The cabinet being constituted by President Muhammadu Buhari could be a bipartisan group of competent Nigerians, Vanguard reports.
The finding which confirmed last week’s exclusive report revealed that the President was looking beyond the norms for his ministers.
This approach to the selection of the would-be members of the cabinet which is solely an initiative of the President was gathered not to have gone well with some power brokers in the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Multiple Presidency and party sources said Buhari considered the objection of the APC chieftains to a Government of National Unity, GNU, and consequently made a slight review.
Influential party chieftains
In kicking against having more non-party members in the team, the APC leaders argued that such a situation could jeopardise the party’s chances in 2023.
Putting that into consideration, the President was said to have adopted a system that would ensure that influential party chieftains with proven capacity to perform well are considered for ministerial appointments.
Among them could be those who lost out in the general elections.
The rationale for this is to make them perform creditably well to a level that could earn popularity for the party in their respective states.
Another reason for considering this group of people, who a source said lost on account of political factors, is the expectation that with performance, incumbent governors in non-APC states could be easily defeated in 2023.
The source said: “Buhari planned to set up what could look like a Government of National Unity where he could accommodate people from other parties and experts who may not be politicians. But part of the leadership kicked against that, saying that it would not augur well for the party in the 2023 elections.
“This group succeeded in convincing the President to go for strong and popular party men who would not only be seen as good but also who will perform well and make the party stronger in 2023 elections.
Ability to perform
“Among these could be candidates who didn’t win gubernatorial elections in their states for reasons considered to be highly political and not their acceptability and ability to perform.
“The idea is that when they serve well as ministers they would be more popular and would have the chance to dethrone the incumbent governors in their various states or win in states not controlled by APC.”
However, another source privy to the happenings in London and Nigeria said President Buhari is undaunted in forming a cabinet that would serve the interest of Nigerians.
A sequel to the resolve was said to be the decision to include more women in the new cabinet. This is in addition to those described as genuine and strong party members, who would represent a break with the past.
The source said: “Performance would make APC and Nigeria stronger and better and that is what the President will consider in the appointment of ministers.
“This time there would be more women in the new cabinet. Genuine and strong party men would be considered to make governance and the ruling party more acceptable.
“There are people now serving as ministers who Nigerians do not even know and may not readily discern as ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The President doesn’t want such people any more. You must work hard and you must be known to the people. Again, the ministers must be better coordinated now.”
While confirming Saturday Vanguard ’s report, another source said the President is currently working on the list of his would-be appointees. “It is likely that he may do one or two private things, but he is currently tinkering his team,” he added.
Similarly, a source familiar with reasons for the President’s mission in the UK said some lobbyists have been visiting London to make case for their candidates since Buhari’s arrival.
“The pressure was getting too much and he had to leave and everything is for the interest of Nigeria,” the source said.
One source said a case is being made for the South East to have a better sense of belonging in the incoming administration, saying the zone could be considered to produce the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).
“It is still a thought, a consideration and not a final decision,” the source said.
Vanguard had authoritatively reported last week that unlike the usual practice of placing party and other considerations above merit in the appointment of ministers, Buhari’s thinking now is for cabinet members to emerge strictly on competence.
The report revealed that the President was keeping many close persons, powerful interests and even APC leadership in the dark as to what his cabinet would look like.
A top Presidency source had explained that to achieve the objective in the face of what he termed growing pressure from lobbyists, Buhari’s departure to London became inevitable although other things may follow.
Instructively, Section 147 of the 1999 constitution, stipulated that a minister should be appointed from each of the 36 states of the federation including Federal Capital Territory, FCT by the President.
Section 147(3) said: “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.”
The current cabinet would be dissolved soon.