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President Buhari Weighs Options On Incoming Cabinet

……….Wants clean slate, may recall only a few current ministers

………..Incumbents abandon responsibilities, engage in massive lobby to return

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

Barely
a month and a half to the start of his second term, President Muhammadu
Buhari is weighing his options for a new cabinet that would help him to
deliver on his campaign promises to Nigerians.

The president,
who had told Nigerians during the keenly contested presidential election
held on February 23 that he would consolidate on the gains of his first
term, particularly in the areas of security, fight against corruption
and revival of the economy, is said to be considering starting his
second term on a fresh slate, sending home all the incumbent ministers
except one or two of them he retains confidence in.

Buhari had
been under severe criticisms for not tinkering with his cabinet even
when it was obvious that many of them were so anonymous and
underperforming.

But the president kept faith with the ministers,
perhaps in the belief that they would improve and help him shore up the
confidence of Nigerians in his administration’s capacity to meet their
basic expectations.

THISDAY sources close to the president said
the outcome of the presidential election, which though he won by close
to four million votes ahead of his main rival, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of
the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was said to be an eye opener for the
president, who is said to have come to terms with the reality of
majority of Nigerians’ disillusionment with the performance of his
administration.

“The president is not carried away by the
euphoria of his victory at the poll. Rather, he is acutely aware that
Nigerians seem not too impressed and he is determined to make amends,” a
highly placed source said.

According to him, “The president
intends to do a clean sweep of the cabinet by gathering a new bunch that
would help him deliver the dividends of democracy to Nigerians.”

Subsequently,
Buhari is said to be considering dissolving his body of ministers by
the middle of next month to pave the way for the appointment of fresh
helmsmen.

Although the president is said to be looking at
appointing more technocrats, THISDAY gathered that many of the incumbent
ministers have set up strong lobby to return to office.

Presidential
Villa sources said so intense is the lobby that the president and his
key aides are worried that governance is suffering.

“Ministers
would appear to have left their tasks and are now running around close
associates of the president to help them keep their job,” a source said,
adding that Buhari is already compiling a list of such ministers,
vowing to ensure that they do not make the next cabinet.

But
there are concerns that given the connections of some of the outgoing
ministers, the president might not be able to withstand the pressure and
might eventually return many of them.

“That is not likely to
happen,” said a close presidential aide, who is part of the search team
for what he called “brilliant but experienced technocrats for the task
of making the next term more meaningful and eventful for Nigerians.”

Buhari,
according to impeccable villa sources, intends to still keep a lean
team of not more than 36 ministers being put together by his kitchen
cabinet, said to be led by his Chief of Staff, Malam Abba Kyari.

Unlike
in 2015 when it took him about six months to show up with his list of
ministers, the president is said to be determined to hit the ground
running this time around.

“He plans to send his list of ministers
to the Senate almost immediately it is convened in June,” a close
associate told THISDAY last night.

Source:- Thisdaylive

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