Barring last minutes changes, President Muhammadu Buhari is set to take a short leave abroad expressly to vet both ministerial performance audit report and a list of ministerial candidates with their curriculum vitae, (CV) Sunday INDEPENDENT reliably gathered over the weekend.
As further learnt, the president is set to embark on total cleansing of the house with at least 80 per cent of the current ministers and other federal appointees in his cabinet likely to go.
It was also gathered that so far, only three ministers; Rotimi Amaechi, Chris Ngige, and Babatunde Raji Fashola are the most likely to reemerge in the new cabinet post-May 29 after the president is sworn in for a second term.
It is, however, unclear whether President Buhari will undertake the short working leave before or after May 29, but insiders inform the newspaper that the trip became necessary after worries became palpable in the presidency that decisions on the proposed federal appointments may upset powerful stakeholders in the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Buhari’s support base and other deeply entrenched interest groups who are believed to have begun lobbying the president on the choice of ministers and other federal appointments to be made. The president intends to work on the final reports and list of potential aides without pressures from any quarters, it was learnt.
The tension arising from intense lobbying and outbreak of political dogfight, according to close associates of the president, could stymie plans by the president to clean house in his second tenure.
“There was no doubt before now that Mr President had already concluded plans to clean house post-May 2019. We already knew ministers and other kitchen cabinet members who would not make it back into Buhari’s ministerial list by the end of March,” explained an APC national officer to the newspaper who elected to speak off record.
The source explained that there have been some strange developments after then which have put the presidency in the same quandary like 2015 when it took Buhari more than six months to appoint ministers. “At that time, the president needed to compensate those who worked for him and APC, thereby, forced to bring in politicians over whom he has been much criticized. The consideration this time around revolves around the politics of who succeeds Buhari in 2023,” explained the top party source.
According to the newspaper’s informers, the cause of friction allegedly stems from perception by some political hawks that the President is in consultation and consorting with Bola Ahmed Tinubu, national leader of the ruling party, over choices of ministers to come on board and those to go. Politicians in the North with abiding suspicion of the former Lagos State governor had deployed their arsenals into further making the president see the folly of such an alliance. One of such ploys has been the rash of negative social media attacks on Tinubu in traditional northern media outlets.
Source Sunday Independent