Jonathan Under Pressure
Lobbyists besiege President Goodluck Jonathan for ministerial positions
The idea was to give President Goodluck Jonathan who had just emerged from a hectic campaign for election to rest and attend to some urgent issues which had suffered for too long. But the retreat to Obudu Cattle Ranch did not achieve that for President Goodluck Jonathan. Chieftains of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, and other political bigwigs swarmed on the Ranch to get the president’s attention.
A source told Newswatch that Jonathan wanted a serene environment to enable him fashion out a road map for the incoming administration, but top party stalwarts and businessmen still trooped to Obudu to lobby for positions in the new cabinet. Newswatch learnt that the president hardly slept for six hours in a day during his stay at Obudu, the rocky countryside of Cross River State. Apart from serving ministers who feared they might lose out in the new dispensation, party godfathers also besiege the president with names of their preferred candidates for ministerial and special advisers’ jobs.
Many ministers are to be dropped in the new dispensation. But those who performed well in their current portfolio need not fear, according to a source. They will be re-appointed in the new cabinet to be constituted after inauguration. Such ministers include, Olusegun Aganga, minister of finance, Dieziani Allison-Maduekwe, minister of petroleum resources, and Godsday Orubebe, minister of Niger Delta Affairs. Others are Odein Ajumuogobia, minister of Foreign Affairs, Nuhu Wya, minister of state for Power, Emeka Wogu, minister of Labour and Interior and Bala Mohammed, minister of Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
Those that may also make the cabinet list include Caleb Olubolade, minister of state, FCT; Josephine Anenih, minister of Women Affairs; Sanusi Daggash, minister of Works; Humprey Abah, minister of Police Affairs and John Odey, minister of Environment.
Since joining the government, about a year ago, Aganga has initiated far-reaching economic policies that have affected key sectors of the economy positively, especially the small and medium enterprises, SMES. He also introduced fiscal discipline into the government with his auditing of 12 key parastatals and agencies of government which has so far saved the federal government over 12 billion Naira.
On the other hand, Ajumogobia who was previously the minister of state for petroleum resources before he was moved to the ministry of foreign affairs, was said to have performed creditably. He was able to fine- tune Nigeria’s diplomatic image in the sub-region. Ajumuogobia has remained one of the very few ministers loyal and supportive of Jonathan, even when he was the vice-president.
Also last week, PDP leaders met with the President at Obudu to discuss the critical issue of zoning of key positions in the party and the National Assembly leadership.
In a bid to give women a proper position in the new administration, Jonathan has promised that women will get 35 percent representation in his incoming administration. The president who gave the assurance in Abuja at the 2011 Partnership-Funded Mentorship Summit for African Women, observed that in the country at present, there are many competent and credible women who have built capacities in thousands of lives and contributed immensely to building of the civil, public and private service sectors.
“Women have championed debt relief, grown the stock exchange, waged war against fake drugs, ensured justice and human rights and so on. These facts made me promise during my campaigns that the 35 percent representation of women in governance will be fulfilled,” he said.
In various states of the federation, governors-elect are also setting the tone for the administrations. Babatunde Fashola, governor of Lagos State, has promised to accelerate the development of infrastructure and the social needs of the people in his second terms. Fashola made the promise recently when members of the State House of Assembly visited him at State House, Marina, Lagos. In Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun, governor-elect has constituted a 13-member committee to oversee a smooth transition from Gbenga Daniel-led administration to the new regime.
The committee is led by Poju Adeyemi, former secretary to the state government. A similar committee has also been constituted by Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, the PDP governor-elect in Kano State.While congratulating the governor-elect, Jafaru Isah, former military governor of Kaduna State and CPC governorship candidate in the April 26 governorship election, advised Kwankwaso to tackle youth unemployment in the state.
Umaru Tanko Al Makura, the CPC governor-elect in Nasarawa State, said he was poised to develop the state which had been neglected in terms of physical infrastructure. While some state governors-elect are outlining their administration’s programmes for the people after the May 29 inauguration, some governorship candidates who lost the election have rejected the result of the election and indicated their intention to contest the result at the election, petition tribunal expected to commence sitting last week.
In Akwa Ibom State, more than 68 constitutional lawyers including Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, were being assembled by the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, to challenge Akpabio’s election in the 2011 governorship election at the election tribunal. John James Akpan Udoedehe, governorship candidate of ACN, said that the party has already collated evidence on alleged malpractices from more than 2016 polling units.
The ACN in Kwara State also rejected the results of the governorship and House of Assembly elections as announced by the returning officer in the state. Layode Olawepo, acting chairman of the party in the state, claimed that the election was marred by malpractices and the party would contest the results at the election tribunal. “We reject the results of the elections because they do not reflect the wishes of our people,” he said.
The situation in Delta State is not different as Great Ogboru, governorship candidate of the Democratic People’s Party, has protested the result of the election. He wondered why INEC should declare result for an area where election did not hold in the state.
Ibrahim Shettima, CPC governorship candidate in Niger State, also rejected the result accusing PDP in the state of using security agents to perpetrate malpractices in favour of the ruling party. In Benue State, Steven Ugbah, governorship candidate of the ACN who lost to Gabriel Suswan, incumbent governor has indicated his intention to challenge the result of the elections at the tribunals. Similarly, the CPC in Kebbi State, rejected the result of the election immediately PDP was announced as the winner of April 26 governorship election. The party is getting ready to challenge the result to reclaim the mandate that was allegedly wrongly given to PDP. Abubakar Malam, the governorship candidate, described the governorship election on April 26 in the state as a mockery of democracy which cannot be accepted by the party in the state.
In Oyo State, the story is different. Adebayo Alao-Akala, governor of the state, and Rasheed Ladoja, former governor of the state, who was also the candidate of Accord Party, AP, have congratulated Abiola Ajimobi, the governor-elect. But Ajimobi who would not be fascinated by the congratulatory message has vowed to probe the administration of Akala in Oyo State. He explained that his decision to audit the state government finances was to ascertain where to take off and intervene meaningfully.