Members of the Federal Executive Council(FEC) are pushing for the appointment of one of them as the next Chief of Staff(CoS) to President Muhammadu Buhari, The Nation reports.
It was gathered that some of the ministers are already reaching out to key strategists and advisors to the president on why one of them should be in charge of his schedules.
The president is said to be waiting for the mourning period for the late Mallam Abba Kyari to be over before appointing the next CoS.
The ministers, according to sources, are rooting for one of them as CoS because of what they term as “better synergy.”
They are also of the view that a cabinet candidate would be able to fast-track decision-making on issues.
However, it was unclear whether the president was in agreement with the position of the ministers, although one source said the slot would remain in the North.
Some of the favoured cabinet members are Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu ; Secretary to the Government of the Federation(SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha; Water Resources Minister , Suleiman Adamu; Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika; the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Special Duties, Ya’u Shehu Darazo; Justice Minister, Abubakar Malami (SAN); Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Minister, Sadiya Umar Farouq; Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi and Works and Housing Minister Babatunde Raji Fashola among others.
A top source said: “Although the Chief of Staff is a personal staff of the President, ministers are desirous of one of them as the successor to Kyari. Some of them are lobbying for the appointment of one of them.
“Their argument is that it will enhance synergy between the President and his cabinet since ministers now report to the Chief of Staff.
“They are also saying that time is no longer on the side of the government; the President needs a Chief of Staff who can fast track decision-making and implementation.
“The ministers have no particular preference but they have a mindset on who they like if given the chance to pick.
“The President is still keeping mum on his choice until after the mourning of his late Chief of Staff, Malam Abba Kyari.”
The source added: “Definitely, the new Chief of Staff will come from the North. The President might favour a loyal and long-standing associate for the job.
“The number of aspirants for the office has grown but it is difficult to say who the President will pick.”
APC not involved in who becomes the new CoS
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has said it has no role to play in determining or influencing who emerges as the next Chief of Staff to the president.
It said the appointment of CoS, who is a personal aide to the chief executive is at the discretion of the president.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, in an interview on Saturday in Abuja, said the clarification became necessary following pressure being mounted by some party organs, chieftains and close associates of the president on who will replace Abba Kyari, who died recently.
“The office of a Chief of Staff is not a statutory position. That position is that of a personal aide to the president.
“The office, the power and authority as well as the duties and responsibilities of the person that occupies the position are determined solely by the president.
“The party is not involved and will not be involved in the appointment. We understand perfectly that the appointment of Chief of Staff is at the discretion of the President. It is the president who knows what he wants from the person he wants to appoint, so it does not concern anybody or the party.
“The president has an idea of what he wants from his Chief of Staff and he understands the kind of person that can deliver to him. The office of Chief of Staff is not a constitutional matter. He may not even have the office, he may decide to scrap the office completely and he will not be breaking any law of the land,” the APC chieftain said.
Issa-Onilu said the party frowned at the tension being generated since the demise of Kyari and warned all those putting pressure on the president to desist from doing so.
“People are just making a mountain out of a mole hill. Why should anybody or the party influence who to choose?” he queried.
When asked if the pressure on the president was not a distraction, the APC spokesman said the President could not be distracted by the “unwarranted pressure.”
“If we underrate the capacity of Mr. President, we may think he is distracted, but, we as a party understand that the President cannot be distracted. He is a man of his own mind. He knows what he wants and has the capacity to do what he wants to do. He is a man whose decisions are guided by the interest of the nation,” he added.