Amid public outcry over President Muhammadu Buhari’s delay in announcing his choice of ministers, the Presidency has begged Nigerians to be patient.
Shortly before his May 29 inauguration, Buhari had reportedly rejected plans by governors of the All Progressives Congress the party leadership in the states to submit ministerial nominees to him.
The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media, Garba Shehu, in an interview with Sahara TV on Saturday, argued against comparing Buhari’s government to such states as Kaduna and Rivers, which have appointed some commissioners.
According to Shehu, following the 2011 elections, many South-West governors took several months to form their governments.
He said, “The President did say he would hit the ground running, but he has not been given the chance to hit the ground running because the administration that he succeeded — the Jonathan administration — did not deliver the handover notes until two or three days to the inauguration, meaning that these handover notes were submitted at a time when everyone had been consumed by (inauguration) activities.
“Unfortunately, there was no time to look at them until after the President had been inaugurated. The President was left in the dark. He had to understand what the situation was and what was on the ground. That was why he set up a different transition committee. It was only this week that the committee, led by Dr. Ahmed Joga, scrutinised the handover notes and handed over the report to him (Buhari).
“To be fair to him, he would have hit the ground running if the previous government had handed over the notes early. However, the Jonathan government did not even permit any minister to interact in any way with the Buhari Transition Committee. Evidently, we had our hands tied behind our backs until we took over. Thus, there is nothing shady about it.”
Shehu explained that the ministerial appointments had yet to be made because the committee needed to conclude its findings first, an 800-page report of which was presented to Buhari on Friday.
On Wednesday, there was speculation that the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, was prevented from attending Buhari’s meeting with the National Security Adviser on the orders of the President.
The Vice-President was reportedly denied security clearance to attend the meeting because of security reasons by the President.
In his response, the SSA said, “That is the creation of someone who just wanted to write something. It was on the same day he travelled to Sudan to represent the President, the government and the people of Nigeria at the inauguration of the president of that country.
“He couldn’t have been present in two places at the same time. Osinbajo is the Vice-President of Nigeria. In the absence of the President, he is the President. So, there cannot be dark corners into which he will not be allowed. It is not true.”
Speaking on the National Assembly crisis, the presidential spokesperson expressed conviction that the party with the majority, the All Progressives Congress, and the opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, would coexist harmoniously.