It’s been revealed that the former governors of Lagos, Rivers and Ekiti states, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi and Engineer Segun Oni respectively; and also a former minister of education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, may be among the ministerial nominees being seriously considered by President Muhammadu Buhari’s government. Also believed to be on the list are a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Abdurahman Danbazzau; Prof. Pat Utomi of the Pan Africa University, Lagos and Chief Economic Adviser to the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, Dr.Tanimu Yakubu Kirfi. One of ex-Ekiti Governor Kayode Fayemi and ex-Osun Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola may also be picked. Th list is expected to be forwarded to the Senate next week.

Presidency sources said last night that while Buhari is keen on having a lean cabinet, the 1999 Constitution is an impediment as it stipulates that every state of the federation must be represented in the Federal Executive Council. Buhari and his think-tank are said to have realised that the size of the incoming cabinet cannot be less than 36. Although the President is keeping the list to his chest, it was learnt that he is disposed to accepting nomination of capable, tested and “ethical” candidates. Ex-Minister Bolaji Abdullahi and former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Kawu Baraje are likely to slug it out for the Kwara State slot.

Buhari is also said to favour consulting Tinubu on some slots, regardless of pressure from some elements in the Presidency. Our source revealed: “The President has been consulting widely on the list of his ministers. All things being equal, some candidates from ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, ex-Chief of Army Staff, Gen. T.Y. Danjuma, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar, and the newly-elected Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki may make the list. Some of these heavyweights have submitted advisory names but it is left for the President to reject or accept them.”

“Governors will have less input into the cabinet. The President is actually fine-tuning the list of ministers which he will soon send to the National Assembly. We are hopeful that in the next one week or two, the legislature may get the list. As I am talking to you, the President is keeping the list to his chest. I am aware that some ex-governors may make the team on merit.” On the provisions of Section 147(1-3),one source said: “It is difficult for the President to manage a cabinet that is less than 36 because of the constitutional provision.”

“The President may however reduce the perks of office of Ministers and make the posts less lucrative except for genuine ones who want to serve the nation. So in the light of 147(1-3), the President is handicapped and he has to run the government with at least 36 ministers unless the constitution is amended.” When contacted, one of the strategists of the new administration said: “The President is still keeping the list of ministers to his chest; he has not disclosed any list.”

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