Thirty-six states in the federation have submitted 108 names to President Muhammadu Buhari for appointment as ministers and board members, credible sources told Daily Trust yesterday.
This is coming about 41 days since the president announced his intention to expand his cabinet and make more board appointments to appease aggrieved party members.
Daily Trust findings have shown that each state submitted names of three All Progressive Congress (APC) members to be appointed as ministers or heads of federal agencies.
On October 31, Buhari had during the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the APC disclosed his intention to expand the ministerial appointments from 36 to an undisclosed number.
The president reportedly allocated one more ministerial slot to Kano and Lagos states; as well as one to each of the six geopolitical zones.
Sources in some APC states in the northwest, north central and northeast said Buhari, few weeks ago, directed their governors to submit three names each.
Efforts to speak to APC leaders in Abuja on record and others at the geopolitical zones were not fruitful last night.
But a senior party chieftain who declined to be named said the party hierarchy was consulted.
Sources in Katsina and Kano, Bauchi, Borno, and Plateau told Daily Trust that their governors had since complied with the presidential directive.
One of the sources in the northwest said: “The president had asked our governor for three credible APC members who have no issue with any of the anti-graft agencies.
“The president was specific; he said APC members who worked for the success of the party. He said their precedence would be looked at and one might be considered for ministerial appointment and the rest probably for big board appointments,” he said.
Another source in the northeast said it was a pain reliever when their governor was asked to also submit three names to the presidency.
“Our governor was under mounting pressure from party faithful who felt used and dumped since this administration came on-board.
“Many have exhausted their patience, especially when they heard nothing weeks after the APC NEC meeting where Buhari assured them that he would do something in terms of appointments.
“It was however good news when a request was made in that direction that names should be submitted; the sooner the president does the appointment the better, the grumbling is too much,” he said.
In a recent interview with newsmen, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed had defended Buhari’s delay in making some critical appointments.
But it was however gathered that crisis among various interest groups in the APC was responsible for the delay in the expansion of federal cabinet as pledged by the president.
Multiple sources privy to the development told Daily Trust that the delay was as a result of crisis especially in states over who makes it to the federal cabinet.
Another source close to the president said the delay was caused by the inability of the key stakeholders to resolve the selection crisis that has erupted.
The source said the president was managing the situation to forestall a repeat of what happened in 2015 that led to the outcry by people who contributed to Buhari’s electoral victory.
The source cited the case of northeast whereby the person nomininated from Bauchi has torn the stakeholders in the state apart.
“You know the slot of the northeast has been zoned to Bauchi state but all the National Assembly members and other stakeholders have kicked against the person who was nominated. In fact, they said that the slot should go to another state rather than the person who was picked,” he said.
The source said similar crises are happening in states where the geopolitical zones ministerial slot has been allotted.
Another source told Daily Trust that some APC bigwigs vehemently opposed the nominees from certain states, saying such people do not have any electoral value, especially now that President Buhari will be going for a second term.
For example, the source said, in the party stalwarts said the nominees from Kano State are not well-known politicians that could galvanize the people for the president when the need arises.
The source added that some supporters of Sen Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso insist that the state ministerial slot should be ceded to them for fairness.
The source, however, said it was not clear if the slot will be given to Kwankwaso’s camp.
In Katsina State it said that some party stalwarts were not comfortable with the person nominated, insisting that another person should be considered since the person is currently occupying an elective position .
Another source said at least four ministers, one each from northwest, northeast, northcentral and southeast may be dropped for new ones to come in. Some stakeholders blame Buhari for the crisis as he did not stand firm on whom he would want to work with among all the available persons suggested for him.
Yet another source said the crisis may be deeper than what political observers will see as it is a battle for the soul of most APC politicians who feel the president’s planned cabinet expansion is an opportunity for them to have their own interest protected.
Speaking on the matter, a ranking senator said the nomination process has been hijacked by the cabal in the Presidency.
“Let me tell you, it’s the same cabal that delayed the constitution of the cabinet for six months when Buhari came on board that is at work,” he said. But another source blamed Buhari for the delay, saying “don’t blame any cabal, it is the president hi