President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday night in Abuja said he was under tremendous Pressure to release his cabinet list but vowed not to succumb to such pressure, saying unlike the case in 2015 when he had to accept several nominations from his party and individuals, he will only appoint those he knows this time.
The president who made this submission while hosting the leadership of the National Assembly to a dinner behind closed doors in the State House, said he had been under immense pressure from people including those at the dinner to release the list.
A source in the meeting said Buhari insisted that he would resist a repeat of what happened in 2015 when he was compelled to work with persons he never knew in his cabinet, vowing that this time, he would be himself.
According to the source, the president said he would not accept nominations from both the party and individuals this time as he did four years ago, insisting that he will only appoint those he personally knows.
“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 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 didn’t know them. But this around, I’m going to be quite me, me in the sense that I will choose people I personally know,” the president vowed said.
The president’s declaration was shocking in view of the reports credited to Senate President Ahmad Lawan on Wednesday during plenary that the president would send the ministerial list this week.
Confronted by State House correspondents after the dinner on why he told the country that the list would be sent this week, Lawan’s response was further shocking as he denied making such a categorical declaration.
According to the Senate president, he only made a conditional statement that the president “could” send the list before the end of the week and not that he would send it.
He also denied beliefs that the dinner was organised to serve as a forum for the handing over of the list to parliamentarians.
He said: “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.”
Further questioned on the promise he earlier made to the country that the Senate would receive the list this week, Lawan 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’s 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.”