President-elect Muhammadu Buhari has dismissed the ministerial lists in circulation on the social media as fake because his ministers will not emerge the way the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) picked members of its Federal Executive Council (FEC) in the last 16 years.
Buhari made this known in an exclusive interview he granted senior editors of Daily Trust at his country home in Daura, Katsina State on Tuesday.
As the May 29 handover date draws closer, there have been speculations about those who would make the next government’s ministerial list. Most of the persons who featured on the speculative list were picked from across the 36 states and the six geopolitical zones, to rhyme with the PDP’s tradition of appointing a minimum of one minister from each state of the federation and six others from the geopolitical zones.
In the interview, Buhari dismissed the speculations, by stating that “I am not speaking about it; I have not put anything on paper, so nobody has seen it and I haven’t discussed it with anybody; I am just keeping it close to my chest.”
The exclusive interview was conducted in-between a series of emotional activities in which the president-elect met with his primary and secondary school mates and other personal friends to exchange banters because, as he put it, as from May 29, he would be too busy with the affairs of Nigeria, hence it would be difficult to find time to socialise with his cherished friends from his childhood.
Providing an insight into how his ministers would emerge, Buhari said, “I am ardent listener of Hausa Service of Voice of America (VOA) and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) from 6am to 7am every morning. I am going to quote myself because I heard in one of the interviews that I said the type of people I am supposed to appoint, like in the cabinet and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, and service chiefs, will be different. Definitely my approach is going to be different from what we had under the PDP where governors nominated ministers.”
The president-elect said if state governors are at liberty to appoint their commissioners, he, too, should be at liberty to choose those who would serve with him in the Federal Executive Council.
According to Buhari, he was still looking around for the kind of persons who could help to transform the country, stating that, “I have been around long enough to know people that I can approach for things like that… Deliberately we will look for competent people, dedicated and experienced to head ministries and, of course, there will be schedules for ministers and we will expect them to fill them. Economically we will try and stop a lot of wastages and encourage austerity so that we can fund the ministries. Education and healthcare will get more attention. Of course, security is Number One. Certainly, there is a lot to do but we are hoping that we ‘ll get good people to be in charge of ministries who can apply themselves to their responsibilities so that in no time Nigerians would begin to see the difference.”
When asked if he would present the list of his ministers to the Senate in the first week of the proclamation of the new legislature, Buhari simply responded “I will not make that known before you.”
He spoke extensively on why he is insisting that the principle of separation of powers among the three arms of government should be obeyed; the power sharing in the All Progressives Congress (APC); fuel subsidy; the lack of progress made in the handover from President Goodluck Jonathan to him, and much more.