President Muhammadu Buhari may have decided to consult with party leaders across the 36 states in constituting his next cabinet, The Nation gathered last night.
The President, sources said, is keen to work with the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at both the national and state levels with a view to carrying along as many interest groups in the party as possible.
Said a party source, “the leadership of the party is expecting to hear from Mr. President very soon on how it can contribute to the cabinet nomination process. And once that is gotten, all necessary arms of the party that should be involved will be carried along.”
A state chairman of the ruling party also confirmed to our correspondent that the party is expecting to play a significant role in the emergence of the next cabinet.
“The President has said he will work with the party and we believe him,” the source said.
He added: “I and my colleagues have been told to be patient and await information on how those that will represent our states in the next Federal Executive Council would be selected.”
But he said that so far, no one has asked for any nomination from the state yet. “Those throwing around names are merely expressing their wishes as far as I am concerned,” he said.
“I can tell you that nobody has asked for nomination from our state as being speculated. Not even our governor has been contacted on the cabinet issue yet. I can say this because our governor is new and he has been working hand in hand with the party since he was elected.
“I am in touch with my colleagues in other states and the situation is still that we are to await directive on the matter.
“We are very sure discussions are ongoing with the party and our leaders. There is no way that will not happen because the President ,as a democrat, has shown severally that he believes strongly in the supremacy of the party. Coupled with the assurances from our leaders that the party will not be side-tracked in major decisions, we are optimistic.”
The Nation also gathered that many of the President’s ex-ministers have been lobbying party officials and leaders to be re-nominated into the cabinet.
This may not be unconnected with feelers that the President intends to work with the party and not state governors this time in selecting those who will be in his new cabinet. Party sources confirmed that some of the ex-ministers have surprisingly become very intimate with the leaders of the party in their various states.
“We now have many of them showing interest in what we are doing at the state level of the party. Something they didn’t do in previous years when they were ministers. They have also become regular guests of some of our leaders here in the state. We suspect that they are doing this because they see the possibility of the President requesting the party to contribute to the nomination process. But whatever it is, it is for the good of the party,” our source added.
Speaking on the expectations of Nigerians on the cabinet, another source, a serving Senator from the south eastern part of the country, urged Nigerians to be patient so that the final outcome of the ongoing consultations will be in the overall interest of the country. “The process may appear delayed but it is to ensure that the best result is achieved. One of the reasons for the delay is the need to know where all the national assembly positions will go.
“This is important so that the spread of the ministerial nominees outside the statutory ones can be determined with fairness in mind. Even in the states, there are caucuses and groups within the party. Now that the national assembly positions have been taken, it is easier to nominate ministers with some balance. Politics requires a lot of balancing, especially among the numerous contending interests within and outside the party,” he explained.
Author: Dare Odufowokan, Assistant Editor