By Segun James
Presidential spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari may dissolve his cabinet before May 29 to pave the way for the reconstitution of a new one.
Adesina, who said this Thursday while fielding questions on ARISE News, a sister broadcast station of THISDAY Newspapers, stressed that the mandate of the present government lapses after four years, adding that it is incumbent on the president to dissolve the cabinet in order to reconstitute a new one.
“One thing about governance is that the first mandate was for four years and it lapses on May 29th, and shortly before May 29th, the president is likely going to officially dissolve government, that is the way it is usually done.
“He says thank you to everybody he has called to work with him and then, he dissolves that government officially. Then when he is inaugurated for a second term, he now reconstitutes government. He appoints his personal aides, he forms the cabinet, he appoints people to fill other positions.
“When he spoke to THISDAY a couple of weeks back, when he was asked if it will take another six months to set up his cabinet, he said no that it wouldn’t take long,” he said.
On the criticisms that followed the appointment of military service chiefs over its lopsided nature, Adesina made it clear that not every appointment must follow the federal character as enshrined in the constitution.
He said: “It is not every position that is subject to federal character. Federal character affects the cabinet. That is why it states that each state must have a minister. But there are some other positions that are strictly at the prerogative of whoever is the president, and that includes the service chiefs. That is one area that you don’t sacrifice competence on the alter of, maybe, balance.”
He insisted that security is not subjected to federal character and should not be treated as political appointment.
He said that the president mentioned at almost all his campaign stops that he would be focused on securing the country, reviving the economy and fighting corruption.
“It will not be limited to those three, but those three will continue to be fundamental to the government. So if you want to objectively compare now to 2015 May when this government came, the security, you will know that there is a big and wide difference. Yes there are still challenges, but then, those challenges are being tackled,” Adelina said.
He insisted that the government is not in denial about the security challenges in some parts of the country.
On corruption charges against some All Progressives Congress (APC) members, some of whom were elected into various positions on the party’s ticket, Adesina stressed that facing corruption charges is not the same as being corrupt.
He said that such persons must have been adjudged as corrupt before the tag of being corrupt can be stamped on them.
He said that being prosecuted is not the same thing as being corrupt, adding that some people who had been accused in the past have ended up being acquitted and discharged.
According to him, “Acquitted means they can’t be tried again. Those allegations cannot be brought up again. There will be no substance to them. So the fact that you are being tried does not mean you are already corrupt. The law does not work that way. The law states that when you are pronounced guilty, and you have gone through all relevant courts and at the end of the day the courts have said guilty, that is when you are a guilty man.
“Everything about the election is not all negative. It is Nigerians that are celebrating not just members of the APC.”
On the over five million Nigerians that were disenfranchised, Adesina said that that is not a question for him to answer, but for INEC, but regretted the number of deaths recorded during the polls, adding that even the president commiserated with the family of the deceased.
Adesina, who said that election is not war, added that he hoped that going forward, elections in the country should not be a do-or-die affair.
Speaking on what the president meant when he talked about inclusiveness in government, he said the ‘Next Level’ manifesto of the government emphasised inclusiveness opportunities for more women and youth in government.
“It is clearly explained in that document,” he insisted, adding that those are two of the key things that the president is keen to implement.