There were strong indications last night that between 12 and 15
ex-ministers will join President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet. It was
learnt that the ex-ministers’ names are on the list which was reportedly
submitted to Senate President Ahmed Lawan on Wednesday. But there was
still a pall of uncertainty on the size of the cabinet.

The
President has the constitutional right to have a 36-man or a 42-man
cabinete. The President is said to have decided to retain some of the
ex-ministers on merit.

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Those speculated to be on the list last
night are ex-Ministers of Justice and AGF Abubakar Malami ( SAN); Adamu
Adamu( Education); Hadi Sirika ( Aviation); Zainab Ahmed (Finance);
Aisha Abubakar (Women Affairs); Lai Mohammed ( Information); Babatunde
Fashola (Works, Power and Housing); Rotimi Amaechi (Transportation);
Mohammed Musa Bello( FCT); Suleiman Adamu Kazaure (Water Resources); Dr.
Ogbonnaya Onu (Science & Technology); Solomon Dalung (Sports &
Youths Development) and others.

Although Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, former
governors Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Niyi Adebayo (Ekiti) and Akinwumi
Ambode (Lagos) were also being speculated last night to have made the
list, none of our sources could confirm such speculations.

The
sources confirmed that some ex-ministers, such as Adebayo Shittu
(Communications) and Okechukwu Enelamah (Trade and Industry) lost the
battle to return to the cabinet.

A government source said: “I
know that the two women ex-ministers are returning to the cabinet. We
have a few others who have really added value that the President will be
retaining.

“It is not a total overhaul, which you are
anticipating. What the President promised was to leave sustainable
legacies in his second term.” As of press time, it was difficult to
ascertain whether or not the President of the Senate had received the
ministerial list.

A principal officer of the National Assembly
said “Lawan dropped a hint that he will receive the list on Wednesday”.
Another source said: “I think the list is already with the Senate
President and some officers but they said it will not be made public
until Thursday.”

A source in the Presidency simply said: “All
things being equal, the Senate will receive the list on Thursday
morning. “ Lawan confirmed on Wednesday that the list of ministers will
be out this week. President Buhari had promised to appoint into his
cabinet those who would help him to implement his “Next Level”
programmes.

Lawan spoke during plenary on Wednesday, following a
Point of Order by Senator Albert Bassey Akpan (Akwa Ibom Northeast).
Akpan, who spoke under personal explanation, prayed the Senate to mount
pressure on Buhari to transmit the list to the chamber. The senator
reminded his colleagues that the Senate would embark on its annual
recess within the next two weeks. He stressed the need for Buhari to
transmit the list before the recess.

Akpan said: “Mr. President,
in view of the yearly long recess the Senate and the House of
Representatives will embark upon in two weeks, there is need to urge
President Muhammadu Buhari to forward the much expected ministerial list
to the Senate for screening and confirmation. “This is very important
because if such list is not made available for the required legislative
attention before we embark on the long recess, there will be no
ministers and, by extension, the federal cabinet for the President to
work with till September.

“Making the list more urgent now from
the President before our long recess, is the fact that if it is not made
available, the concerted effort being made by both arms of government
to return to the yearly budget cycle of January to December will be
defeated.

“On this note, I call on the President of the Senate to
inform President Muhammadu Buhari of the need for the ministerial list
before we embark on recess.”

Lawan said: “Let me, on the strength
of this motion, inform the Senate that the Executive arm of government
is working very hard on the ministerial list. “In fact, the list, based
on information at my disposal, will be forwarded to us by the President
before the end of this week. “May I, therefore, appeal to us all to be
ready to make the necessary sacrifice in terms of sufficient time to be
spent in carrying out thorough screening and confirmation of
appointments of the expected ministerial nominees.”

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