Breaking: Nigerians Kick As ‘Old Cargoes’ Jostle For Spoils of Tinubu’s Government

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Breaking: Nigerians Kick As ‘Old Cargoes’ Jostle For Spoils of Tinubu’s Government

Breaking: Nigerians Kick As ‘Old Cargoes’ Jostle For Spoils of Tinubu’s Government
May 20
18:13 2023

A horde of high and low intrigues currently afflicts President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu, like a swarm of tropical mosquitoes.

The hidden afflictions of his political empire have finally begun to manifest en route his march to the corridors of power and the presidential office in Aso Villa. Predictably, this would end in disaster.

No sooner did Tinubu win the March 2023 presidential election than a league of ravening, high net-worth lobbyists besiege the corridors of power, to influence Tinubu’s major political choices – most especially his choice of cabinet members.

The Capital reliably gathered that some former and incumbent (now outgoing) governors have laid siege to Tinubu’s political circuit, bidding aggressively to become members of his cabinet.

It is interesting to note that these characters include the loyalists and hitherto sworn enemies of the new president-elect.

There is no gainsaying that the different forces that closed ranks within the APC to actualise Tinubu’s presidential dream may have started clashing in their bid to enjoy the perks of the incoming administration.

A dark pall of discord and internal wrangling impedes the strides of the APC-led government. It foreshadows grievous spells of mayhem for the APC as those forces work in conflicting interests to become part of Tinubu’s cabinet and the APC’s new power structure.

Former Ekiti Governor, Kayode Fayemi, for instance, is reportedly lobbying for an appointment in Tinubu’s cabinet as the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The relationship between Tinubu and Fayemi dates back to the mid-90s during the struggle for democracy in Nigeria.

In 2007, Fayemi was Tinubu’s anointed candidate for the governorship election in Ekiti. However, he lost the election to Governor Segun Oni of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) amid widespread reports of vote rigging.

Fayemi challenged the results in court, backed by a legal team, supported by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Tinubu.

He eventually became governor in 2010 but his relationship with Tinubu began to deteriorate a few years later.

During his first term in office, Fayemi yielded to the wild call of his ego, lust for power and sycophantic aides to rebel against Tinubu. So heady and intransigent was he that he ignorantly cut his own nose to spite his face thus his disgraceful shellacking at the state’s governorship elections by former Ekiti governor, Ayo Fayose, of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Severely beaten and humbled by their woeful outing and futile rebellion against the political machinery of their godfather, Tinubu, Fayemi decided to go for broke and joined forces with anti-Tinubu elements in the APC, to wrest the party’s power structure from him.

The struggle started and got dirty en route to the 2015 and 2019 presidential elections as Fayemi and cohorts allegedly conspired to neuter their political godfather constituting what was known in party parlance as a gang of rogue progressives.

In collaboration with fellow rebels within the APC, Fayemi moved against the interests of Tinubu to the latter’s amusement and chagrin of his staunch loyalists. They worked assiduously to retire Tinubu and they succeeded to a considerable extent, earning President Buhari’s backing to remove Adams Oshiomhole as the APC’s national chairman due to his perceived loyalty to Tinubu; Fayemi and cohorts succeeded with their plot to sack the APC’s National Working Committee (NWC) and prevented the conduct of fresh elections

But as fate would have it, Tinubu’s permutation yielded fruit as he emerged as the party’s flagbearer for the 2023 presidential elections, which he won by a convincing margin.

Fayemi has since intensified efforts to become a strong member of Tinubu’s political circuit and presidential cabinet – a plot he reportedly hatched at the APC presidential primary election, where he stepped down for Tinubu even though his gesture bore little or no impact on the president-elect’s chances.

Like Fayemi, some past governors and allies of Tinubu are equally scheming to be part of Tinubu’s cabinet.

For instance, Kano Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje is reportedly lobbying to become the Federal Capital Territory minister, while Kaduna Governor Nasir El-Rufai covets the position of the National Security Adviser (NSA). Former Lagos Governor and incumbent Minister of Works, Babatunde Raji Fashola is reportedly jostling with Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, for the Chief of Staff position.

President-elect Tinubu’s longtime associate, Wale Edun, seeks to become the Minister of Finance while Kebbi Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu is lobbying to be appointed as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, according to reliable sources.’

When Tinubu was the Lagos governor between 1999 and 2007, Edun held the position of commissioner for finance in the state. Fashola succeeded Tinubu as Lagos governor and he was a prominent member of the president-elect’s campaign train during the 2023 presidential elections.

Kaduna State under El-Rufai has been one of the most terrorised states in the country, with bandits killing, kidnapping and wreaking all forms of havoc.

Meanwhile, over the years, Bagudu has been in the news for the wrong reasons, one of which was connected to moves by the US to help Nigeria repatriate millions of dollars from the British Island of Jersey. The funds were part of the billions of dollars traced to Sani Abacha, the late military dictator who ruled Nigeria from November 1993 till his sudden death in June 1998, and his associates.

Shortly after the agreement was signed in the US, Bloomberg wire service reported that officials of the US Department of Justice (DoJ) kicked against plans by the Nigerian government to return $100 million to Bagudu from the Abacha loot.

The DoJ said in a February 3, 2020 statement that the Kebbi governor was part of a network controlled by Abacha that “embezzled, misappropriated and extorted billions from the government of Nigeria.”

Bagudu was said to have created anonymous companies in the British Virgin Islands and other financial havens.

An interesting twist manifests in the feverish quest by at least 18 members of President Buhari’s cabinet to retain their portfolios under Tinubu’s leadership. Their reappointment by Tinubu would ensure the continuity of the APC’s policies, according to former Minister of Communications, Abdul-Raheem Adebayo Shittu.

Some of the ministers have reportedly sponsored eminent Nigerians to London and France to persuade Tinubu to appoint them as part of his new government.

The ‘lobbying’ ministers allegedly released the unconfirmed ‘list of Tinubu’s ministers’ trending on social media in a frantic bid to influence the trend of public opinion.

These influential ministers played critical roles in the emergence of Tinubu, both at the APC primary and the February 25 presidential election in their respective states. And for this, they seek urgent payback.

Tinubu, who is expected back in the country before the inauguration, travelled to Europe on May 10, on a “working visit to fine-tune the transition plans and programmes, and his policy options with some of his key aides without unnecessary pressures and distractions.”

A statement by his media aide, Tunde Rahman, states that “Tinubu hopes to convince foreign investors of Nigeria’s readiness to do business under his leadership through mutually-beneficial partnerships premised on jobs creation and skills acquisition.”

While Buhari’s ministers lobby to be reappointed by the new President-elect, not a few Nigerians clamour for an injection of new faces and more efficient patriots into the presidential cabinet, to foster rapid improvement in governance.

Tinubu had earlier hinted that competence and merit would be his major consideration in choosing his new cabinet members. In a statement personally signed by him, the President-elect said: “In selecting my government, I shall not be weighed down by considerations extraneous to ability and performance. The day for political gamesmanship is long gone. I shall assemble competent men and women and young people from across Nigeria to build a safer, more prosperous, and just Nigeria.”

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