APC Govs Back Off, Say Ministerial Appointments, Buhari’s Prerogative

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Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

Governors on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday in Abuja described the process of constituting a new cabinet by President Muhammadu Buhari as the president’s exclusive preserve.

The governors made the disclosure while answering questions from journalists after meeting with the president behind closed-doors in the State House over the outcome of last week’s National Assembly leadership elections.

The meeting started at 11.37 a.m. and lasted for only about 27 minutes.
The governors are perceived to be putting pressure on the president to allow them make input into the selection of his cabinet.

But speaking after the meeting, the forum chairman and Kebbi State Governor, Senator Atiku Bagudu, said the governors visited the president to congratulate him on the victory of the party’s candidates at last week’s National Assembly leadership elections.

Asked whether issues bordering on appointments of ministers were discussed in the meeting, Bagudu said it was not mentioned because it is the president’s exclusive initiative.
“No. It’s an executive decision,” Bagudu said.

He also said they used the forum to thank him for the N2 trillion he had so far given to states as bailout funds for payment of salaries and pensions, as well as the refunds on federal roads reconstructed by states.
Bagudu also said the forum expressed appreciation to Buhari for increased investment in agriculture and his efforts to address insecurity in the country as well as his recent recognition of June 12 as Democracy Day.

Bagudu said: “This morning Mr. President graciously granted audience to Progressive Governors Forum. We came to congratulate him on the National Assembly elections and thank him for the confidence he had in the Progressive Governors Forum members who participated actively in all the processes that led to the emergence of Senator Ahmad Lawan, as Senate president; Senator Ovie Omo-Agege as deputy Senate president; Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, as speaker, and Hon. Ahmed Wase as deputy speaker.

“Furthermore, we used the opportunity to thank Mr. President in all he has been doing and all the successes recorded in the areas, which he campaigned upon and by extension our party which are: security, economy and accountability.

“We are quite happy with his support for states where close to N2 trillion was given to states in form of restructuring of loans, refunds on federal roads, refund for Paris Club, which has helped to encourage economic activities in the states, payment of salaries, payment of pensions, payment of gratuities and overall investment in infrastructure.

“We are also appreciative of increased investment in agriculture, which has been a result of conscious decision to support agriculture as a way out of our economic challenges and provide economic growth.
“We also congratulate Mr. President that despite dropped incomes, the value for money that he insists upon has begun to pay off in terms of more security across the country even though some challenges still remain, he is working hard on that with sincerity.

“Last and not the least, we offered to work with Mr. President continuously to ensure that we increase economic performance, security of our country and social cohesion. We thank Mr. President for celebrating the Democracy Day consistent with the promise he has made which is a major element reflective of his democratic ideals in ensuring that an issue which is so important to many Nigerians has been finally addressed in a way that we are all happy.”

Present at the meeting were the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), Dr. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State; Alhaji Yahaya Bello of Kogi State; Mr. Godwin Obaseki of Edo State; Chief Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State; Prof. Babagana Zulum of Borno State; Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State; Alhaji Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State; Bagudu of Kebbi State; Mr. Simon Lalong of Plateau State; Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State; Alhaji Mai-Mala Buni of Yobe State; Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara State and Alhaji Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State.

Also present were Alhaji Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa State; Alhaji Abubakar Bello of Niger State; Deputy Governor of Katsina State, Mr. Mannir Yakubu; and the Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Mrs. Hadiza Balarabe.
The meeting was also attended by the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha and the Chief of Staff, Mr. Abba Kyari.