How Obasanjo scuttled Tinubu’s ambition of producing Buhari’s Finance Minister


It is no longer news that President Muhammadu Buhari is set to constitute his cabinet.

What Nigerians are keen on, however, is knowing those who would make the final list Buhari will send to the National Assembly for confirmation.

Already, a number of individuals – professionals, technocrats and politicians – have been screened by the Department of State Services (DSS).

The process recently concluded has confirmed the president’s intent to meet the end of September deadline he set for himself regarding the much-anticipated ministerial list.

But indications have emerged on how former President, Olusegun Obasanjo and ex-Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, have been slugging it out in recent weeks to have their candidates make the final list as well as get certain ministerial positions.

Obasanjo, it was leant, was given two ministerial slots of Ogun and Osun, while Tinubu and South-West leaders would fill the four other slots remaining in the region.

According to New Telegraph, a former Lagos State Commissioner for Finance and a nominee of Tinubu into the cabinet, Wale Edun, “has become the first casualty of the ego war.”

Tinubu had recommended Edun to Buhari as Minister of Finance and has been screened by the Department of State Services (DSS).

He may now be replaced by Chairman, Citibank Nigeria Limited and one-time Lagos State Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Yemi Cardoso, as a Lagos representative in the cabinet.

DAILY POST gathered that drama over Edun started when a group of influential Lagos indigenes, including traditional rulers and some of his colleagues that served in the Tinubu administration, kicked against his choice as a Lagos State ministerial nominee.

According to them, Edun is not a Lagosian only that he has lived all his adult life in the state.

But Tinubu insisted on Edun’s candidature and requested that Edun be named as Ogun State nominee, a move Obasanjo and Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun resisted because they already have a candidate.

Obasanjo then sent word to Tinubu to stop pushing Edun as Ogun State nominee, because he was someone whose work and career were rooted in Lagos State.

The Ota farmer also cited the example of Prof. Yemi Osinbajo whom he considered to be more of a Lagosian than an Ogun indigene, but was nominated by Tinubu as Vice President.

Obasanjo and Amosun have agreed to give the state’s slot in the cabinet to a former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Auditor, Chief Bode Mustapha.

Other Obasanjo’s nominees are former Osun State Governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola (Osun); former Governor of Ekiti State and Deputy National Chairman (South) of the APC, Segun Oni (Ekiti); former Minister of Education, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili and former Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof. Chukwuma Soludo.

Obasanjo in his first visit to Buhari in Abuja submitted the names and got favourable assurances.

In his second visit, Obasanjo reminded the president of his candidates and the promise Buhari made to him.

“The president assured Baba that not all will be ministers,” a source had told DAILY POST after that meeting.

“But that those who do not make the ministerial list would get other appointments. Ambassadorial slots part of the altnernative.”

It would be recalled that less than 48 hours after the two retired generals met, Tinubu and former Interim National Chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande, visited Buhari to inform him that South-West APC leaders would not accept a situation where Obasanjo would determine those who become ministers.

New Telegraph further quoted a source that Tinubu and Akande did not oppose the choice of Oyinlola as a minister representing Osun State in respect of an earlier agreement.

“It was a moral issue. Obasanjo is not a member of the APC and cannot appropriate the positions of the zone to himself. The South-West leaders have been meeting for two months on the ministerial nominee, only for Obasanjo to sit in Ota and draw up a ministerial list. That is why the leaders kicked against the idea.

“That will be killing the party in the South-West. He can’t be an alternate APC. Obasanjo should be respected as a leader, but he can’t hijack what belongs to the region. “On Obasanjo’s ministerial list, former Governor Oyinlola featured just as his name featured from the list submitted from the state.

“There was no resistance to Oyinlola’s nominee because that was part of the agreement before his defection from the PDP to the APC. The party has fulfilled one leg of the agreement by ceding the senatorial slot to Senator Isiaka Adeleke who also defected from PDP to the APC.”

Meanwhile, Buhari would submit the ministerial list to the National Assembly next week either before or during his trip to New York on Tuesday for the United Nations conference.

The newspaper also reported that Buhari may have settled for Director-General of the APC Presidential Campaign Council and former Rivers Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, as the nominee from the state.

He and former Governor of old Abia State, Dr. Ogbannaya Onu, lost out in the race for Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).

Onu is now expected to be filled in as the candidate for Ebonyi ministerial slot.

Respected economist, Prof. Pat Utomi, is the likely nominee of Delta State. He is being backed by professionals in APC led by Osinbajo.

Former Governor of Kano State, Dr. Rabiu Kwankwaso, may be forwarded as Kano candidate despite being a serving senator.

A former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Abdurahman Dambazzau, is also expected to make the list. It is not know if Buhari will make him Minister of Defence.

For Edo State, former Executive Chairman, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mrs. Ifueko Omogui-Okauru or a former Special Adviser to Obasanjo on Programme and Policy Monitoring, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, may get the state’s slot.

In Kwara, a former Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi, may fill the state’s slot, except Buhari requests another name. Reason: Abdullahi is a close ally of Senate President Bukola Saraki, whom the president seems uncomfortable with.

Abdullahi was the Deputy Director, Directorate of Policy and Strategy of the APC Presidential Campaign Organisation. Should he fail to make the list, enter National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

Ekiti slot still looks dire for former Governors Niyi Adebayo, Segun Oni and Kayode Fayemi after Buhari personally expressed interest in human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN).

In fact, Osinbajo and Tinubu, are pushing for his candidacy as the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice while ambassadorial slot for Ekiti is reserved for Fayemi.

In Adamawa, Boss Gida Mustapha, a lawyer and member of the Ahmed Joda-led transition committee set up by the president, may become minister. Mustapha lost the APC governorship ticket to incumbent Governor, Senator Bindow Jibrilla.

In Kebbi, Alhaji Abubakar Malami (SAN), is highly favoured.

He is also a member of the transition committee and has been a long time associate of Buhari since his days in Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) where he was National Legal Adviser.

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