Cabinet dissolution:Jonathan's dilemma

2010-03-19
THE SUN Newspaper-Amos Dunia

Wednesday’s dissolution of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has put Acting President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan in a dilemma as different interest groups jostle to take effective control of the administration by ensuring that their loyalists make the next cabinet.

Meanwhile, some of the former ministers and loyalists of President Yar’Adua believed to have been caught napping by the dissolution met in Abuja on Wednesday night to strategize on what steps to take regarding the legality or otherwise of the powers of the acting president to dissolve the cabinet.

This is even as lobbyists have taken over Abuja, making frantic attempts and high level contacts to get some of their people nominated as ministers ahead of whatever decision that may be eventually arrived at by the governors and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with Dr. Jonathan.

It was gathered that some of the lobbyists are being sponsored by some of the former ministers who are desirous of finding their way back to the federal cabinet and thus have reached out to some powerful traditional rulers and other powerful Nigerians to enable them to strengthen their lobby.
Daily Sun gathered authoritatively that even though some of the governors may have been asked by the acting president to recommend fresh people into the cabinet, the fact remains that the state chief executives are angry over the dissolution, which they perceived may have been carried out by the acting president owing to intense pressure brought to bear on him by the new set of people around him besides the alleged crack in the Federal Executive Council, which Dr. Jonathan used as an alibi.

Majority of the ministers who were shown the way out on Wednesday following the dissolution of the cabinet, even though appointed by the president, were believed to be nominees of the governors from the various states who served as their representatives in the cabinet as well as showed unalloyed loyalty to the states’ chief executives.

Jonathan’s dilemma with the governors may not be the only political battle he has to face over the dissolution of the cabinet put together by President Yar’Adua, as the leadership of the ruling PDP, which recently told him to forget nursing presidential ambition for 2011, is equally angry with him and spitting fire over his refusal to consult with the party on such a sensitive matter.

It was gathered that Jonathan is already trying to reach out to pacify the leadership of the party over the development taken on the premise of necessity for good governance.
Daily Sun further gathered that the acting president may have got in touch with former president, General Ibrahim Babangida to assist him in reaching out to the leadership of the party and some of the governors that hold him in high esteem.

It was, however, gathered that the acting president had to move quickly in taking the decision as a way of stamping his authority and sending a message to all that he is in control as well as to put in check the growing control and domineering powers of the governors since ailing President Yar’Adua took ill last November.
Daily Sun gathered in Abuja that the acting president was, however, conscious of the fact that he would not be in a position to embark on a total war with all the governors at the same time, particularly considering that some of the governors are his close friends and political associates, beside that a handful of them have so far demonstrated unalloyed loyalty to him.

Accordingly Jonathan may have to also bow to pressure in the coming days and be forced to re-appoint some of the former ministers or in the alternative accept fresh nomination from the governors as a way of assuaging their feelings of not being carried along in the scheme of things
Incidentally, an associate of the acting president told Daily Sun that there was no need for all the fuss “as Jonathan can never reconstitute the entire cabinet all by himself. The governors will still nominate. That’s how it is done. And the governors are not angry with the acting president.”

Daily Sun further gathered that the acting president, who is so far comfortable with the Senate where members of the National Interest Group that worked to ensure his emergence as acting president and presently constitute the majority in the upper chamber of the National Assembly, would eventually know what to do when the list of the ministerial nominees gets to the Senate for screening and confirmation.
A member of the NIG in the Senate told Daily Sun on the condition of anonymity that they would work hard to ensure that some former members of the old cabinet who were basically self-serving do not scale through the screening exercise let alone, return to the FEC.

According to the senator; “we are conscious of the time left for the acting president to work and we are also aware of the yearnings of Nigerians to put a couple of things in place, so we are not going to allow those we know are going to pose a stumbling block on the way of the new vision of getting Nigeria move forward.”
The position of some of the senators is coming on the heels of unconfirmed allegations that some of the tham are making monetary demand of six million naira each before the consideration of the ministerial nominee is carried out by them.

“By convention and by PDP’s written and unwritten agreements, there is no way Jonathan can go it all alone,” an aide of the acting president restated to Daily Sun on phone last night. “So, it is expected that these pressures will come. For God’s sake, a cabinet has just been dissolved and it would have to be reconstituted. So, automatically, CVs will be flying around. Nearly all those who made nominations would still be allowed to make nominations. It’s all in order.”

 

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