Anxiety as Tinubu makes first appointments

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In line with tradition, President-elect Bola Tinubu is expected to make his first appointments after being sworn in as President tomorrow by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola.

There are at least three appointments that ordinarily should be made by the new President to keep the wheel of government moving pending when other appointments that must have the seal of the National Assembly will follow.

The three appointments are the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Chief of Staff and presidential spokesperson.
There has been a jostle for appointments, including ministerial, under the Tinubu administration since the president-elect emerged after the February 25 presidential election.

Names have been mentioned as those being considered by Tinubu including those of very close associates but Sunday Vanguard was made to understand by sources close to the president-elect at the weekend that nothing was certain on appointments under the incoming administration including those that announced must, as a matter of tradition and necessity, be made tomorrow or Tuesday.

The president-elect, it was learnt from multiple sources close to him, yesterday, has kept allies and close associates, among others, guessing over those that will form his cabinet.

Tinubu has refused to disclose the list of potential appointees at any level be it personal aides, Presidential Villa officials and ministers.

This, it was understood, is a source of intense anxiety among those lobbying to be appointed to the next government.

Meanwhile, there were insinuations that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila; Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola; Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State and Mr James Faleke, a federal lawmaker from Lagos, are likely to play some roles in the Tinubu cabinet.

It has been reported that el-Rufai alongside two other outgoing governors – Aminu Masari of Katsina State and Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State – are in the race for the SGF office.

Former Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State is also, according to reports, in the jostle for ministerial appointment. He is said to be highly favoured for the External Affairs portfolio.

Traditionally, top members of the ruling party who lost governorship election in their states are usually compensated with ministerial appointments and this may also play out in the unfolding Tinubu government.

Multiple sources, however, said Gbajabimila was facing huge opposition to the possibility of emerging as Chief of Staff to the President.

There has been no word on who will emerge as a presidential spokesperson but there are high-profile professionals around the president-elect who fit the bill.

Some of them served in the Tinubu Presidential Campaign and they include Mr Bayo Onanuga and Mr Dele Alake.

Tinubu keeping list secret – Source

A source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, disclosed that all the names being peddled for appointments in the Tinubu administration remained in the realm of speculation.

The source said: “President Tinubu is likely to make his first appointments on Monday or Tuesday because he wants to hit the ground running.

“But all the conjectures about who is in and who is out in the cabinet and other appointments are in the realm of speculations.

”Everyone has continued to speculate but from what I know, the list is with the president-elect. “He is keeping it close to his chest. All those who go to him, he promises them but he won’t say anything.

“You know that Tinubu is also a politician but no one knows those on the list. Even the speculation about Femi Gbajabiamila being considered as Chief of Staff is dicey and not something anyone can confirm and, as you know, Gbajabiamila is going with him all over the place. I’m not sure if Gbajabiamila will get the Chief of Staff slot.

“We have also heard the names of Mr Babatunde Fashola who is speculated as being considered as the Attorney-General of the Federation as well as Mr James Faleke and Mallam Nasir El-Rufai who may be among those to be appointed”.

Ondo

Reports from Ondo said four persons are in strong contention for the ministerial slot for the state.

They are Chief Olusola Oke, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa, Hon Tajudeen Adeyemi Adetisoye and Prince Ademola Adegoroye.

Whereas Oke is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Aiyedatiwa a former Deputy Governor and Adegoroye a member of the outgoing federal cabinet, Adefisoye, fondly called Small Alhaji, is the outgoing member of the House of Representatives (Idanre/Ifedore Federal Constituency).

Adefisoye, the Deputy Chairman of the House on Army, is said to be a grassroots mobilizer and he enjoys large support of youths in his federal constituency and state at large. The Idanre-born politician is still very young and he may just fit into Tinubu’s plan to accommodate youths in his administration. The young man had surprisingly at the age of 34 contested and won a House of Representatives seat in 2019.

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