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Will Buhari take six months again to name his cabinet?
MORE than any of his elected predecessors, President Muhammadu Buhari is taking more time to name his cabinet for his second term despite high expectations from Nigerians.
It is getting to 30 days that he was sworn-in for another term of four years, yet the president has not submitted the list of his proposed ministers to the National Assembly, heightening speculations that he may again take a long time as he did in 2015.
This is despite assurance by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina that the president would not delay in appointing ministers for the second term.
“The circumstances are no longer the same. So, there would be no delay. When you land in the mud of poor and delayed handover notes as happened in 2015, with a vandalised economy and a polity with different types of challenges, the delay would be understandable. But now, we have the good fortune of transition from government to government headed by the same President and Vice President, things can then be done more expeditiously,” Adesina was quoted as saying.
There are no clear signals from the presidency as to when the cabinet will be ready despite rumour that the president may send his list to the National Assembly in July as the new lawmakers are due for resumption on July 2 from their recess after the inauguration of the 9th Assembly.
The president has always attracted criticisms for his snail-speed approach to governance. The president also did not shuffle his cabinet once for the four-year period in his first term. He was reported to have said that “he was not in a hurry to do anything.”
His late formation of the cabinet was partly blamed for the country’s recession in August 2016.
Former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan took less time to form their cabinets.
President Buhari after taking the oath of office in 2015 did not name his cabinet until November 11 —six months after his inauguration.
His spokesperson, Garba Shehu said then that the delay was to allow the president assemble credible ministers to lead his government. But many critics thought the delay was bad for business.
He was also defended by the former Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, who argued that forming a cabinet was not an easy task.
“I think I must have taken about three months before I constituted my team. And it is a very painstaking process, first because of our constitution”, Fashola said.
How long did it take Obasanjo, Yar’Adua, Jonathan to form cabinet?
In 1999, former president Obasanjo sworn-in his ministers on 1st July – 47 of them. That was just 32 days after he took the oath of office. The ministerial nominees’ list was sent to the Senate shortly after May 29.
When he was inaugurated for his second term in 2003, he forwarded the list of his proposed ministers to the National Assembly in June.
Late Musa Yar’Adua formed his cabinet of 39 ministers on July 27, 2007 — exactly 58 days into the duration of his government. The late president who later took ill also named another cabinet on December 17, 2008, comprising 37 ministers before his eventual demise on May 5, 2010.
Goodluck Jonathan who first took over as acting president following the sickness of Yar’Adua also dissolved the cabinet on March 16, 2010, and named another one on April 16 same year after a pronouncement by a Federal Court and confirmation by the Senate as the acting president.
On July 11, 2011, Jonathan also unveiled his new cabinet having won an election as the substantive president of Nigeria. It was exactly 42 days after his swearing-in.