Housing Minister, Babatunde Fashola from the Southwest. However, it was not clear whether Fashola was given the nod based on his past performance in office or whether a political godfather is carrying the water for him. The source, however, assured of plenty surprises. While the possibility of former Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode getting the call is not a done deal as earlier speculated, Fashola will no longer exercise supervisory authority over three ministries under one portfolio as he did in the last cabinet as the Ministries will likely be split. 

 

Top on the list of Ministers who will not be returning is former Industry and Trade Minister, Okechukwu Enelamah, who has reportedly fallen out of favor with the cabal in the presidency. Also, the former State Minister in charge of Niger Delta Affairs, Prof. Claudius Adaramola is believed to have failed to deliver and his performance was described as “embarrassing” by Aso Rock sources. 

 

As speculations about names that have made the President’s list continue, sources told Huhuonline.com a founding member of APC, from the Southwest, was staking his claim for former Lagos Commissioner of Finance, Mr. Wale Edun to take the Ogun slot but a truce is said to have been made with Vice President, Prof. Osinbajo. The Egba people want to produce the next minister since Ogun East has produced the Vice President and the governor, Dapo Abiodun. Although, the Yewa people in Ogun West also want the ministerial slot, the Egbas are arguing that the number of votes Buhari scored in the last presidential election surpasses what the entire Ogun West generated and as such, they should have the slot.

 

In Ekiti, there has been a strong case for former governor Otunba Adebayo, who has been in the “cooler” since 2003 when he left office; but has remained loyal and committed to the party. But his critics and detractors say he is a man of yesterday and has little or nothing to offer. They would rather prefer former Lagos Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Dele Alake and former Sen Femi Ojudu.

To further entrench the APC in Rivers ahead of the 2023 election, the party is strongly backing the return of former Transport Minister. Rotimi Amaechi, as the APC seems to have very few options in Rivers. Moreover, Amaechi is adjudged to have acquitted himself creditably as minister, especially with the strides made under his leadership in the railway transport sub-sector.

 

As a matter of fact, President Buhari is said to be impressed with Amaechi and the immediate past Chairman, Senate Committee on Land Transport, Gbenga Ashafa, who some party members have also said is likely to be compensated because of the milestone achieved in the railway sector. Recall that the railway sector featured as one of the strong campaign talking points of the APC in the last election.

 

Meanwhile, anxiety has continued to grow in the Senate over the delay as the upper legislative chamber prepares to embark on its six-week end of session recess by the end of July.