Abba Kyari’s return alters lobbying for Buhari’s cabinet



The reappointment of Mallam Abba Kyari by President Muhammadu Buhari as his Chief of Staff appears to have upturned calculations by some political forces to influence the constitution of the next federal cabinet.


Kyari was a key factor in the composition of the last cabinet.


Well-placed sources in Abuja are convinced that his retention is likely to boost the chances of some ex-ministers in returning to the cabinet, and at the same time foreclose the reappointment of some other former ministers.


The Nation gathered that some people who have been nursing ministerial hopes now stand a little or no chance of making it into the next cabinet on account of Kyari’s return as Chief of Staff.

Sources cited recent moves by a new generation of power brokers to unseat Kyari.

The group is believed to have sponsored protests in Abuja and Kaduna during which the President was asked not to reappoint Kyari.

The protests are said to have angered the President who decided at once to retain his Chief of Staff.

A few days after the protests, he announced Kyari’s reappointment and that of the Secretary to the Government the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha.

It was gathered that the brains behind the futile moves and the powerful leaders behind him (otherwise known as the Cabal) have lost out in a power play at the Presidential Villa.

Some anti-Kyari members of the president’s kitchen cabinet are also being forced to eat the humble pie.

Sources said Buhari reappointed   Kyari on the strength of his hard work, ability to function under pressure and security reports which pronounced him ‘untainted’.

The President is also said to be sampling opinions on some of those he has penciled down for his Next Level cabinet.

Sources spoke yesterday of pressure on the President to return 60-70 per cent of members of his cabinet with re-invigoration.

The Nation gathered that the emerging power brokers had wanted the immediate past  Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu as the new  Chief of Staff only for Buhari to shock them by returning Kyari.

It was learnt that the intrigues over the reappointment of Kyari on July 5, and the ministerial list are largely responsible for the delay in submitting the names to the Senate.

A top source said: “The return of Kyari has altered calculations over the composition of the new Federal Executive Council (FEC). It means the new generation of power brokers trying to unseat the old brigades has failed.

“The old order may likely prevail which will boost the chances of some ex-ministers and ministerial aspirants. Some who ignored Kyari in their jostle for ministerial tickets may lose out.

“Apart from being diligent, Kyari was central to “talks and negotiations with some stakeholders prior to the 2019 poll. He knows better on how to help the President to manage the ministerial politics.

“He also has a high wire network which can help him verify the pedigree of any nominee. So, Kyari is likely to play a strategic role in putting the cabinet together.”

Another source said: “Definitely, intrigues by  power brokers and stakeholders in the All Progressives Congress (APC), especially by governors and ex-governors, are delaying the ministerial list.

“The fact that the President admitted that he is under pressure underscores the intensity of the intrigues. The President is human and a politician, he cannot operate in isolation.

“We have some lobbyists who are proposing that 60 to 70 per cent of the cabinet members should be returned. This is one of the options before Buhari.

“These lobbyists are saying that with enhanced mandate for the ministers and re-invigoration of their focus, they can still deliver on the Next Level mandate.

“The crux of the matter is getting quality candidates to manage sensitive cabinet positions like the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Finance, Petroleum Resources, Power, Works and Housing, Transportation, Education, Aviation,  Budget and National Planning, Defence, Interior and Communications.”

As at press time, it was gathered that the President was concluding the sampling of opinions on some nominees he has penciled down for his Next Level cabinet.

A government source said: “I am aware that the President is concluding the sampling of opinions on some nominees he is eyeing in his cabinet. He has met with some leaders in and out of APC for their views.

“He has also had audience with some nominees, who he feels should work with him. The audience was strictly private.”

A presidency source, who was contacted last night, said: “The truth is that only very few know about the ministerial list and issues around it.”

Section 147(1-3) directs the President to appoint at least 36 ministers unless the constitution is amended.

The section reads:   “There shall be such offices of Ministers of the Government of the Federation as may be established by the President.

“Any appointment to the office of Minister of the Government of the Federation shall, if the nomination of any person to such office is confirmed by the Senate, be made by the President.

“Any appointment under subsection (2) of this section by the President shall be in conformity with the provisions of section 14(3) of this Constitution:

“Provided that in giving effect to the Provisions aforesaid the President shall appoint at least one Minister from each state, who shall be an indigene of such state.”

Meanwhile, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Mr. Femi Adesina has said that the President has a clear direction of where he is headed in his second term.

Adesina, who spoke with THE CREST online newspaper, also said contrary to insinuations, appointments made by the President were not lopsided.

He added: “No, the direction is clear. If some appointments have not been made, it does not indicate that you don’t know the direction. The direction in which this government is going is very clear. Direction is determined by policy. It is determined by pronouncements.

“It is determined by things you had done in the first term, which you are consolidating in the second term. It is not the appointment that has not been made that will determine the direction.

“One thing is to appoint the brightest and the best; another is to take care of the agitations against some members of the President’s first term team. Throughout that term, people were always complaining about lop-sidedness in appointments, about ethnicity, nepotism and stuffs like that…

“If you look at the entire gamut of appointments, it is not true that there was lopsidedness. It is not true. If you look at the totality of the appointments, you will see that there was a balance in the country.

“People just decided to believe there was lopsidedness because the security apparatus was like tilted more towards a particular section of the country; and security is not something you play politics with. Security is just where you use the brightest and the best.

“The president has explained many times that he made the security appointments based on the career records of the people. They were the best in the different services at that time; and he appointed them.”

*Culled from The Nation



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