Former governors as liabilities in Tinubu’s cabinet



Uba Group

Today, Monday, August 21, President Bola Tinubu will swear in his ministers.

The event is billed to hold at the State House Conference Hall, Aso Villa in Abuja by 10 am.

Announcing some of the rules, the Director, Information Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Willie Bassey stated that the ministers are allowed to come with two guests each.

A studious look at the distribution of ministers across Nigeria’s regions, shows that the North-west region boasts of the highest number of 10 ministers, followed by the North-east with six. The North-central and South-west regions have eight and nine ministers respectively, while the South-east and South-south regions have five and seven ministers.

However, President Tinubu on Sunday night approved the redeployment of Abubakar Momoh from the Federal Ministry of Youth to the Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Development.

According to a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, the Federal Ministry of Youth is to be re-assigned to a Minister-designate soon.

“The Ministers-designate allocated to the Federal Ministries of Transportation, Interior, and Marine & Blue Economy have been reshuffled as follows: Adegboyega Oyetola is redeployed as the Minister of Marine & Blue Economy; Bunmi Tunji-Ojo is redeployed as Minister of Interior; Sa’idu Alkali is redeployed as Minister of Transportation.

“Furthermore, both Ministers of State in the Oil & Gas sector are now domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources with the following designations: Heineken Lokpobiri is the Minister of State (Oil), Petroleum Resources; Ekperipe Ekpo is the Minister of State (Gas), Petroleum Resources
“The President approves the renaming of the Federal Ministry of Environment and Ecological Management as the Federal Ministry of Environment.

“All aforementioned changes take immediate effect by these directives of the President,” Ngelale said.

“In his assessment, a political analyst, Kizito Opara, posited that the ex-governors had nothing to offer. He also claimed that 80 percent of them have criminal cases with the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission”

Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy – Bosun Tijani
Minister of State, Environment – Ishak Salako
Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy – Wale Edun
Minister of Interior – Bunmi Tunji-Ojo
Minister of Power – Adebayo Adelabu
Minister of State, Health and Social Welfare – Tunji Alausa
Minister of Solid Minerals Development – Dele Alake
Minister of Tourism – Lola Ade-John
Minister of Marine and Blue Economy – Adegboyega Oyetola

Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment – Doris Anite
Minister of Innovation, Science, and Technology – Uche Nnaji
Minister of State, Labour and Employment – Nkiruka Onyejeocha
Minister of Women Affairs – Uju Kennedy
Minister of Works – David Umahi

Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development – Festus Keyamo
Minister of Niger Delta Development – Abubakar Momoh
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs And Poverty Alleviation – Betta Edu
Minister of State, Gas Resources – Ekperipe Ekpo
Minister of State, Petroleum Resources – Heineken Lokpobiri
Minister of Sports Development – John Enoh
Minister of Federal Capital Territory – Nyesom Wike

Minister of Art, Culture, and the Creative Economy – Hannatu Musawa
Minister of Defence – Mohammed Badaru
Minister of State, Defence – Bello Matawalle
Minister of State, Education – Yusuf T. Sununu
Minister of Housing and Urban Development – Ahmed M. Dangiwa
Minister of State, Housing and Urban Development – Abdullahi T. Gwarzo
Minister of Budget and Economic Planning – Atiku Bagudu
Minister of Environment (Kaduna) – [Name Not Provided]
Minister of State, Federal Capital Territory – Mairiga Mahmud
Minister of State, Water Resources and Sanitation – Bello M. Goronto

Minister of Agriculture and Food Security – Abubakar Kyari
Minister of Education – Tahir Maman
Minister of Transportation – Sa’idu Alkali
Minister of Foreign Affairs – Yusuf M. Tuggar
Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare – Ali Pate
Minister of Police Affairs – Ibrahim Geidam
Minister of State, Steel Development – U. Maigari Ahmadu

Minister of Steel Development – Shuaibu A. Audu
Minister of Information and National Orientation – Muhammed Idris
Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice – Lateef Fagbemi
Minister of Labour and Employment – Simon B. Lalong
Minister of State, Police Affairs – Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim
Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs – Zephaniah Jisalo
Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation – Joseph Utsev
Minister of State, Agriculture and Food Security – Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi

As the ministers settle down to business, there are fears that the alleged “poor performance” of some former governors in the cabinet while they were presiding over the affairs of their respective states may haunt them, thereby putting them in dire straits.

Eight members of the cabinet are immediate past governors and they include Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa); Nyesom Wike (Rivers); Bello Matawalle (Zamfara); Adegboyega Oyetola (Osun); David Umahi (Ebonyi); Simon Lalong, (Plateau); Atiku Bagudu, (Kebbi); and Ibrahim Geidam, former governor of Yobe.


For these ex-governors, it is why the truth about a fine line existing between success and failure because of their “uninspiring” stints as governors, may soon hit home.

But since the only constant thing in life is change, political commentators agree that the ex-governors will have a golden opportunity to use their new-found roles to make Nigerians wax lyrical about them by striving to meet the yearning of citizens who have been demanding good governance in the face of harsh economic realities and decades of bad governance.

The screening of the former governors by the senate, however, had stirred up a hornet’s nest, with many Nigerians lambasting the senators for allowing most of the ex-governors to simply “take a bow and go,” without passing them through the rigours of a detailed question and answer session.

Before the “easy passage” given to the ex-governors during the screening, several individuals and groups had raised their voices against their nominations, with their angst being the failure of the ex-governors to perform creditably in their various states.

For instance, members of the president’s political party, the All Progressives Congress, in the Northern Progressives Union, had raised their voice against his plan to appoint former governors of northern extraction, as ministers.

The spokesperson of the group, Mohammed Ibrahim Kiyawa, said the ex-governors from their region eyeing ministerial portfolios, some of whom their tenures ended in May this year, had nothing to offer Nigerians.

In Kiyawa’s criticisms and accusations, which hit below the belt, the group called them “spent forces” and “disgruntled leaders” who didn’t have the prerequisite leadership capacities and capabilities, and who would be of no value to Tinubu’s Renewed Hope vision.

Shehu Sani, the former lawmaker representing Kaduna Central alleged that ex-governors nominated for ministerial appointments by President Tinubu represent his liabilities.

“The technocrats in Tinubu’s government represent his assets, and the former governors in his cabinet represent his liabilities,” he tweeted.

Another group, the South West Youth Forum, had, in a press statement, advised Tinubu against appointing any of the ex-governors as ministers.

The chairperson of the group, Funsho Ajimuda, said it was “an act of greed, shamelessness and selfishness that an eight years executive governor will be angling to be a minister while his political son is governor.”

Not done, the group alleged that the ex-governors, who plundered and plunged their respective states into domestic and foreign debt as well as ruined government businesses without adequate plans, concept or blueprint, had the opportunity to serve the people but ended up serving themselves and cohorts with “track records riddled with failed promises, corruption and inefficiency.”

This kind of open accusation is probably why no matter what tone-deaf justification is given by supporters of the ex-governors for their ministerial nomination, Nigerians still fear that their inclusion is a recipe for disaster.

The chairperson of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Osun state, Amos Ogunrinde, held the view that the ministerial appointment of the ex-governors was like “payback.”

While noting that some of the ex-governors will perform well as ministers because they did well as governors, the Bishop of the Methodist Church Nigeria, Osogbo, said that others would be there to “share the national cake.”

In addition, the clergyman who said he was also feeling the economic pinch in the country argued that he did not expect that Tinubu would nominate ex-governors, and that the former governor of Lagos State should have engaged the services of professionals.

Ogunrinde said, “The current situation in Nigeria is something that gives us concern. To me, these political appointments are like payback. It is like calling people to come and eat.

“But we cannot rule out the fact that some of them will perform well. For instance, I am not being biased because I am in Osun State, but the former governor of Osun (Oyetola) did well.

“In the four years he was governor, he paid staff salaries. The welfare of civil servants was also his major concern. And there are roads his predecessor could not complete which he finished up.

“However, some of them may just be there for the normal thing they do – sharing the national cake.”

Ogunrinde added, “As a pastor, I never expected the president would appoint any ex-governor. Why don’t you look for other people….professionals that will be fixed into ministries, to serve the nation?

“Nigerians are suffering, including myself. In May this year, I could fill my Sienna car with about N13, 000 worth of fuel. Now, I bought fuel with N20, 000 and the tank was not half-filled. It is not even like my fuel got exhausted when I went to the filling station.”

Whether he agrees with those who say that the ex-governors will be among those Tinubu will sack first in his cabinet, especially if their purported uninspiring track record as governors mirrors their service in Tinubu’s cabinet, Ogunrinde said, “The person who appointed them knows why he did.

“And they say change is the only permanent thing. We cannot rule out that some may change.

“Some, however, may still remain the same, but I don’t think the president, as of today, will have the courage to sack anyone. I do not think so.”

Ogunrinde pointed to the president’s “familiarity” with the ex-governors, saying it will be responsible for the inaction on the part of the president. He also insisted that “it is what has eaten deep into the fabric of this nation.”

He said the absence of that familiarity, most likely, led to the dropping of Maryam Shetty, the 44-year-old female ministerial nominee from Kano State.

While lamenting Shetty’s removal, Ogunrinde said, “An ex-governor from the state (Umar Ganduje) said they did not know her, and they removed the name of the woman without really probing whether she can deliver the goods.

“If she can and is qualified, why should you remove her for the person you know?

“This incident may not give us the boldness to say that the president can sack anyone who fails to perform, because they know themselves and how to cover themselves,” he concluded.

In his assessment, a political analyst, Kizito Opara, posited that the ex-governors had nothing to offer. He also claimed that 80 percent of them have criminal cases with the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Opara also alleged that the ex-governors usually embarked on constructing roads and bridges during their respective tenure because “that is the easiest way to siphon money.”

He lampooned senators for not asking the ex-governors and other ministerial nominees the necessary questions, and questioned the wisdom in televising the live airing of the screening.

“They (ex-governors) will not do anything. They will not change. They have nothing to offer and 80 percent of them have criminal cases with the ICPC and EFCC.

“That is why you notice that most of them embark on the construction of roads and bridges….that is the easiest way to siphon money. What it costs Nigeria to tar a common road; other nations are using it to build sports complexes and refineries.

“In fact, go through the so-called screening. Listen to the questions they asked them. Some even graduated when they were still in their mothers’ wombs.

“And they had the audacity to air the screening live and the whole world was looking at Nigeria, making mockery of this country. And some people were there, clapping.

“So, forget the ex-governors, including the other nominees who have been confirmed by the Senate,” Opara said.

The businessman also decried instances where ministers-designate were saddled with portfolios not based on their professions and capacities, stressing that it would be the downfall of some of the ex-governors.

He equally added that God had played his part (in the affairs of Nigeria) by endowing the country with so much resources and that no one should call God to “deliver” Nigeria.

That kind of prayer will be zero prayer,” he stated, “and all Nigerians have left to do is say no to everything going wrong in the country.”

Wike as a central figure of political discourse

The appointment of Nyesom Wike, the former governor of Rivers state, as the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory makes him the second Southerner to oversee the FCT after Ajose Adeogun, who was appointed in 1976.

However, the visit of Wike to the national chairman of the ruling APC, Abdullahi Ganduje, at his official residence in Abuja on Tuesday and the announcement of his new portfolio as the Minister of the FCT have generated debates about Wike’s status in the Peoples Democratic Party, going forward.

Since his exit from office on May 29, 2023, the former Rivers State governor has remained a central figure of political discourse in his state.

But many PDP members in Rivers State and across the country are worried about his continued romance with the ruling party despite not officially announcing his decision to join the APC.

Many party members wondered why the PDP has remained silent on his continued hobnobbing with the ruling party.

The PDP members wondered why the former governor has continued to show disrespect to the party at every given occasion despite moves by the various organs to appease him.

It is generally no longer news that the former Rivers governor, disagreed with the leadership of the PDP and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar shortly after losing the party’s presidential primary.

Wike was not happy that Atiku reneged on earlier promise to pick him as his running-mate for the 2023 presidential poll, while also demanding the resignation of then party’s national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, and for the position to be zoned to Southern Nigeria.

Wike had said it was unfair and unjust to Southern Nigeria for the two positions to be occupied by northerners.

He subsequently formed a G-5 alliance with four other PDP governors; Seyi Makinde, Samuel Ortom, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Okezie IKpeazu and they worked against Atiku and the party in the February 23rd presidential poll.

Although Wike worked for the PDP in the gubernatorial election and successfully installed his anointed candidate, Sim Fubara as his successor in Rivers State, he has sufficiently manifested anti-party behaviours that left many observers tongue-tied.

Despite moves by party leaders at reconciling the aggrieved group and individuals within the party after the general election, Wike has not shown any indication that he is willing to put the rift between him. If anything, he has moved on. It is the PDP that is still beholding his face.

His visit to Ganduje, APC chairman Wednesday sparked rumours of his impending defection to the ruling party.

Since his picture and Ganduje’s graced social media platforms after their meeting, many Nigerians have continued to react.

Some observers said that such a move would be a big surprise, considering that the former Rivers governor had once said on national television that he would never join the APC, and that the PDP was suffering from mere “malaria”, while the APC has “cancer.”

Wike had vowed that such a decision would never happen.

“How can I leave malaria which can be easily treated to cancer that has no cure?” he asked rhetorically.

Many members of the PDP are of the opinion that it would be disastrous for the future of the party if after publicly romancing the APC and even serving in Tinubu’s administration, Wike returned back to the PDP.

Some party faithful said that the PDP’s leadership under Umar Damagum must strike out Wike’s name from the register to serve as a deterrent to others.

In May, a federal high court sitting in Abuja had said the PDP had the right to suspend or expel Wike. James Omotosho, presiding judge had delivered judgment in the suit instituted by Wike against the PDP.

This was against the earlier judgment in February in which the same judge had ordered all parties in the suit to maintain peace.

In the first suit by Wike, the same judge had said that suspending or expelling Wike from the party without affording him the right to defend himself was contrary to the provision of the PDP’s constitution and the 1999 constitution as amended.

Some party leaders say they are not bothered about Wike’s continued romance with the ruling party, because he was no longer relevant, wondering why he went against his words never to work with the APC.

Political analysts said that the PDP’s inability to resolve the disagreement with Wike was a setback. They noted that the party made a mistake by allowing Ayu to remain in office against the agitations of the G5 governors, knowing the crucial role governors play towards electoral victory and party politics in Nigeria.

“I don’t understand why he is still laying claim to the membership of the PDP after his open flirtation and connivance with the ruling party. His shameless association with the Presidency and the APC has come full cycle”

“I think we can say the inability of PDP to resolve this issue with Wike and his colleagues then affected the party’s chances in the presidential poll.

“Whether you like it or not, the party would have done better if they had gone to that election in a united house. And think of it; Ayu resigned after the Presidential poll. Why did he not do it when it was necessary?

“I don’t trust Ayu; I want to believe those who said he was working for Tinubu.

“Of what essence would it benefit the PDP to suspend Wike now? The deed has been done. Since he has not come out openly to say he is joining the APC, there is nothing they can do than to continue talking to him,” Wale Bakare, political analyst, said.

Babatunde Olarewaju, a PDP chieftain in Lagos State, said there were signs that Wike may join the APC considering his recent remarks, noting that the party was not afraid of punishing him.

According to him, “We can all see what he has become: consistent Aso Rock visitor; begging for office and recognition. Is he any longer relevant? Or going about for relevance.

“Governor Siminalaya Fubara is still a PDP governor, who I want to assume has his own image to protect. Have you forgotten what Fubara said on the 19th of June, 2023? And he was referring to Wike – ‘Don’t be far away from me if you cross over.’ Get a meaning from that.

“I have my own meaning. Politics is about interest. If anyone wants to cross to APC he is free. For disciplined politicians, party principles decide where they stay and that should be permanent.

“Voters can drift, disciplined politicians shouldn’t. Leave matter, when it comes to suspension the PDP NWC is watching and capable.”

Speaking recently, a member of the PDP’s National Executive Committee, Timothy Osadolor, called on the leadership of the party to sanction Wike over his association with the APC and the Tinubu-led presidency.

He said that the party would survive if Wike was expelled, and that no individual could be bigger than the party.

Osadolor, who is the Deputy National Youth Leader of the PDP, said the soft disposition of the PDP’ Damagum, towards Wike, largely accounts for the reason he was still laying claim to PDP membership.

He said if he were to swap roles with Damagum, Wike would be gone the next minute.

Osadolor stated, “Time has not only come, it is overdue for Wike to be shown the way out of the party. Every manager has his own style but if I was the chairman, I don’t see any reason Wike should still be in this party.

I don’t understand why he is still laying claim to the membership of the PDP after his open flirtation and connivance with the ruling party. His shameless association with the Presidency and the APC has come full cycle.

“It is not a matter of if or when, it is a matter of integrity. Wike cannot be dining and winning with the APC and still claim to be a member of the PDP. He should know this!”

Meanwhile, the natives of the FCT under the auspices of Abuja Original Inhabitant Youth Empowerment Organization have called on Wike to repeat the kind of infrastructural development he bequeathed to Rivers State capital, Port Harcourt in Abuja.

This call was made in a statement signed by the president of the group, Isaac David.

The statement expressed the delight of the Abuja natives to welcome Wike to the FCT as the minister because the city being the seat of Nigeria’s government, it would be a disservice to Nigeria to appoint someone who is not experienced on how to manage a capital city like Abuja.

They said that given the background of the new minister of the FCT, they are very confident that his giant strides in Rivers State would be replicated.

David further stated that the development of Abuja in all ramifications requires a bold person to maintain strict adherence to the Abuja master plan, restore normalcy in the area of security and be strongly committed to nation-building, noting that they have seen all these qualities in Wike and they believe he will bring them to bear during his tenure as FCT Minister.