President Muhammadu Buhari has said that he needs more time to compile his ministerial list, stressing that unlike his first term when the All Progressives Congress (APC) and other individuals nominated ministers for him, he would do it himself this time around.
At a dinner with the leadership of the National Assembly on Thursday night, he disclosed that he was under intense pressure to announce his ministers, but pointed out that he was not going to be stampeded.
During the week, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, was reported to have assured that the president would submit his list is week but he has denied the report.
At the meeting on Thursday, Buhari was said to have noted that most of the ministers he appointed in his first tenure were not known to him as they were products of recommendations from his party. He said he now wants to appoint people that are well known to him and who have the capacity to deliver.
His words: “Many at this dinner meeting are saying they want to see the list of the proposed cabinet so that they can go on leave peacefully.
“I’m very much aware about it; 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.
“But, this time around I’m going to be quite me, me in the sense that I will pick people I personally know.”
When the president’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said recently that “Nigerians won’t wait longer than necessary” for Buhari’s cabinet, many thought it meant not as long as it took in 2015 when there was a six months wait. But Thursday’s plea for time by the president himself, suggests that the 2015 drama may repeat itself again.
Newspeakonline recalls that the president’s wife, Aisha Buhari, had complained severally that those in her husband’s cabinet were unknown.
Lawan who spoke with State House correspondents after the meeting, denied promising Nigerians that the ministerial list would be forwarded to the senate this week.
“I never did,” he said. “Let me take this opportunity to correct that. A senator raised a point of order under personal explanation and he said we (the senate) should be sent the list of ministers by the executive arm of government. And in my response I said the executive is working so hard to ensure that the list of Nigerians that will help this Administration work is going to be constituted, we could even receive it this week.
“Could is conditional and I will urge everybody here to report it as it is.”
Those at the dinner included the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, Abdullahi Yahaya – Majority Leader, Ajayi Borofice – Deputy Leader, Orji Uzor Kalu – Chief Whip and Sabi Abdullahi – Deputy Chief Whip. Others were Emmanuel Bwacha, Deputy Minority leader, Phillip Aduda- Minority Whip, Sabi Wau, Deputy Minority Whips.
Also present were Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, Majority leader, House of Representatives, Ndudi Godwin Elumelu – Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu – Deputy Minority Leader. and Nkeiru Onyejocha, Deputy Whip
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly matters (Senate), Ita Enang, Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Adams Oshiomhole and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Boss Mustapha were also in attendance.