Ministerial slots: The battle rages

The much anticipated list of Tinubu’s cabinet members is causing anxiety among Nigerians. From all indications, the battle to make the final list may soon be over and those who are going to lose out may be settled with agencies appointments.

A peep into the list being compiled and undergoing vetting by the relevant agencies revealed the old ACN members dominate the list of nominees from the South-west zone, while conceding the nominees to other members of the legacy parties that existed before the formation of APC.

A prominent member from Ekiti state Prince Dayo Adeyeye is in the list. He is being rewarded for pioneering the South-west Agenda, SWAGA, for 2023, reputed to have flagged off the presidential aspiration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, PBAT.

In Osun state, Mr Oyetola and Chief Femi Fani-Kayode made the list. There is a strong possibility for the former governor to be reassigned for nomination as the Central Bank governor, given his pedigree and cognate experience in the banking industry. His experience in the First Bank of Nigeria is an added advantage. Dr Tunji Abayomi and Chief Olusola Oke are locking horns for the Ondo state slot.

In the Northern frontiers, some interest groups made exclusion of the immediate past governors of their states as the kernel of their demand. They posited that the former governors collected funds from PBAT during the campaigns but failed to disburse same to the grassroots. A source close to the Villa revealed that “their claims might be valid but Asiwaju knows the best decision to take in the present circumstances”.


Comrade Salihu Lukman, APC national vice chairman of the zone, is the nominee from Kaduna state. In the case of Kano state, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso is the nominee but additional slot is being conceded for the immediate past Governor Abdullahi Ganduje to nominate someone to take the position. The nominee from Sokoto is being awaited from Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wammako. The fate of nominee from Zamfara state is in the hands of the doyen of state politics Senator Ahmed Sani Yarima. The nominee being lobbied for by Alhaji Ibrahim Masari, the placeholder of the vice presidential candidate of the party then before the emergence of Kashim Shettima as the substantive nominee of the VP ticket.

The Jigawa state nominee is being speculated as a serving functionary from the state in the federal government to be revealed soon. Learnt that his governor is not against his nomination because he mobilised support for the president not only in his domain but other places. He is a workaholic and committed supporter of Mr. President. The immediate past governor of the state was rejected because he failed to deliver for the president during the polls.

There is consultation for the Kebbi nominee with Governor Atiku Bagudu likely to be the only one among his peers to cross the nomination hurdle.


Senator Mohammed Dambu and Hon Tijani Tumsah, the pioneer national secretary of the party, are locking horns for the only available slot.

The nomination for Borno state goes to Senator Abubakar Kyari, deputy national chairman, north of the party. Shettima and Governor Umar Zulum have endorsed him.

The nomination for Taraba state is inching towards Senator Emmanuel Bwatcha, a popular politician and the governorship candidate of the party in the last elections.

The struggle for the Bauchi state slot is a straight fight between Malam Isa Yuguda, former minister and two-term governor of the state, and Mr Ali Pate, former minister and an employee of the Brettonwoods. The two are laying claims to being technocrats.

Gombe state slot is being struggled by Alhaji Farouk Bamusa, Senator Idris Umar and Alhaji Jamilu Isiyaka Gwamna.

Adamawa slot is being considered for either the husband of Senator Aisha Binani, Dr Ahmed Moddibo or Senator Jonathan Zangwina, a prominent politician and a strong member of the Chief MKO Abiola campaign in 1993.


Kwara state slot is going to either Prof Ishaq Olorode or Comrade Isa Aremu, any of them is a perfect choice in terms of prudence, honesty, capacity and astute life style.

Niger state is tilting towards Prof Yahaya Kuta, once secretary to the state government and an academic from University of Ibadan. His capacity is unlimited and ability to communicate because of multilingual endowment as an added advantage. The big men from his state gave their blessings to his nomination.

Nasarawa state nomination is still ongoing. APC national chairman Abdullahi Adamu and the governor are interested in picking a nominee. However, Barrister Labaran Magaji from Toto, a grassroots politician, and Hon Musa Wayo, former local government chairman and associate of PBAT, are being considered too.

Benue state is for the SGF Chief George Akume to decide. Hon Emmanuel Jime is a strong contender. In Plateau, the nominee is being discussed due to failure of the immediate past governor Solomon Lalong to deliver. He is pushing for Hon Yakubu Datti, a former commissioner. The SGF and former Governor Joshua Dariye will find a suitable nominee.

Kogi state nominee is at the discretion of Governor Yahaya Bello. He performed above average during the polls and has absolute confidence of PBAT.


Imo state nominee is Sir Mike Okiro, former Inspector General of Police. His path and PBAT crossed when both served in Lagos as governor and commissioner of police. They have had a cordial relationship till date. Men like Okiro are needed to help the party win the forthcoming governorship election in Imo state and stabilise the region.

Enugu state is going to Hon Emma Enekwu, APC deputy national chairman South. He has been consistent since the ANPP days.

Anambra state slot is for Dr Andy Uba, the most visible politician from the state who identifies with PBAT. His nomination will douse the opposition of OBJ to PBAT and erode the home base support for Peter Obi. Senator Uche Ukwunife is being considered based on gender and non-controversial posture.

Abia state is inching towards Chief Mac Wabara, a banker, cosmopolitan and a Lagos Boy, so to speak. Yoruba is the dominant dialect in his household. He will communicate seamlessly with the president due to personal touch and language affinity.

Ebonyi state is being determined by Senator Dave Umahi. He is the last bus stop as far as Ebonyi nomination is concerned. He is enjoying an excellent relationship with Mr. President.


Rivers state slot is for ex-Governor Nyesom Wike because PBAT doesn’t betray friendship and rewards loyalty. Wike did a yeoman’s job during the presidential polls in the state.

Cross River state is being slugged out by Senator John Onwah, who saved the party from crisis when he accepted wise counseling from PBAT. He sacrificed his governorship ambition in support of the eventual winner Senator Bassey Otu. The second person in the struggle is a staff of NNPC. She has consistently identified with PBAT from the ACN days. Her husband, a top police officer, ensured the election was not rigged against the APC during the polls. The hush criticism against APC national woman leader, Mrs Betty Edu, is that she is only a Crossriverian by marriage but an indigene of Ebonyi state.

Akwa Ibom state ministerial nominee is to be considered by Senate President Godswill Akpabio. The name of Chief Dan Abia, former managing director NDDC, rings a bell in the list.

Delta state is a straight fight between Barrister Festus Keyamo, Chief Frank Kokori and Dr Felix Morka, APC national publicly secretary.

Bayelsa state is expected to have the endorsement of President Goodluck Jonathan. He has a cordial relationship with PBAT. Chief Davekeme Ikwigwa is likely among the lucky persons.

Edo state slot is for Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to decide. It is certain that the candidate is from the Bini stock to help the party tackle Governor Obaseki during the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the state.

Lastly, the case of the Federal Capital Territory is very interesting. PBAT is consulting widely relevant stakeholders including Senator Sidi Ali and Hon Isa Rahma on the possibility of giving FCT a ministerial slot.

Others being considered for appointment are long time core loyalists of PBAT in civil rights community and the defunct Alliance for Democracy, a political platform that predated Action Congress. Majority of them outside the South-west but stood by PBAT in several political battles are requesting for compensation. Prince Dayo Adeyeye is one of them as mentioned earlier. Col Abubakar Dangiwa Umar, former military governor of Kaduna state, a prominent figure in the June 12 struggle is being considered for Kebbi slot.

Another prominent person is Col Lawal Gwadabe, detained alongside Gen Shehu Yar’Adua. He deployed everything during the campaign. His nomination will be compensation for the camp of Abacha detainees on account of OBJ’s refusal to do anything for them. There is Omoba Kenneth Aigbegbele from Edo state that has been very consistent with PBAT, a foremost promoter of the traditional institutions and former media adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan, a core loyalist, advocate and foot soldier of Mr President. He has written several articles in his defence and projected the coming Asiwaju presidency since 1999 and played key role in the 2023 presidential election. He is being nominated as minister from Edo state.

Mr Yunana Shibkau, former AD national financial secretary from Zamfara state as SSA on Christian matters to further appease Northern Christians. Comrade Umar Farouk, former AD national publicity secretary who exposed the woman behind the invented certificate forgery against PBAT published by the Kaduna based Today newspapers. He also stood by him during the Hausa/OPC crisis in Lagos. He is being considered for SA Technical. The last person in the list is Ambassador Yusuf Mamman, former AD national chairman, an experienced diplomat, exemplary scholar, security expert who lived a bohemian life style and founder of “Radio Chanji” in the build-up to 2015 general elections. He is being considered for minister of foreign affairs.

From all indications, the interested persons are intensifying their moves. Everything is at the discretion of PBAT. But whichever way it goes, one thing is certain – there is not going to be a dull cabinet in this administration

The decision is not only going to unify the party but consolidate the grip of President Tinubu on power. It will further help the party to regain political momentum beyond the states under the control of the ruling party. As the president has consistently said, “I will reward people that have been with me for years and have shown loyalty at all times,” and that ‘what would I tell Nigerians if I was asked the price of loyalty, as these set of persons have remained faithful without asking for anything from me, but work and work for the common good of the country?’

Malam Dogodaji writes from Katsina, Katsina state