Immediate past Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, has turned down an offer to serve in President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term cabinet, Pulse can authoritatively report.
President Buhari is only days away from submitting a list of ministerial nominees to lawmakers for screening, vetting and confirmation; with each state of the federation constitutionally required to have a representative in the federal cabinet.
Nigeria’s list of ministers is often dominated by members of the governing political party and Ajimobi, 69, of the governing APC, has politely told the president that he would be passing up the opportunity to represent Oyo in the cabinet.
“While rejecting the offer, he offered to recommend younger people to fill in the role”, an aide of Ajimobi’s told Pulse.
Pulse was further told that Ajimobi did this “in line with his continuous drive to see that offices are maximized, especially by the younger generation.
“As a statesman, leader of the APC and having seen the younger people do remarkable things, he said he was privileged to nominate others to fill the role”.
Waiting for Buhari's list
President Buhari recently confirmed that he is still sweating on his list.
Re-elected for a second term in office on February 23 and sworn in on May 29, the president has been bashed in the media for dithering on his list for the second time of asking.
The Nigerian leader infamously spent six months without ministers after being elected for a first term in office in 2015.
However, Buhari said even though he is under immense pressure to make his list of ministers public, he is taking his time to avoid a repeat of the mistake that saw him appoint ministers he barely knew, last time out.
“I’m very much aware about it (public expectations over the list); I’m under tremendous pressure on it. But the last cabinet which I headed, most of them, the majority of them I didn’t know them. I had to accept the names and recommendations from the party and other individuals.
“I worked with them for three and half years at least; meeting twice or two weeks in a month. So I know them now.
“But this time around, I’m going to be quite me in the sense that I will pick people I personally know”, Buhari said on Thursday, July 11.
The National Assembly will embark on recess before the end of July and Buhari says he’s aware that lawmakers have to receive his cabinet list for mandatory vetting and clearance procedures before their vacation.
The National Assembly will reconvene in September.
Ajimobi's senatorial loss
Ajimobi served as Oyo Governor for the constitutionally permissible two terms from 2011 to 2019.
His attempt to return to the senate after his time as governor elapsed met a brick wall as Ajimobi lost the Oyo South senatorial seat to Kola Balogun of the PDP.
Grapevine sources have told Pulse that Ajimobi retains hopes of wresting the seat from Balogun through the courts.