By Danladi Al-Hassan
President Muhammadu Buhari has pleaded with the leadership of the National Assembly to give him more time for him to compile list of ministerial nominees.
President Buhari, who admitted that he was under pressure to nominate members of his cabinet, said this to the presiding and principal officers of the National Assembly at the dinner hosted by the President for the legislators at the Presidential Villa on Thursday night.
The dinner was brokered by Senator Ita Enang, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters.
A source at the Presidency revealed that the President asked for more time to continue his consultation and research on the nominees.
Buhari was said to have noted that most of the ministers he appointed in his first tenure were not known to him, adding that this time around, he wanted to appoint those he knows, have confidence in and that have the capacity to deliver.
It was gathered that President Buhari during the closed door dinner said he was under tremendous pressure to release the ministerial list.
“Many at this dinner meeting are saying they want to see the list of the proposed cabinet so that they can go on leave peacefully.
“I’m very much aware about it; I’m under tremendous pressure on it. But the last cabinet which I headed, most of them, the majority of them I didn’t know them. I had to accept the names and recommendations from the party and other individuals.
“I worked with them for three and half years at least – meeting twice or two weeks in a month. So I know them.
“But, this time around I’m going to be quite me, me in the sense that I will pick people I personally know,” he said.
At the event, Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan denied that he said that the presidency promised to send the ministerial list to the Senate this week.
Speaking with State House correspondents after the meeting, Lawan said the Senate was yet to receive ministerial list from President.
He said the ministerial list was not submitted at dinners contrary to speculations that the President would unveil the ministerial nominees at the dinner.
The Senate President explained that he didn’t promise Nigerians that the ministerial list would be forwarded to the senate this week.
“Well, I came for a dinner and the process of receiving list is not at dinners. That is all I have to say about this,” he said.
Reminded that he promised Nigerians that the list will get to the Senate this week he said: “I never did. Let me take this opportunity to correct that. A senator raised a point of order under personal explanation and he said we (the senate) should be sent the list of ministers by the executive arm of government. “And in my response I said the executive is working so hard to ensure that the list of Nigerians that will help this Administration work is going to be constituted, we could even receive it this week. “Could is conditional and I will urge everybody here to report it as it is,” he said.
It was gathered that the Presidency was shocked on Wednesday when it was reported that the Senate President announced that the ministerial list would be sent to the senate this week.
Those at the dinner included the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, Abdullahi Yahaya – Majority Leader, Ajayi Borofice – Deputy Leader, Orji Uzor Kalu – Chief Whip and Sabi Abdullahi – Deputy Chief Whip. Others were Emmanuel Bwacha, Deputy Minority leader, Phillip Aduda- Minority Whip, Sabi Wau, Deputy Minority Whips.
Also present were Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, Majority leader, House of Representatives, Ndudi Godwin Elumelu – Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu – Deputy Minority Leader and Nkeiru Onyejocha, Deputy Whip.
Other presidential aides including Ita Enang, Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Boss Mustapha were also in attendance.