Appoint Ministers Now, Afenifere, PANDEF, Ohanaeze Tell Buhari

Muhammadu Buhari

Deji Elumoye in Abuja, Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu and Segun James in Lagos

President Muhammadu Buhari came under more pressure at the weekend to form his cabinet.

The apex Igbo and Yoruba socio-cultural organisations, Afenifere and Ohanaeze Ndigbo, as well as the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), told him to forward immediately the list of ministerial nominees to the Senate.The Senate, at the weekend, had urged the president to submit his ministerial list by Friday because the lawmakers would go on recess on July 26 and resume September 26.

The Senate also warned that it would not postpone the recess if the list was not received by that date.

Reacting to the development, the spokesman of Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, told THISDAY yesterday that “it is only the presidency that needs advice at this point and it has to get its acts together and forward the list of nominees.”

Odumakin said it would take a miracle for Buhari to submit the ministerial list by the date given to him.

“It would be a miracle if a list is ready before Friday given the tardiness we are accustomed to under the administration. The two months would still be accommodated within the six months we waited last time though. It’s only The presidency that needs advice at this point and it to get its acts together and forward the list of nominees,” he added.

Also, a former Special Adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Political Affairs, Chief Akin Osuntokun, said: “it is good for the Senate to put President Buhari on the spot like this – at least posterity will absolve the body of complicity in a potential failure of Buhari’s second term

“It is almost looking as if Nigeria is in a trap-in a situation in which things are going wrong and nobody is able to do anything about it other than a president who is unable or unwilling or both to bestir himself. I just hope the newly minted Buhari’s apologists will thereby not accuse the Senate of lack of patriotism and politicisation of the matter.

“Remember this is a National Assembly that was, in the main, practically assembled by the president himself. Recall that the president has had five months (since his election) to put the issue of constituting his cabinet to bed. This is a conspicuous demonstration of the incapacity that is manifesting in every aspect of governance with disastrous consequences for Nigeria.”

On its part, PANDEF described the delay by the president to constitute his cabinet  two months after his inauguration for a second term as  anti-people and unpatriotic.

It also stated that failure by the president to have ministers in place to assist in the performance of his constitutional duties has shown that the federal government is operating at a very low capacity.

PANDEF National Secretary, Dr. Alfred Mulade, told THISDAY that with the unnecessary delay in appointing ministers and constituting  his team, “President Buhari has knowingly or unknowingly denied Nigerians the true dividends of what he was voted for, that is, true dividends of democracy and this is anti-people.”

He said Nigerians deserved value for their votes, and not to be continually baptised with the unpalatable dose of flimsy excuses for the delay.

“President Buhari should do the needful and appoint his ministers and constitute his team, without further delay. He must not pretend not to know that things are not going well in this country at moment, and that the country is at the brink of precipice,” PANDEF said.

On its part, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo said the delay was becoming worrisome, adding that there are competent hands across the 36 states of the country that could be appointed to steer the country out of its present situation.

The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Mr. Chuks Ibegbu, who spoke to THISDAY, asked the president to quickly constitute his cabinet.

He said the inability of the president to constitute his cabinet was taking a negative toll on the country, noting that the president must prove his readiness to continue to lead the country by quickly doing the needful.

Ibegbu also chided the Senate for announcing its readiness to proceed on recess on July 26, not minding the current security challenges facing the country.

“This is the reason why we have always canvassed for part-time legislature. These are people that just received jumbo pay and the first thing that came to their mind is to proceed on recess; not minding the plethora of crisis facing the country.

“Proceeding on recess when the country is on fire is unthinkable. Imagine them giving the president ultimatum as if they are not part of the country. This simply means they don’t have anything to offer the nation. They are busy chasing after rats when the entire house is on fire. It’s unfortunate,” Ibegbu said.

The organisation urged the senators to defer their recess.