President Bola Tinubu on Thursday met with the former Governor Nyesom Wike led Integrity Group, also known as G5 Governors, as politicians besiege the Presidential Villa, Abuja, in search of political appointments.
The Wike-led group, comprising Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, also includes former Governors Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia State); Ifeanyi Ugwanyi (Enugu State); and Samuel Ortom (Benue State).
They arrived the Aso Rock Presidential villa, at exactly 4:30 pm and were ushered straight to the President’s office.
Wike’s visit, which was the third in one week, was in continuation of his romance with the All Progressive Congress administration of President Bola Tinubu.
Wike had last Friday visited the state House in company with former Delta Governor, James Ibori and Governor Seyi Markinde of Oyo State.
It was gathered that their visit might not be unconnected with the ongoing intense lobbying for political offices, ahead of the submission of the President’s ministerial list to the National Assembly.
The President had earlier on Thursday met Peter Mba of Enugu of State, as well as Governors of Plateau and Akwa Ibom States, Caleb Mutfwang and Umo Eno, respectively, as he compiled his ministerial list.
The President is expected to announce a list of 42 ministers that will represent the 36 states, with extra six representing each of the six geopolitical zones, soon after the inauguration of the National Assembly on June 13, 2023.
The President, who met behind closed doors up to the early hours on Thursday with members of the House of Representatives elect, also had a similar meeting on Thursday afternoon, with Senators elect.
For the purposes of political expediency, state governors are expected to have inputs into the choice of who represents their states as political appointees at the federal level.
Unlike the previous cases when new administrations were not guided on such appointments, a Bill recently signed into law by former President Muhammadu Buhari compels the President and the 36 state governors to nominate their cabinet members, ministers and commissioners as the case may be, within the first 60 days after assumption of office.
The Bill number 23 specifically seeks to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to require the President and Governors to submit the names of persons nominated as ministers or commissioners within 60 days of taking the oath of office for confirmation by the Senate or State House of Assembly.
This specifically means that President Tinubu and all the 36 governors must submit lists of nominees for ministers and commissioners respectively before the end of July.
The President had in the last two weeks embarked on a series of consultations with the state governors and National Assembly members, in preparation for the inauguration of the lawmakers and subsequent submission of ministerial lists.
Speaking with State House journalists after the meeting, the Akwa Ibom state Governor, Umo Eno, revealed that the President promised speedy action on the Calabar- Itu road, as well as the Ibom deep sea port.
“We will need the President to help us intervene and let’s finish the road. We talked about our Ibom deep seaport, we will need the president to also intervene and let’s get the seaport.
“I also mentioned to him the export license, the free zone for our airport, so that the maintenance, repairs, and overhauling facility there, we will be able to bring in spare parts to service the airplanes. These are strategic partnerships that we want with the Federal Government. So, I talked about it and he has promised to look into it, and I believe him”
Eno noted that politics was over and governance had started, adding, “So Akwa Ibom is an integral part of Nigeria and we have to work with the Federal Government to ensure that Akwa Ibomites see the benefits of democracy and we cannot do that if we work standing apart.
“There are lots of things we expect from the Federal Government and it’s only with that cooperation that we can work together and achieve the common good, whatever I know I can do, to bring the dividends of democracy to my people, I will do it.”
He revealed that the state had commenced interventions to cushion the effect of the fuel subsidy removal.
“My deputy governor distributed some palliatives to all the local governments. And as I go back, I’m scheduled to have a meeting with all the petroleum marketers in Akwa Ibom. So we’re looking at those ways whatever we need to do to…and the President has directed that state governors, of course, should work on palliatives for the citizenry.
“We will do just that. There are a number of things and as we get into early next week if you focus on Akwa Ibom, you will see various things we are going to put in place to support our people and shield them from the effects of the subsidy removal,” he said.