Anxiety Over Cabinet Delay In APC –Controlled States | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Anxiety Over Cabinet Delay In APC –Controlled States

Posted: Sep 15, 2015 at 12:04 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Our Correspondents

Several reasons have emerged as to why most governors in states currently led by the All Progressives Congress (APC) are yet to name their cabinets about four months after their inauguration.
Although the party, in most of the affected states, has given reasons for failing to do so, feelers have revealed that it may not be unconnected with the uncertain atmosphere in Abuja over who becomes what in President Muhammadu Buhari’s final cabinet.
Daily Independent has gathered that most of the governors that were yet to constitute their cabinets may have thrown the names of their best choices to the President for ministerial and other appointment considerations, which also include ambassadorial positions.  But because they are uncertain about the fate of such candidates, they have decided to stay action on constituting their cabinets.

This, Daily Independent learnt, is intended to provide a buffer for those who fail to eventually  pick a slot in Buhari’s team. This situation has, however, resulted in serious lobbying fueled by speculations across the states.
Lagos State APC Chairman, Henry Ajomale, who confirmed this in an interview with Daily Independent, said: “I was in this office when some people came to thank me for facilitating their appointment. But, I told them that I am not aware of such thing.”
Ajomale said that there is no way Governor Akinwunmi Ambode would constitute its cabinet without sending the list of nominees to the state House of Assembly for confirmation.
He, however, said there is no cause for anxiety, as the machinery for setting up the state government has been working well without commissioners.
Explaining further why Ambode was yet to constitute a full cabinet, he said it was to enable the restructuring of the government machinery ahead of further appointments.
Ajomale, who spoke to Daily Independent in Lagos said: “If you observe carefully, you will notice that a lot of restructuring is going on. The governor cannot appoint commissioners without completing the exercise.”
The Lagos APC Chairman urged Lagosians to be patient with the governor on this count, while also disclosing that office accommodations for those to be appointed commissioners were being worked on.
The party leader, however, expressed regrets that some names had been circulating on social media as Ambode’s commissioners-nominees when the governor was yet to decide on that.
Meanwhile, reliable source in Ambode’s campaign outfit told Daily Independent on condition of anonymity that although the governor’s list of commissioners had long been ready, he was waiting for President Muhammadu Buhari to name his ministers before forwarding the names to the state Assembly.
The source attributed Ambode’s action to his respect for Buhari, although it might be seen in some quarters as a tactical delay that had affected the smooth take-off of governance in the state.

The source, a top APC member and a close associate of Ambode, confirmed to our correspondent that the delay in naming commissioners and Special Advisers had made those expecting positions in the government jittery and anxious.
This is as further information has emerged that Ambode might be currently under pressure to tinker with the original list of proposed commissioners and advisers.
However, the source stressed that some of them who had worked seriously for Ambode were afraid as the governor might be prevailed upon to drop them for other more favoured candidates.
Also, in Osun State, almost a year after Governor Rauf Aregbesola renewed his mandate, the state cabinet is yet to be constituted.
Investigation revealed that shortage of fund was the major reason for the delay in the constitution of the cabinet.
Aregbesola who was re-elected on August 9, 2014, has appointed only three aides. Those who got their appointments renewed are Moshood Adeoti, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG); Gboyega Oyetola, the Chief of Staff and Semiu Okanlawon, the Director of Media and Strategy.
At present, the state had been facing financial difficulties due to dwindling revenue allocation from the Federation Account.
Another factor that might have delayed the appointment of the Osun cabinet was the unconfirmed report that Aregbesola was tacitly waiting for President Buhari to constitute the federal cabinet and boards.
It was learnt that some of his commissioners-nominees might have been pencilled down for federal appointments since APC.
However the opposition parties and civil groups had been criticising Aregbesola over the delay, describing it as illegal, adding that it is slowing down the pace of development in the state.
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the groups linked the delay to financial recklessness, claiming that the administration of Aregbesola has not gotten its priority right.
In a swift reaction, the Director of Media to Aregbesola, Semiu Okanlawon, confirmed the delay, but linked it to the current financial situation in the state.

In Plateau State, Governor Simon Lalong attributed his delay in constituting the cabinet to his desire to first receive the report of Transition Committee which were saddled with the responsibility of recommending the structure of government.
Lalong’s Director of Media and Publicity, Emmanuel Nanle, told Daily Independent that  the  government  wanted to know  how many ministries  were to be recommended  and those to be merged so that numbers of  commissioners should not be more  than the ministries.
According to him, Lalong wanted the selection of the commissioners to be peoples-driven, adding  that the  governor wanted the rule of law to be followed as some communities  have zoning formula for political positions.
Nanle added that the governor also needed time to study  the report of the transition committee  headed by his Deputy Professor Sunnie Tyoden  and  also study  the sources of finance available  to the state.
But, the PDP Secretary in the state, Michael Dachom, told Daily Independent that  the APC government should by now have in place full cabinet to help in the business of the administration in the state.

In Imo State, apart from the recently concluded legal battle between Governor Rochas Okorocha of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and Emeka Ihedioha, the PDP governorship candidate in respect of the results of the last governorship election, what has continued to agitate the minds of the Imo electorate is why Okorocha has not reconstituted his cabinet since after his inauguration.
The few appointments Okorocha made were the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), the Chief of Staff, Government House, his Chief Press Secretary, Special Advisers on Security for the three Senatorial Zones of Owerri, Orlu and Okigwe, Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board and members of the State Local Government Council Management Committees.
However, some people feel that a new cabinet is yet to come on board as a result of the governor’s austere and stringent economic measures to conserve funds for capital projects. But, people in the opposition parties feel otherwise.
Onyekwere Obijuru of the Accord Party (AP) from the Oru West council area in a telephone chat with the Daily Independent said that Okorocha wants to run a government of “one man show and believes that the state is his private Estate”.
Also a PDP chieftain, in the Ikeduru Council Area, Ephraim Onyegbula, believed that the non constitution of a new cabinet by Okorocha smacks off arrogance.
However, a chieftain of the APC and a former commissioner from the Imo East Senatorial zone (Owerri) anonymously confided in the Daily Independent reasons while the governor has not come up with a new team since his inauguration on May 29, 2015.
Insisting that the governor was not alone in the non constitution of a new cabinet, adding that the delay in the composition of a new team was quite understandable as the governor being a wise man, was taking his time to get things right.
It was however gathered that Okorocha had submitted the names of some APC chieftains to the President for possible consideration for one appointment or the other.
The source maintained that the governor might not constitute his cabinet until he is sure of those who would make the president’s list,
Another state that has been operating without commissioners is Niger. It would be recalled that criticisms greeted  the few key appointments made by Governor Abubarkar Sani Bello, with many accusing him of being religious and ethnic biased.
Though governors’ spokesperson said the government is taking its time to ensure that it made no mistakes, many Nigerlites had been feeling uncomfortable that the government has been silent on the issue.
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Ibraheem Dooba, in an interview told Daily Independent that the State Executive Council (SEC) would soon be put in place, but he added that the government would for now utilise the scarce resources to provide social amenities.
According to him, “Government is working with or without constituting cabinet; we have a number of road projects and water extension programme going on Minna municipal and some other parts of the state and again, civil servants in the various ministries and agencies are busy going about their duties.”