•DSS, advisory team conduct final investigations, lobbyists continue campaigns
•President set to forward cabinet members’ names to Senate
The list containing the names of ministerial nominees in the President Bola Tinubu administration is ready and undergoing final security checks, an impeccable Presidency source has told Sunday PUNCH.
The source, who did not reveal the names or number of those being considered for ministerial offices, said the Department of State Services and members of the Presidential Strategic Team were running final checks on the people who had been listed as possible ministers.
“They have the list already. Several names have been written against their respective offices. But they just have to find out and do some checks on a few of these names. That’s what is delaying the list. They are being very strategic with this,” the source said.
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Should the Tinubu administration proceed with the appointment of ministers of state, 44 names are expected to be sent to the 10th Senate for screening and eventual approval.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that politicians had been flocking the President’s private residence in Ikoyi, Lagos, jostling for ministerial slots, especially during the Eid-el-Kabir holidays when Tinubu was in Lagos.
“I learned that Tinubu’s ministerial list is almost done. He kept a core of ministers to himself, heavily influenced by the kitchen cabinet of his special advisers. Politicians are in Bolekaja over the rest. It’s a slugfest now,” a source had disclosed to our correspondent on Monday.
In March, the then Special Adviser to the President-elect, Dele Alake, had said Tinubu would constitute his cabinet within one month of assuming office.
Alake said this was in line with the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution mandating presidents-elect and governors-elect to submit the names of their ministerial and commissioner nominees within 60 days of taking the oath of office for confirmation by the Senate or the respective state Houses of Assembly.
He had said, “I told you in an earlier interview that it didn’t take Asiwaju more than three weeks to form his cabinet as a governor. That was as at that time. I think 60 days is even too much.
“A month, maximum, is enough for any serious government to form its cabinet and put the structure of government in place after the swearing-in.”
However, Alake, who is now the Special Adviser to the President on Special Duties, Communication and Strategy, was unreachable at the time of filing this report.
Meanwhile, there are fresh indications that the President may send the list of his ministerial nominees to the National Assembly this week after the lawmakers resume from the Sallah break for their legislative duties.
The development is coming one week after the 10th Senate and House of Representatives adjourned their legislative activities to embark on recess till July 4.
This was confirmed in two separate interviews with a former coordinator in the dissolved All Progressives Congress Campaign Council, Dr Ene Ogbole, and Director of Publicity for the APC, Bala Ibrahim.
Speculations on who will make the ministerial list have generated heated debates and growing anxiety among Tinubu’s campaign members and party loyalists since he assumed office on May 29.
The President has, however, kept everyone guessing as he has clutched the list tightly to his chest and away from even closest allies.
Speculations were rife last week that some APC governors might be granted the liberty to nominate more than one person as ministerial nominees with the consent of the President.
According to a source, there is a likelihood that the ministerial list may be submitted to the Senate for confirmation this week and for the cabinet to be in place later this month.
Reacting to the growing anxiety over the list, Ogbole told our correspondent that she had it on good authority that the President would forward his ministerial nominees list to the Senate for screening shortly after the legislators return from their recess.
The former campaign director also urged Nigerians not to put too much pressure on Tinubu, saying he had another 30 days to do so in line with the new law signed by his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, which mandated him to unveil his ministerial list within 60 days of assumption of office.
Ogbole stated, “The ministerial nominees you talked about are still in the process. I, however, don’t think the President needs up to 60 days to unveil his cabinet.
“He’s trying to get the right things done. You know the 10th National Assembly has just come on board and they were on recess for the Sallah break. As the break is now over, I can assure you that you will begin to hear names being rolled out.
“Asiwaju is still on track. He is a man of his word. And I can assure Nigerians that he’s not going to do anything short of his promises. He has also signed two or three bills into law in less than 30 days in office. That is legendary.”
Bala also shared Ogbole’s sentiment and asked Nigerians to cut the President some slack.
The APC image maker also expressed conviction that unlike his predecessor, Tinubu did not need up to 60 days to announce those he intends to work with.
He stated, “The President still has time on his side to carefully choose his team. He is not under any kind of pressure. I don’t see any on his side. You can even see how the President extended his stay by moving from Paris to London.
“Does he look like somebody under pressure? If there is any pressure, he would have run back long before his arrival. However, we are optimistic that he will present his ministerial list after the Sallah break.”
Meanwhile, a former Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Pauline Tallen, has called on the President to fulfil the 35 per cent affirmative action promised women during his presidential campaign.
She made the appeal on Friday in Abuja at an award night organised by Women of Worth, an organisation set up to celebrate outstanding women.
Tallen, who is also a former deputy governor of Plateau State, said from the President’s past records, she was optimistic that Nigerian women would be given their pride of place in his administration.
She said women were an integral part of any economy and should be allowed to contribute their quota to nation building.
The News Agency of Nigeria quoted Tallen as stating, “I have the belief that the President will do more for Nigerian women than was experienced in the past.
“It is important to empower, educate and give Nigerian women the opportunity to explore their potential for the betterment of the nation.
“Rwanda, for instance, where women are over 60 per cent in government, has seen a lot of progress.
“So, I can boldly say the milestone that Rwanda has achieved is because of the contribution of women.”
The former said with Nigerian women being about 50 per cent or more in terms of population, there was nothing wrong if they were given more than 35 per cent slots in government.
She called on Nigerians to make it a point of duty to “lift the hands of a downtrodden woman and put smiles on the faces of the hungry and vulnerable.”
The United Nations Women Representative to Nigeria, Mrs Beatrice Eyong, said she had no doubt that the President would fulfil his campaign promise to women.
Eyong stated, “From some of the things I have read about our President, his past work in Lagos and what he has been saying, he has made it clear that women will be an integral part of his government.
“What I will simply say is that Nigeria does not lack competent, experienced and qualified women. There are qualified Nigerian women in every sector of the economy.”
Eyong, who also represents the Economic Community of West African States at the UN, said the present administration should “align with judicial texts and conventions that Nigeria had ratified.”
“The Maputo Protocol, which was ratified by all heads of state, for instance, recommends a 50/50 ratio and Nigeria cannot say it does not have women to make up 50 per cent,” she added.
On the roles of Nigerian women in the economy, Eyong said they had always contributed to national development.
She said, while Nigerian women had so much potential, it was unfortunate that their efforts were not well recognised.
According to her, Nigerian women have demonstrated at the global stage that they are competent and have expertise in all fields.
“The Head, World Trade Organisation, for instance, is a Nigerian woman, and the number two in the United Nations is also a Nigerian woman and I can count on. Unfortunately, Nigerian women are not given much opportunity to showcase their potential within their own country,” she said.