- Katsina, Ogun, Edo, Bauchi, Kwara top list
If President Muhammadu Buhari goes ahead with his alleged plan to run a slim 25-man Federal Executive Council, FEC, 11 of the 36 states of the federation may not have re presentation in his cabinet, Nigerian Pilot has learnt.
This newspaper had reported last Sunday that President Buhari had settled for 25 ministers, against the Constitutional provision of each of the 36 states of the federation producing a minister in the federal cabinet.
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP administration, which ruled the country upon its return to democratic governance in 1999 till 2015, had a 42-man cabinet, where each state produced a minister and additional six to represent the country’s six geopolitical zones.
But citing huge cost of governance, the Buhari administration has settled for 25 ministers, who are likely to be selected from only 25 states of the federation.
Nigerian Pilot gathered from sources in the two-week administration that if the National Assembly gives its nod to President Buhari’s plan to reduce the number of ministers, all the states whose indigenes are holding the top 11 positions in government and the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, would forfeit their ministerial slots.
Under the arrangement, Katsina State will top the list of states which may be denied ministerial slot because the President hails from the state.
One of the sources said that Buhari’s denial of his home state a ministerial slot would weaken any protest by other states that might not be represented in the new FEC.
Ogun State, where Vice President Yemi Osinbajo hails from, will be the next state which may not have a minister while Edo and Yobe states will also be on the list.
The APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, is from Edo State while the party’s National Secretary, Mallam Ibrahim Bala Gubi, is from Yobe State.
Our sources further disclosed that the states which produced the Senate President, Deputy Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Deputy Speaker may not also be represented in the proposed FEC.
So, with the emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki (Kwara State) as Senate President and Hon. Yakubu Dogara (Bauchi State) as Speaker of the House of Representatives, the two states are likely to miss out of the incoming cabinet.
There may also not be a minister from Taraba State since the incumbent Head of Service of the Federation, HOSF, is from the state.
Other states that may not have representations in Buhari’s cabinet are those, which did not vote massively for the APC in the last general elections. Most of these states are in the South-South and South-East zones.
The 1999 Constitution (as amended) provides for the appointment of at least one minister from each state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, in the federal cabinet.
Specifically, section 147 (1) states that: “There shall be such office of Ministers of the government of the federation as may be established by the President: (2) 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 : (3) 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.
Also, section 14(3) under Chapter 11: “Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy” provides that “the composition of the government of the federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote nation unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few states or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that government or in any of its agencies.”
But President Buhari is allegedly hinging his action on the administration policy thrust of cost reduction because of dwindling revenue because of the glut in the international oil market and the administration’s fight against corruption.
The sources said that the decision of the government not to run a bogus cabinet is not a breach of the Constitution as states not represented in the incoming cabinet will be accommodated in the future when the FEC is re-jigged.