- Godfathers, godsons battle for executive, ministerial slots
- What we expect from Tinubu – Nigerians
BY BAMIDELE FAMOOFO, BENEDICT NWACHUKWU, FESTUS OKOROMADU AND MAYOWA SAMUEL
There is palpable excitement across Nigeria as President-elect, Bola Tinubu, Vice President-elect, Kashim Shettima, will take their oaths of office today.
The former Lagos State governor will be sworn in as the 16th President of Nigeria at the Eagle Square, Abuja.
Also, 28 governors and their deputies will take their oaths of office across the states.
Tinubu was declared the winner of the February 25 presidential election by the Independent National Electoral Commission, while 28 governors were elected on March 18.
At least 65 world leaders and heads of states will grace the inauguration ceremony.
Also expected at the nation’s seventh transition ceremony are past presidents, diplomats, heads of international organisations, prominent Nigerians and representatives of foreign governments and agencies.
Already, President Joe Biden of the United States of America has named his nine-member delegation to attend the inauguration through a statement released on the White House website on Monday, 22 May, 2023.
At the state levels, there would be no inauguration in eight of the 36 states, namely: Anambra, Bayelsa, Edo, Ekiti, Imo, Kogi, Osun and Ondo because their governorship elections are off-season due to litigation and court judgements.
The 28 states where new governors will be inaugurated today are Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Cross River, and Delta.
Others are Ebonyi, Enugu, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara states.
Sixteen of the governors are of the All Progressives Congress, including Uba Sani (Kaduna), Bassey Otu (Cross River), Mohammed Bago (Niger), Umar Namadi (Jigawa), Ahmed Aliyu (Sokoto), Dikko Radda (Katsina), Hyacinth Alia (Benue), Francis Nwifuru (Ebonyi), Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe), Mai Mala Buni (Yobe), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq (Kwara), Babagana Zulum (Borno) and Umar Namadi (Jigawa).
Similarly, 10 governors on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party will take charge.
They are Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), Kefas Agbu (Taraba), Caleb Mutfwang (Plateau), Peter Mbah (Enugu), Umo Eno (Akwa Ibom), Dauda Lawal (Zamfara), Siminialayi Fubara (Rivers), Sheriff Oborevwori (Delta) and Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri (Adamawa).
While Abba Kabir of the New Nigeria Peoples Party will be sworn in as governor of Kano State, Alex Otti of the Labour Party will be inaugurated as the chief executive of Abia State.
There will be brand new governors in 18 states, where the governors have served out their two terms. The states are Abia, Akwa Ibom, Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba and Zamfara.
Godfathers, godsons battle for executive, ministerial slots
In line with the constitutional provision, the new President is expected to make his first appointments after being sworn in today by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola.
There are at least three appointments that are likely to be made by the new President to keep the wheel of government moving, pending when other appointments that must have the seal of the National Assembly will follow.
The three appointments are the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the Chief of Staff and a presidential spokesperson.
Sources close to the incoming President revealed that moves are being made by power brokers on who gets what in the new cabinet to be formed.
“There is a semblance of a dog fight between some APC powerbrokers and failed aspirants and candidates of the party during the last APC primaries and general elections”
In some state chapters of the APC, godfathers appear to have drawn battle lines with their godsons, while in others, the fight appears to be a straight fight between incumbent ministers and outgoing governors seeking refuge after leaving office.
There is a semblance of a dog fight between some APC powerbrokers and failed aspirants and candidates of the party during the last APC primaries and general elections.
The list of the failed candidates includes outgoing members of the National Assembly, who had fought gallantly at the polls but whose efforts came to naught.
In all the instances, however, the dramatis personae have recruited proxies with no less pedigree to lead the battle on their behalf.
The Point learnt that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola; Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State; James Faleke, a federal lawmaker from Lagos; three outgoing governors Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State; Aminu Masari of Katsina State and Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State are likely to play some prominent roles in the Tinubu cabinet.
The three outgoing governors are said to be in the race for the SGF office.
As lobbying intensifies at various quarters, the new President may keep Nigerians guessing on the likely character of his next cabinet.
A douse of the gender-related issues has also been injected in the public discourse of the names that should constitute the federal cabinet.
The incoming has promised to hit the ground running immediately he comes on board, and it is expected that he will name his cabinet in less than a month.
This explains the commencement of lobbying for ministerial slots among some chieftains of the APC at the moment.
Among the states, where lobbying for ministerial positions is said to be intense at the moment are Lagos, Ekiti and Oyo.
The Point learnt that APC chieftains positioning themselves in Lagos State are former Governor Babatunde Fashola, the immediate past Minister of Works and Housing; former Minister of Science and Technology, Olorunnimbe Mamora; ex-Commissioner for Finance in the state, Wale Edun; erstwhile Minister of State for Defence, Musliu Obanikoro; a former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji and the former state Commissioner for Environment, Tunji Bello.
The contenders in Oyo are the APC governorship candidate in the state, Teslim Folarin; his Accord Party counterpart, Adebayo Adelabu; former Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu; Executive Secretary, National Sugar Development Council, Zach Adedeji; Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare, and Senator Rilwan Akanbi.
In contention in Ekiti State are former Governor Kayode Fayemi; ex-Commissioner for Information and Strategy in Lagos State, Dele Alake, and a former Minister of State for Works, Dayo Adeyeye.
Almost all the contenders are close political associates of Tinubu, a development, an APC South West chieftain, said might ruffle feathers within the President-elect’s camp at the home front.
He said, “There’s no disputing the fact that most of Tinubu’s political associates in the South West have their eyes on the cabinet, but I will tell you that it is going to be a tough one to predict those who will make it, given their respective pedigrees.
“How can one dismiss Fashola, who not only served as Chief of Staff to Tinubu, but later succeeded him as governor of Lagos State, or Wale Edun and Dele Alake, who served as commissioners under Tinubu?
“Are we also talking about Fayemi, Tunji Bello, Sunday Dare, Mamora or Adeyeye, who is the brain behind the South West Agenda for Asiwaju (SWAGA), which was in the forefront of Tinubu’s presidential project?”
Asked how Tinubu will accommodate these associates, given that each state is entitled to a ministerial slot, the source said besides Wale Edun, who has been tipped to lead Tinubu’s economic team as Minister of Finance, Fashola is likely to return to the federal cabinet on geopolitical consideration.
On who is likely to get the ministerial slot for Oyo State, the source said it was almost a done deal for Senator Folarin as a sort of compensation for his loss of the governorship position “although Dare is in strong contention”.
The source, however, said that it was a dicey situation in Ekiti, where Fayemi, Alake and Adeyeye hail from.
According to him, whereas Fayemi is eminently qualified to make the cabinet, given his experience as a two-term governor and former minister, it would be difficult for Tinubu to drop Alake, who has been his close ally since his days as governor.
“You will recall that Alake served as Director of Strategic Communication of the APC Presidential Campaign Council for the 2023 elections, while the role by the Adeyeye-led SWAGA in mobilising support for Tinubu right from the outset cannot be overemphasised. So, it is a difficult moment for the President-elect as he pencils down members of his cabinet.
“However, given that Tinubu is a man blessed with uncanny ability to identify political as well as electoral assets, I have no fear that he will navigate the situation and come up with a list that will not only accommodate all interests but personalities, who deliver on his campaign promises,” the source said.
While reacting to the development, the Ekiti State Publicity Secretary of the APC, Segun Dipe, said that the alleged tension being created by those interested in the ministerial slot was nothing unnatural.
Dipe said, “I don’t think there is any tension that is out of natural. Normally, if there is going to be ministerial appointment, there will be jostling, horse-trading and consultation before they arrive at picking a nominee.
“I don’t think anything unnatural is happening in the APC. At the end of the day, it is going to be the decision of the President to choose the candidate for the slot. There will always be consultations here and there and as a result, there will be interests that will be thrown up.
“I can assure you that once the final selection is made, the whole situation will calm down and everyone will accept the outcome. If you say that people are meeting, it is consultation and until they arrive at the final list, consultations will continue.
“There will be last minute horse-trading, disappointment and so on. These are natural and not out of place. So, we in the party are not afraid, as the best will emerge. Whoever emerges is our best.”
What we want from Tinubu – Nigerians
Kayode Eesuola, Associate Professor, Institute of African and Diaspora Studies, University of Lagos, advised that the incoming government must hit the ground running to meet the aspirations of Nigerians as their expectations of this incoming government are specific.
“Without prejudice to the outgoing government of Muhammadu Buhari, he was not able to meet the expectations of the people and this incoming administration of Bola Tinubu cannot afford to go the same way,” he said.
Eesuola said it was expected that the incoming government would learn from the mistakes of the Buhari government and do things that will meet the needs and aspirations of Nigerians.
On his expectations, Kolade Dada, an agro specialist and managing director, Agriseedco Nigeria Limited, listed five key areas that needed urgent attention.
They are security, transparency, efficiency, access to loans and accountability.
He said, “The next will be how to get extension workers. The government’s extension workers are not enough.
“At a time it was about one to 10,000 but today the ratio is widening so how do you even get the youths involved?”
The Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, described the Nigerian tourism industry as a sector with huge potential to attract foreign exchange into the country.
He, however, expressed concerns that a lot would have to be done to resuscitate the industry as current developments in the country had brought it to its knees.
The National President, All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Kabir Ibrahim, is of the view that the outgoing administration has made some very important impacts in the agricultural sector of the economy.
On his assessment of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s performance in the agricultural sector, he said, “The Buhari administration actually put agriculture on the front banner with the Agriculture Promotion Policy (APP) from which the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s Anchor Borrower Program (ABP) sprouted.”
Offering suggestions as to how the government of President Bola Tinubu can improve the sector’s performance in the years ahead, he said the new administration should continue with some key policy initiatives of Buhari.
“There’s no disputing the fact that most of Tinubu’s political associates in the South West have their eyes on the cabinet, but I will tell you that it is going to be a tough one to predict those who will make it, given their respective pedigrees”
In his advice to the Tinubu government, the General Secretary, National Union of Food Beverages and Tobacco Employees, Mike Olanrewaju, said, “The change of government is a welcome development, and at least, we have another opportunity to get it right. Buhari made some wrong policies that were suppressing, in ensuring that the manufacturing companies are sent out of business. Most companies in our sector have preferred to relocate to Ghana and other neighbouring African countries, because of so many factors.
“Every day, there are lots of retrenchments and redundancies because most of these companies can barely cope with their workforce, and are closing down their production lines because of their inability to access raw materials which are basically foreign based. We’re still battling that, instead of giving them leeway and conducive environment to operate, to be able to bear with all the overwhelming challenges they are facing, he (Buhari) contemplates increase in tariffs. At the end of the day, we’re convinced from the research we’ve carried out, that they’ll be counterproductive.
“What we had expected was a situation where there’s tax holidays that’ll enable these companies to stabilise from the adverse effects of COVID-19 and all other unfavourable economic challenges they are faced with, but not bringing additional ones that’ll further strangulate their operations.
“With the new government, it’s our expectation that Tinubu who has been a genius in terms of turning around the economy, especially in Lagos where we were all witnesses to how he managed Lagos, even without any resources from the Federal Government, but still survived and took Lagos to a higher level, should use the same prowess he put into use then. We believe he’ll be able to replicate it now.”
The National Vice President, Institute for Tourism Professionals of Nigeria, Abdulhamid Mohammed Sheriff, also urged the incoming administration to give more focus to the tourism sector, one of which is to separate the ministry from the culture ministry, and make it stand alone.
Calling for the review of the country’s national tourism policy which hasn’t been implemented, Mohammed lamented the huge chunk of graduates without skills which according to him, has contributed to the worsening unemployment in the country.
He said, “I want Nigerians to know that tourism is a global business. There’s no country in the world that doesn’t benefit from tourism. Tourism covers every sector of the economy but unfortunately in Nigeria, a number of organisations in the country that benefit from or contribute to tourism development don’t even know they belong to the sector. Government does not help matters because just anybody is appointed into any position in tourism, mostly people who have no idea about what tourism is about.”
On how the incoming administration can heal the wounds of division in Nigeria and make Nigerians come together and move the country forward, a minister of the gospel and former Senatorial candidate of the Social Democratic Party for the FCT, Pastor Olanrewaju Osho, said the Tinubu administration must jettison the rhetoric identified with the outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said, “The power behind division in Nigeria is rooted in injustice, lack of fair play and sectional leadership.
“The incoming President should avoid rhetoric like Buhari’s ‘I am for nobody. I am for everybody’ and show to all Nigerians that he is the President for all including people who didn’t vote for him.
“The President-elect should govern for all by adhering strictly to the spirit and the letter of our diversity and inclusion programme which was codenamed ‘Federal Character’. Appointments should be based on quality and inclusiveness. Every of the tribes and states must be given the opportunity to be represented in government through equitable distribution of political appointments, employment opportunities and so on.”
A retired civil servant, Abdulbaki Abdullahi, warned against bringing those perpetrating ethnicity and religious division close to the government.
The retired Deputy Director said as a former civil servant, the major problem of our country was division along ethnic and religious lines, adding that employment and appointments to offices were based on these two factors.
He said, “We must stop ethnic, religious politics and discrimination. Let public office holders stop the practice of taking over and reserving employment spaces only for their families and relations alone. There should be no selective application of the law. If the incoming government wants to remove impunity from the country, all they need to do is lead by example, obey the rule of law and ensure every defaulter is punished regardless of their positions in government, political inclinations, ethnic or religion.”
Cletus Obun, APC Chieftain and former member of the House of Representatives, outlined the insinuations created by these vices that must be addressed by the incoming government to foster reconciliation and remove impunity.
He noted that reconciliation goes beyond bringing politicians from different political parties to support the government.
For Silver Emeka, “reconciliation is easy and it’s difficult depending on who is involved.”
“This incoming government is still APC government and if we go by the activities of the outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari who openly declared enmity between him and the south east ndi Igbo, one would be forced to judge the incoming President but as an individual, I strongly believe that Tinubu will be different from Buhari. That is the area I believe that reconciliation is easy.
“All he needs to do is carry everybody along regardless of ethnic, religion, political party and most especially, not discriminate against those who did not vote for him. There’s no part of the country where he did not get a vote even if it is one per cent or 100 per cent. He has become President of Nigeria and Nigerians not APC, Yoruba or Muslim. He must throw away this Buhari’s legacy. By doing so, he will reconcile Nigerians across ethnic, religion and political lines,” he added.
A member of the CSO, Abdulrahman Gafar, is of the opinion that reconciliation has already begun in the National Assembly with the Senators-elect and members-elect of different political parties putting heads together to decide who will lead them in the 10th Assembly.
He said, “All the President should do is to leverage on it by extending Olive Branch to other Nigerians, not minding their political leanings. There cannot be reconciliation when those around him see their victory as the winner takes it all and a fight between us and them. No, it shouldn’t be so. Election is a contest not war. Therefore, APC should in the spirit of reconciliation embrace all Nigerians and bring everyone on board.”