APC bigwigs jostle for ministerial slots, Tinubu names eight SAs

Adebayo Folorunsho-Francis, Stephen Angbulu, Matthew Ochei, Bola Bamigbola, Dele Ogunyemi, Peter Dada, Animasahun Salman, Tukur Muntari, Adeyinka Adedipe and Chima Azubuike

State chapters of the All Progressives Congress are awaiting the directive of President Bola Tinubu to forward lists of ministerial nominees to the party headquarters for onward transmission to the Presidency.

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The PUNCH however gathered that while the party awaited the directive, bigwigs including former governors, ex ministers, and other party chieftains, had started jostling for ministerial appointments.

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But as the nation awaited Tinubu’s ministerial list, the President on Thursday appointed eight special advisers including a former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nuhu Ribadu, who emerged as the Special Adviser on Security.

The Special Adviser on Special Duties, Communications and Strategy, Mr Dele Alake, in an interview with one of our correspondents on March 8, had said it would not take Tinubu up to 60 days to constitute his cabinet.

Alake, who was then the spokesman for the APC Presidential Campaign Council, said Tinubu would assemble competent hands within 60 days of his assumption of office as stipulated by the constitution.

But there are concerns that Tinubu would face a tough time picking his ministers with the party losing governorship and senatorial elections in states such as Zamfara, Plateau, Delta and Kano.

Party chieftains who expressed concern said the President must take care of some of those lost elections.

But at a meeting with Senators on June 7, Tinubu assured those who lost elections and members not endorsed by the party that they would not be left out.

He said, ‘’The elephant is big enough for all members, and indeed Nigerians, to have a share of the renewed hope in due course.”

But despite the President’s assurance, there were indications on Thursday that the APC bigwigs had started jostling for appointments.

For example in Delta State before the governorship elections, many members had agreed that an ex-Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, SAN, should make Tinubu’s cabinet.

However, the defeat of the party’s governorship candidate, Ovie Omo-Agege, has thrown up the name of the former deputy Senate president as a possible nominee from the state.

But a chieftain in the state, who spoke to our correspondent on the condition of anonymity, said the party was ready with its nomination.

He said, “The name of such a person cannot be open to the public now, though, you know that the former minister, Festus Keymo worked very well for Bola Tinubu.

“So, as a party faithful in the state, no other name will be sent other than Keyamo’s name because he worked hard for the President and he deserves the ministerial position.’’But another source said Omo-Agege might be nominated.

Efforts to reach the APC Chairman in the state, Mr Sobotie Omeni, failed as calls put across to him were not responded to.

 The Publicity Secretary of the party, Valentine Onojegheuo, in a text message, stated, “I can’t give you any information now until approved by Chairman”

Delta APC leaders

But The PUNCH authoritatively learnt that APC leadership in the state met in Abuja on Thursday over ministerial appointments.

The PUNCH gathered that the prominent Delta APC leaders who were in the Federal Capital Territory for the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly stayed back for the meeting.

A party leader at the meeting, who would not want his name mentioned, said, “The party chieftains stayed back for meetings which were not unconnected with charting the way forward for the Delta APC, including fine-tuning the ministerial nominees, despite the party’s not winning the recent governorship election.”

Also, in Osun State, before the Supreme Court ruled against the party on the state governorship poll, a former Minister of Health, Prof Prof. Isaac Adewole, was being tipped for a ministerial appointment.

With the court judgment favouring the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, some APC members have started rooting for the immediate past governor of the state, Gboyega Oyetola.

A source in the party said, “Ex-governor Oyetola is being considered for the post of a minister from the Osun APC. Initially, before the Supreme Court ruled on the state governorship matter, ex-Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, was the nominee being considered.’’

Speaking with one of our correspondents, the spokesperson for the APC in the state, Mr Kola Olabisi, said the position of the party on the nominees for federal appointments would be made known at the appropriate time.

He said, “That is being handled already by the concerned organ of the party and our position will be made public at the appropriate time.”

Sokoto APC

In the same vein, a source in the Sokoto State APC said the ministerial nominee from the state would be the immediate past Senate Majority leader, Senator Ibrahim Gobir.

The source said the Senator having lost his governorship ambition, through the primaries, never left the party, unlike others.

“Senator Gobir is being considered as the ministerial nominee from the state. Despite losing the governorship primary in the state, he never lobbied to go back to the Senate and he still remains a complete party man by contributing in no small way to the success of the party in the state” the source added.

But when contacted, the state Chairman of the party, Isa Sadiq Acida, said the leader of the party in the state would determine the ministerial nominee for the state.

He said, “It is the leader of the party in the state that will determine that. I am sure when the time comes for submission of a name, our leader will do the needful. “

 The PUNCH gathered that some APC members in Ondo State were already in Abuja lobbying for positions.

 A chieftain in the state chapter of the party, said, “ You know the President has promised that the party would do everything concerning the appointments in his cabinet but we are not sure if our party has started the compilation of the list.”

It was learnt that those who were jostling for ministerial appointments included the APC National Vice-Chairman, Isaac Kekemeke; an industrialist, Alex Ajipe and a former Minister of Transportation, Ademola Adegoroye.

 The state party Chairman, Mr Ade Adetimehin, told The PUNCH that the party would reward all that worked for the party during the elections.’

 “ Appointment or no appointment, all I will say is that the party would reward everyone that worked for the victory of the party during the election,” Adetimehin said.

In Ekiti State, The PUNCH gathered that the national leadership of the party preferred Senator Dayo Adeyeye, who championed Tinubu’s campaign for presidency through South-West Agenda for Tinubu 2023 presidential ambition.

However, the executive of the party in the state, which is controlled by former Governor Kayode Fayemi, is rooting for the ex-governor.

It was also learnt that in Zamfara State, party chieftains including the immediate past governor, Bello Matawalle and Senator Kabir Marafa were among being considered by the party in the state for ministerial appointments.

The All Progressives Congress in Kano State has yet to submit a list of nominees for ministerial appointments for the state.

The APC Public Relations Officer of the party in Kano, Alhaji Ahmed Aruwa, who stated, this in a telephone interview with The PUNCH, said the state former Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, was the leader of the party in the state.

“As you know, former Governor Abdullahi Ganduje is the leader of the party in the state, but he has to bring it to the notice of the party before taking any decision,” he said.

The Edo State APC Publicity Secretary, Peter Uwadiae, on his part, said that the state executive had not been instructed to submit names of ministerial nominees from the state.

He said, “In this dispensation, we have not been asked to nominate people for ministerial appointment. After the inauguration of the National Assembly, a meeting if the president so direct, may be convened by the state executive, to present names, then we can be involved.’’

But his counterpart in Gombe State Publicity Secretary, Moses Kyari, said the state Governor, Muhammadu Yahaya, would nominate a minister from the state.

He stated, “Such things are not for public consumption. if the governor has made his nominees, he has not told us yet.”

APC speaks

But the APC National Working Committee said the party would not be able to influence the choice of ministerial nominees for Tinubu.

The Director of Publicity for APC, Bala Ibrahim, and Deputy National Organising Secretary of the party, Nze Chidi Duru, said these in two separate interviews with The PUNCH.

Duru said although traditionally Tinubu ought to consult the APC as a party man, he stated that it was not mandatory.

He said, “It is the prerogative of the man himself and that may include involving the party, which is expected. But as of now, I am not aware of any nomination list emanating from the party. The President has the right to appoint his ministers whether he decides to consult the party or not. It is expected that he should consult the party but if he chooses not to, it is his prerogative to appoint them himself.

“Although I agree with you that it is tradition to allow the party to call for ministerial nominees, it is not cast in stones. What if the President changes his mind and says I am calling one or two stakeholders who are not party members?”

Bala also noted that Tinubu was likely to have a consultation with the party hierarchy before making the pronouncement.

“I believe it is the prerogative of the president. In exercising that prerogative, he is likely to contact the party. But that will be at the political level and not at the bureaucratic level where I belong,” he said.

On his part, an APC chieftain, Joe Igbokwe, assured Nigerians that the ministerial nominees’ list of Tinubu was ready.

Speaking on a live political programme on TVC News on Wednesday, Igbokwe said that the current administration would not repeat the same mistake of 2015 when it took former President Muhammadu Buhari six months to appoint his cabinet members.

He said, “I am sure the list of Tinubu’s cabinet members is on his table. He will never take that for granted. He is not going to allow it to waste any minute of his time. He understands the game very well and plans from Day One.’’

 Meanwhile, Tinubu, on Thursday, appointed eight Special Advisers.

 They include Alake as Special Adviser, Special Adviser, Special Duties, Communications and Strategy and Former EFCC Chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, as Special Adviser on Security and Mr. Wale Edun as Special Adviser, Monetary Policies. ⁣

The appointments were announced in a statement signed by the State House Director of Information, Abiodun Oladunjoye.

Others Special Advisers appointed by the President include Yau Darazo (Political and Intergovernmental Affairs); Olu Verheijen (Energy), Zachaeus Adedeji (Revenue), John Uwajumogu (Industry, Trade and Investment) and Dr Salma Anas (Health). ⁣

 Thursday’s appointment came eight days after Tinubu asked the Senate to approve his appointment of 20 special advisers to run his administration.⁣

 The letter was read by former Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, at a plenary session on Tuesday, June 6. ⁣

 However, the letter was silent on the names of the persons, the President wanted to appoint as special advisers and their positions.


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