As Nigerians await the list of ministers to form the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari, signals from the presidential villa indicate that the President had all along depended on some rising power blocs around him to draw the final list.
The main power blocs around the President, as findings revealed, are constituted by the Emir of Borgu, Alhaji Haliru Dantoro, Mallam Mamman Daura, General TY Danjuma and Chief Ahmed Bola Tinubu.
The influences commanded in the Villa by the listed powerful men are anchored on the long years of close relationship they have been having with the President, thus wielding some measures of influence on the President’s decisions on cabinet formation and other issues.
According to reports, President Buhari had consulted with them on several occasions while reviewing the list of shortlisted ministers to ensure that those selected are the square pegs in square holes.
The influential men are said to have suggested most of the ministerial nominees to Buhari having met him at different times to screen those so far shortlisted and after which the President forwarded the lists to appropriate quarters for security screening.
The Emir of Borgu is said to be closely linked with Buhari from his days in the military. The two had their relationship cemented as the Emir stood by the former Head of State while he was in detention, handling domestic matters like a true brother.
The Emir, according to reports, won Buhari’s heart since then while the two have since been strengthening their relationship.
Today, Alhaji Dantoro is one of the strongest power brokers in the seat of government, and has been part of the team said to be rallying round the President in picking competent ministers to serve in the Buhari cabinet.
He is said to have suggested names to the President drawing his list from among those the President can trust, according to reports.
In the same vein, Mallam Mamman Daura is said to wield a strong influence in the Presidential Villa, amid reports that he had been part of almost every decision the President had been taking since he was sworn in.
An uncle to President Buhari, Daura, according to report, relocated to the Presidential Villa with the aim of offering underground assistance to the President on political matters and has, by that wielded enormous influence which makes him a man to consult often by anyone seeking the face of the President.
Daura, it was learnt, made strong inputs in the major appointments the President made some few weeks ago and which have continued to generate controversy from across the country.
The former editor of New Nigerian newspaper and former chairman African International Bank is said to have deployed his strong influence to approve and disapprove names of those Buhari should announce as his ministers to the chagrin of other interested parties.
An insider in the Presidential Villa power game said, “Daura’s presence in the Villa is a matter of concern to power players who are consistently being fenced off from the centre of activities in Nigeria’s seat of government at the moment. His influence is so enormous that he turned down some of those already shortlisted for ministerial jobs based on old enmity”.
The relationship between President Buhari and General Danjuma which dates back to their days in the military, findings have revealed is basically altruistic since the two have been working closely on how to assemble a crisp cabinet meant to promote Buhari’s government as result-oriented and progressive.
Danjuma is also said to have offered suggestions to the President on the names to include in his cabinet, emphasising on credible record of performances of those to be shortlisted.
A government official privy to the scheme of things in the Presidential vVilla hinted that Buhari is more receptive to suggestions from the former Minister of Defence because of his belief that Danjuma is oftentimes dispassionate in many of his suggestions.
Danjuma, who headed Advisory Council of Elder Statesmen during the regime of former President Goodluck Jonathan, fell apart with the former president on the basis that he was less receptive to better suggestions the committee made for propelling his government.
The former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Tinubu, is another power broker around the President who made strong input in the list of ministerial nominees to be submitted by the President to the National Assembly on Wednesday.
Buhari had conceded to Tinubu by appointing some of his trusted aides into government apart from Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.
Both Tinubu and former Interim Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Bisi Akande, were reported to have taken the task of nominating party members from the South-West zone for Buhari’s consideration as ministers.
Tinubu, reports said, had ensured the screening of those shortlisted from the South-West zone in line with Buhari’s preferences in which case nominees from the zones are drawn from APC, private sector and the academia.
Although attempts had been made on several opccasions to sever the tie between President Buhari and Tinubu, the two leaders have continued to manage their relationship to the best of their abilities, latching unto maturity and deeper understanding of the politics in APC more than anything else.
Indications are rife, however, that President Buhari will forward the list of shortlisted ministers to the Senate for screening mid week as the Senate is scheduled to resume from its six weeks break which ends next Tuesday.
President Buhari has vowed that he would announce his cabinet before the end of September this year.
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