Two months after Muhammadu Buhari was inaugurated for a second term in office and four months after he won the presidential election, the president is yet to name and form a cabinet.
Pulse has been speaking to Aso Rock and National Assembly sources on the subject of Buhari’s second term ministers and we’ll compress some of what they told us in this easy-to-read and digestible explainer.
What has the National Assembly been saying?
First, we can confirm that the list of Buhari’s potential ministers is only a few alterations away from making its way to the national assembly.
Whether the national assembly would reel out the names during plenary in the course of the week is another subject entirely.
But Senate President Ahmad Lawan did confirm this week that he would receive the list from the presidency in a couple of hours.
Have the ministerial nominees been vetted by the intelligence agencies?
The answer is a yes.
All the ministerial nominees across the nation’s 36 states have undergone vetting and background checks at the hands of intelligence agencies.
They have also been screened and passed fit for public office.
So, what’s causing the delay?
Politics is at the center of the delay.
Each state is entitled to at least one minister even though the president has the prerogative to appoint as many as 42 ministers.
Pulse has been told by presidency and national assembly sources that the delay in revealing the list has arisen because a couple of states did not agree on who their nominees would be on time.
To put it another way, there has been in-fighting and bickering within the camps of certain APC state chapters on nominees for the cabinet.
The way it works is this—each APC state chapter deliberates on who to send to Abuja as a ministerial nominee. And sometimes, it’s not as easy as just naming someone considered competent or good enough. Sometimes, the party hierarchy in a state goes against the godfather’s choice and deliberations over a representative commences afresh.
It may take weeks to arrive at a consensus at state level.
For instance, Pulse has learnt that in Lagos, one camp wants immediate past Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to represent the state while the other wants Babatunde Raji Fashola, who served in the outgone cabinet as Minister of Power, Works and Housing. This scenario has been replicated across a couple of other states, we have learnt.
Pulse has also learnt that about half of Buhari’s first term cabinet members would be making a return to the second term cabinet. Some may even retain their old portfolios, it has been revealed.
Buhari, we have been told, found some members of his old team very easy to work with and he sees no reason why he should ditch them for replacements he doesn't trust. The president has been labelled conservative for a reason.
So, yes, expect the senate to unveil the ministerial list any moment from now.