Trouble looms between the president-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, and the All Progressives Congress (APC) governors forum as the retired general has rejected the current and the newly elected governors plan to submit names of their preferred candidates, to be considered and possibly picked as ministers in the cabinet of the incoming administration.
The Progressives Governors Forum, as the governors are popularly called, visited Buhari four days ago in Abuja to pledge their unalloyed loyalty to the president-elect. Led by Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo state, they also used the opportunity to table some of their demands to Buhari.
At the meeting, the governors requested to leave their list of possible ministers with Buhari, but their request was rebuffed by the president-elect who reminded them that the Constitution does not compel him to take a list of ministerial nominees from them.
The president-elect also refused to accept the request for a bailout for the states that have been unable to pay their workers salaries, with a source saying Buhari rejected the proposal. He told them that he was aware the federal government did not owe the states their allocations.
The source close to the discussion told the Nigerian Tribune that Buhari told the governors that those of them in their second terms do not have any excuse about the state of government finances, as they have all been collecting allocations from the Federal Government.
The source was quoted saying: “The governors practically went out of the visit with their tails between their legs. The General first threw aside the request that he grant bailout to the states. He told them that the governors going for second term in office cannot complain about the state of the economy, having collected all their allocations to date from the Federal Government. He ruled out the possibility of bailout.
“The General was also very unequivocal when he was told that the governors want to submit a ministerial list to him. He clearly said he cannot go into that discussion. He insisted that the Constitution does not mandate him to collect such list from the governors and that the state chief executives should concentrate on sourcing good materials that would help them run the states adequately.”
The source quoted Buhari as saying that “I do not think we can discuss that issue of Ministerial list. The Constitution clearly does not mandate me to take a list from the governors. To me, the governors should concentrate on getting good hands to help them in discharging their duties in the states.”
Among those who visited Buhari were the Kwara state governor, AbdulFatah Ahmed, the Osun state governor, Rauf Aregbesola, his Borno State counterpart, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, the Kaduna state governor-elect, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, the Sokoto state governor-elect and the current Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, the Nassarawa state governor, Alhaji Tanko Al-Makura and the Kano state governor-elect, Alhaji Usman Ganduje.