Ministers: Jonathan rules out governors’ nominees


The crack in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is widening, with President Goodluck Jonathan’s decision not to consult the aggrieved group of seven governors on the choice of new ministers.
Nine ministers were relieved of their jobs last week. Before then, Minister of Youth Development Inuwa Abdulkadir from Sokoto State had been sacked.

Those disengaged last week, ostensibly for their loyalty to perceived “opponents” of the President, are: Olugbenga Ashiru (Foreign Affairs); , Ruqqayatu Rufai (Education); Shamsudeen Usman.(National Planning); Amal Pepple (Land and Urban Development); Hadiza Mailafia, (Environment); Ita Ewa (Science and Technology);Olusola Obada(Defence); Zainab Kuchi(Power); and Tijani Bukar (Agriculture).

The tradition in the PDP has been for governors to nominate candidates for minister from among whom the President picks.

This will not apply now, a Presidency official, who pleaded not to be named, told The Nation last night. The thinking in official circles is that the governors have bungled the opportunity to have a say on the ministerial list.
The source said: “By visiting the National Assembly on Tuesday , the Presidency felt the governors had breached an agreement reached with Jonathan on Sunday night.”

The President, said the source, tried to bring everybody together but the governors violated the ceasefire.
“So, the decision of the President and his strategists is that none of the G-7 governors will have input into the nomination of candidates into the vacant 10 cabinet slots,” he said, adding:
“All the nominees will be seriously screened to prevent having moles in government.”

The source alleged that the attitude of some of the governors and leaders of the Kawu Baraje faction of the PDP confirmed one of the reasons why some ministers were removed.
He spoke of security reports confirming that some of the sacked ministers were leaking Federal Executive Council(FEC) papers to the aggrieved governors.

The Rotimi Amaechi faction of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) demanded for the resignation of the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. This, to the Presidency, confirms that the governors had some insights into a few economic policies in the offing, through the leaked council papers, and decided to harass the minister”.
Also, there were indications yesterday that the peace talks between President Jonathan and the governors might be heading for a deadlock.
Another government functionary, who is one of the strategists of the President, said: “With the latest twist in the House, it will be difficult for the President to return to the peace table with the G-7 governors and Baraje faction on October 7.

“The option already tabled before the President by his strategists or think-tank is to damn the consequences of the G-7. The President loses nothing by ignoring these people.
“With the exception of Rivers and Kwara State, the President lost in the remaining five states during the 2011 poll. So, some of the governors are not political assets in any manner.”

Also yesterday, the Abubakar Baraje- led New Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) warned against alleged attempts by certain members of the National Assembly and forces in the Presidency to impeach Senate President David Mark and House Speaker Aminu Tambuwal.

The Baraje faction described the alleged move as a misadventure capable of plunging the country into a crisis of monumental proportions.
In a statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the New PDP, Chukwuemeka Eze, yesterday, the party accused the Bamanga Tukur- led PDP of working with the Presidency to instigate the lawmakers.

Eze said the Presidency and the Tukur group were rattled by the warm reception accorded the G7 governors and leaders of the New PDP by the leadership of the National Assembly during their visit on Tuesday.

The statement reads: “We learnt of the sinister plot to impeach both the Senate President, Senator David Mark, and Speaker Aminu Tambuwal in connection with the visit of the progressive Governors and the National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the National Assembly on Tuesday, September 17, 2013.

“To us, this plot by the hawks in the Presidency is politics taken too far and illustrates the extent to which they are prepared to go in their determination to plunge this country into chaos.
“We wish to warn those who are planning this coup to desist forthwith as such a misadventure is capable of plunging this nation into a crisis of monumental proportions.

“These undemocratic elements should stop overheating the polity just because of their selfish ambitions. Those who feel that politics is better practised by way of threats and the unseating of those who do not share their unprogressive thoughts should know that there is a limit to how far they can push us”.

The New PDP commended Mark and Tambuwal for their leadership qualities and urged them not to lose sleep over the alleged plot, adding that the visit was well intention-ed and was part of the efforts to resolve the lingering crisis in the ruling party.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the progressive Governors have for the past three months been visiting past Heads of State and some other great minds in their search for a peaceful way out of the logjam in the PDP, orchestrated by the failed Tukur leadership of the party.

“Their visit to the National Assembly was just in continuation of their nationwide tour. The aim was to brief and rub minds with members of the National Assembly on how to reposition our great party to be united and face other parties by 2015.

“Any other motive imputed into the visit is not only mischievous but also a product of the devilish imaginations of those reaching such conclusions”, the statement added.

The Nation
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