BUHARI ON NEW CABINET : I’LL NEVER APPOINT ‘ STRANGERS’ AGAIN
– Martins Onyishi, ABH Press
President Muhammadu Buhari admitted on Thursday night that he had been under unprecedented pressure to release the names of his ministerial – nominees .
The President , who made a brief remark during a dinner he had with the leadership of the National Assembly, however , maintained that he would not be stampeded into releasing the list.
He stated that when he first came into office in 2015 , the majority of ministerial appointees were not known to him personally. He however, said he would appoint persons he knows personally this time around.
In a maiden meeting with the leadership of the National Assembly at the new Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Thursday night, President Buhari explained the circumstances under which some persons he didn’t know found their way into his last cabinet and spoke of his resolve not to toe that path this time around. He expressed his determination that despite the pressure, only those with track records, honesty and credibility would be appointed. His words:“Many at this dinner meeting are saying they want to see the list of the proposed cabinet so that they can go on leave peacefully. I’m very much aware about it; I’m under tremendous pressure on it. But the last cabinet which I headed, most of them, majority of them, I didn’t know them. I had to accept the names and recommendations from the party and other individuals. “I worked with them for three and half years at least—meeting twice or two weeks in a month. So I didn’t know them. But this time around I’m going to be quite me – me in the sense that I will pick people I personally know,” he said. A source at the dinner told journalists anonymously that “Mr. President said we should give him more time for him to compile the list of ministerial nominees.” The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, who spoke to State House correspondents after the meeting, refuted media report quoting him as saying that President Buhari would submit the ministerial list to the Senate this week. He said: “Let me take the opportunity to correct that. A senator raised a point of order under personal explanation. He said we should be sent the list of the ministers by the executive arm of government and in my response, I said the executive is working so hard to ensure that the list of Nigerians that will help this administration work is going to be transmitted and we could even receive it this week. ‘We could’ is conditional and I will urge everybody here to report it as it is,” he said
Among the principal officers who attended the dinner were Majority Leader, Senator Abdullahi Yahaya ; Deputy Majority Leader , Senator Ajayi Borofice ; Chief Whip , Senator Orji Uzor Kalu; and the Deputy Chief Whip , Senator Sabi Abdullahi .
Others also included Emmanuel Bwacha , Minority Whip ; Alhassan Ado -Doguwa , House Leader; Ndudi Godwin – Elumelu, House Minority Leader; and Toby Okechukwu , the Deputy House Minority Leader .