…Asiwaju’s Erstwhile Commissioners to Top List
As lobbyists continue to mill around Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Lagos State Governor-elect, for appointments as Commissioners and other offices, indications have emerged that the All Progressives Congress (APC) apex Leaders, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; former State Chairman, Henry Ajomale, and former Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, will decide those who will make the cabinet list.
Top APC sources confided in The NEXT EDITION at the weekend that Asiwaju Tinubu, the APC National Leader and godfather of Lagos politics, would indeed have upper hand and had already enlisted some former Commissioners who served under him when he was the state governor.
The ex-Commissioners had wanted to succeed him, but were dropped in the last minute in favour of Babatunde Fashola, his then Chief of Staff.
The sources stated that some of the former Commissioners had thought that they were in good books of Tinubu to succeed him then and were preparing grounds for the party’s primaries and had even printed posters as well as made a few public appearances as aspirants under the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).
However, at the dying minute, according to our sources, they were individually called and told in clear terms that the Alausa seat of power was not vacant and were advised to indicate in whatever capacity they could serve the state apart from the governorship.
Some of the then commissioners who managed to stay till the end of Tinubu’s tenure, however, became inactive, though they remained in the party, while others defected to other parties, where they could not make much impact.
Although some of the former Commissioners also left to their states of origin to contest for offices, a few others bagged federal appointments, while others who left the party, returned and had been very active in the APC and helped the party win the 2015 and 2019 general elections.
Our source maintained that as the election had been won and people were being pencilled down for appointments by the in-coming governor, the party’s leadership in the state felt that the time had come to reward these ex-Commissioners and aspirants, whose dreams of governing Lagos were cut short by the special privilege granted to Fashola then.
This, the party leaders felt, would assuage any bitter feelings among the ex-Commissioners and pay them back for their loyalty to the platform over the years from the days of Alliance for Democracy (AD) to ACN and APC.
The source, who pleaded anonymity, stressed: “In fact, Sanwo-Olu will make do with these ex-Commissioners as his cabinet members. Many of them will be rewarded this time around. One of them, a very powerful lady in the party who returned from the PDP with her full structures, has been tipped as Secretary of the State Government (SSG).
“Most of the younger people who have been lobbying for appointment as Commissioners may not be named as such. The position of Commissioners and Special Advisers may be a no-go area for them. But, they may be appointed Senior Special Assistants (SSAs) or other positions in agencies.”
The sources stressed that Asiwaju Tinubu, as the party leader, has a very strong influence over who would become members of Lagos State cabinet, adding that after the APC leader has finished compiling the list, he would then invite other leaders like Henry Ajomale, the party’s former State Chairman and Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, a former Commissioner under Tinubu and immediate past Governor of Osun State for their input.
One of the sources said there was nothing anybody could do about the arrangement by the leadership of the party as that has been the usual practice in Lagos State, adding that the governor-elect would never think of going against the wishes of the party leaders.
The sources indicated that one of the people the party’s leadership has been having sleepless night over on how to reward him was Moshood Salvador, the ex-PDP State Chairman who defected to APC before the elections with his mega structure, and contributed immensely to the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari and Sanwo-Olu.
The NEXT EDITION gathered that Salvador might be given a federal appointment as he might not want to be a commissioner.
However, the snag about Salvador might be the special interest President Buhari seemed to have taken on Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, who the sources said, might be considered as a replacement of Fashola who has served for four years in the federal cabinet and might be offered another plum appointment, likely at the ambassadorial level.
The sources, however, maintaned there was still room for new additions and subtractions since the list was still being considered as it would take some days after the May 29 inauguration for both Sanwo-Olu and Buhari to name their cabinets and by then the APC leaders would have concluded their vetting.