President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday night dealt a huge blow to the list of purported ministerial nominees being circulated in media reports when he dined with leaders of the National Assembly and urged them to give him more time to constitute his cabinet.
Buhari also admitted to the leaders that he is under intense pressure to name his cabinet almost six weeks after taking his oath of office.
The president has been criticized for the unnecessary delay in constituted in his cabinet.
A source at the dinner hosted by the President for the leadership of the National Assembly at the presidential villa told journalists anonymously that “Mr. President said we should give him more time for him to compile the list of ministerial nominees.”
The source further quoted Buhari as saying: “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.”
However, speaking with State House correspondents after the meeting, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan said he wanted to correct inaccuracies in media reports concerning his comment on the president’s cabinet.
“Let me take this opportunity to correct this. A senator raised a point of order under personal explanation and he said we 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.”
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
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly matters (Senate), 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.