Facts have emerged on the power play behind allocation of portfolios to Ministers before their inauguration by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday at the FEC chambers in Aso Rock.
It was reliably gathered that before the allocation of portfolios, Mr. President was faced with two options of continuous reliance on politicians and building his own political base across the country.
A close associate of the President, revealed that Buhari opted for the latter and decided to saddle his allies in the All Progressives Congress, APC, with “more tasking ministries.”
The President took this decision in a bid to build his own political network and strengthen his base.
Apart from favouring his allies, PUNCH learnt that the President had more or less adopted former governors Babatunde Fashola and Dr. Kayode Fayemi as his godsons.
It will be recalled that Buhari, who was not regarded as an experienced politician, relied on the support of APC chieftains, including Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; to emerge as the APC presidential candidate at the party;s December 10 primary.
At the primary, Buhari got 3,430 votes; ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar, 954 votes; former Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, 974 votes; Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, 674 and the Publisher of Leadership newspaper, Sam Nda-Isaiah, 10 votes.
As part of the power play, there was subtle lobby by party leaders before the allocation of the portfolios.
It was gathered that some leaders of the party had expected that experienced politicians, who played key roles in Buhari’s emergence at the APC presidential primary, would get more tasking ministries than those given to them.
Chris Ngige, a strong supporter of the President was assigned the portfolio of Labour and Employment.
Also Ogbonnaya Onu, a former Chairman of ANPP is heading the Ministry of Science and Technology, while an ex-Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazzau, who headed the convention’s security committee is the Minister of Interior.
The Presidency source said that although it was too early to talk about the President’s ambition in 2019, it was normal for Buhari to use his power in strengthening his network across the country.
This, the source explained, partly informed allocation of sensitive portfolios to those who were with Buhari in the ANPP and went with him to form the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC.
Fashola is the Minister of Power, Works and Housing while Fayemi is in charge of Solid Minerals.
The APC chieftain noted that the duo were more or less becoming Buhari’s godsons in spite of campaign against their appointments, especially Fashola’s, in their zone – South-West.
The Rotimi Amaechi factor is also a very strong one. Mr President appreciates his doggedness and all his sacrifices before and during the election. He believes Amaechi will be a key asset for him in the South South and partly in the South East, since he is from the Igbo speaking area of Rivers State.
Amaechi’s portfolio is one of the biggest and this is because President Buhari sees him as a man who is very ready to work for the greater good, if giving the right atmosphere.
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