Twist in the tale: I never said that Buhari would send ministerial list this week — Senate President •Intrigues, intense lobby blamed for delay

Posted by News Express | 12 July 2019 | 936 times

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•Senate President Ahmed Lawan

President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, has clarified his comments on the list of ministerial nominees expected from President Muhammadu Buhari.

He spoke to reporters shortly after a dinner with the President on Thursday at the Aso Villa in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The Senate President said he never promised Nigerians that the list of ministerial nominees would be out this week.

He made emphasis that he used the word ‘could’ when the issue was discussed during plenary on Wednesday at the Senate Chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

Senator Bassey Akpan from Akwa Ibom North-East district had raised a point of order to inform his colleagues about their recess coming up and the need for the President to constitute a cabinet.

Responding, Senator Lawan said President Buhari may submit the list of ministerial nominees for consideration and approval by the Senate before the end of the week.

He had also told the lawmakers that the Executive Arm was working to ensure that the list was ready before they proceed on their annual two-month break.

A day after, the President hosted the National Assembly leadership to a dinner during which he spoke about the delay in unveiling of the ministerial list.

He said he was aware of the calls for him to form his cabinet, saying, “I am under tremendous pressure on it.”

“The last cabinet which I had, most of them, a majority of them I didn’t know. I had to accept their names and recommendation from the party. I worked with them for three and a half years,” President Buhari told the lawmakers.

The dinner took place one month after the President was sworn in for a second term.

On July 5, he reappointed Mr Abba Kyari as his Chief of Staff, as well as Mr Boss Mustapha as Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).

Investigations however showed that intense intrigues and lobby have restrained the submission of the list in spite of assurances by the Presidency on Wednesday night that the list had been concluded and was on its way to the upper chamber of the federal legislature.

A presidency source had told THISDAY that the president had closed entries into the list and directed its submission just as he had instructed the transmission of his application for approval for appointment of 15 special advisers.

It was gathered last night that the nation might have to wait a while to know those the president would be proposing to work with as the intrigues surrounding the compilation of the nominees have become intense with former ministers mounting blistering pressure to return to office.

Many of them are said to have besieged the President’s close associates to lobby them to make a case for their aspirations.

However, they are said to have met with stiff opposition from party faithful and campaign canvassers, who believe that having worked hard during the electioneering to secure success for the party and Buhari in the general election, they should be the beneficiary of the victory.

“Party officials are strong in their position that they could not work for others to reap the fruit of their labour,” a presidency source said, adding: “They are insisting that most of the former ministers must give way to members of the party that made the president’s re-election possible.”

Buhari is said to be torn between these two tendencies and appears to be unable to make a decision, recalling the list severally to make changes.

The National Assembly is scheduled to proceed on its long vacation on July 25 to resume in the fourth week of September. Except the Senate gets the list by Tuesday, confirmation hearing may not happen till October.

•Based on reports by Channels TV and THISDAY.

Source: News Express

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