There were strong indications yesterday that President Muhammadu Buhari has consulted key northern power brokers and close associates and loyalists in Kaduna over his proposed ministerial and Special Advisers, SAs’ list for their input.
This was just as the President is set to announce his ministers and the approved 15 SAs any moment from now, barring any unforeseen circumstances or change of mind.
National Mirror gathered that President Buhari, who arrived Kaduna from the African Union, AU, summit in South Africa on Tuesday evening, was said to have consulted with his close northern loyalists and top power brokers in the region to put final touches on his cabinet list and fish out competent, committed and unblemished Nigerians, who can drive the All Progressives Congress, APC, election campaign promises.
It was learnt that Buhari, who was received by Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, alongside other top security chiefs at the Kaduna International Airport, went straight to his private residence, at Sultan road, Unguwan Rimi G.R.A, where he held unofficial discussions with different influential northerners to get their views on how to pick the best hands and brains to help him run his administration.
Sources close to the President revealed that Buhari, who had consulted some former Presidents and Heads of State, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, among others, moved to Kaduna, headquarter of the northern region for consultation and recommendation from trusted friends and loyalists that are not seeking ministerial appointments in his government.
One of the sources, who spoke to National Mirror, but did not want his name mentioned, said: “President Buhari is set to announce his cabinet any moment from now, as he is now back from the AU summit.
“Mr. President has to consult at home too for inputs. Those Mr. President may consult from the North are honest, sincere and straightforward people with no ambition of serving in his government.
“Those powerful men will tell him the truth about who to work with from any part of our country. After Mr. President’s private consultations in Kaduna and maybe Katsina, his home state, he will seal his list and announce his cabinet members.”
The President, according to National Mirror findings, had consulted also with prominent people in the southern region, including the former governor of Lagos State and national leader of the APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, among others over the pending appointments.
However, facts have also emerged that some names earlier considered to form President Buhari’s cabinet have been dropped, while those retained include former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Abdurahman Dambazau (rtd), who is being tipped to become the National Security Adviser, NSA.
Those being retained for ministerial appointments, according to National Mirror findings and despite alleged strident opposition from Tinubu to their inclusion, are former governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola and former governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi.
Others in the cabinet list are the immediate past governor of Kano State and now a senator, Rabiu Kwankwaso, and former governor of Anambra State, Senator Chris Ngige, among others.
National Mirror also gathered that the immediate past governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, may also against all odds, make the President’s ministerial list, even as it was also learnt that retired civil servant per excellence, Ahmed Joda and former Minister of Petroleum Resources under the former President Ibrahim Babangida’s military administration, Prof. Tam David- West, may be recalled from retirement to join in running the Buhari administration.
Part of the consultations was on who and who would serve the President as his advisers.
This followed the approval, by the seventh Senate, of the President’s request to appoint 15 SAs.
Although, efforts to confirm President Buhari’s final decision over his cabinet and SAs during his private visit to Kaduna failed, as his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, was not available for comment, National Mirror can report that the delay in announcing the ministerial list was not unconnected with the President’s desire to assemble the best that Nigeria can produce in terms of human resources to drive the engine of governance to deliver on his campaign promises and the ‘change’ mantra of the governing APC.