CHUWANG DUNGS writes on the ardous tast before the Gombe State governor-elect, Inuwa Yahaya, as he commences the search for his cabinet members
fter a tense campaign and a crisis free election, on March 10, 2019 the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced that Alh. Mohammed Inuwa Yahaya of the All Progressives Congress (APC) won the Governorship election in Gombe state.
His victory represents an embarrassing defeat for the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Not only did Inuwa Yahaya beat Bayero Nafada of the PDP with a wide margin, the APC also won all the National Assembly seats and got a clear majority in the state parliament.
The elections are over but the task of managing victory with overwhelming majority appears to be a burden the newly elected governor may face in the formation of his new cabinet.
Our correspondent reliably gathered that there are too many persons already lobbying for various positions in the next government, a situation that if not properly managed may cause some upset in the early days of Inuwa’s government.
According to an insider who spoke with LEADERSHIP Sunday on condition of anonymity, some of the gubernatorial aspirants that lost the party primary and those that joined the party at the late hours from the PDP but worked tirelessly in ensuring Inuwa Yahaya and the APC victory in the state, also want their share in the cabinet.
Many party officials and youths are also expected to be rewarded as commissioners, advisers, senior special assistants (SSAs), special assistants (SAs) or any other relevant position.
Some of the leading aspirants like Habu Muazu, Farouk Bamusa, Mohammed Dan Barde, Khamisu Mailantarki are likely to get a place in the cabinet, it was gathered. There are even rumours that one amongst them may occupy the post of chief of staff or secretary to the state government (SSG). Even though People close to them argue that they won’t accept to serve as commissioners and are not keen on joining the cabinet.
The governor-elect is also said to be worried over how to accommodate other elderly politicians like Sen. Idris Umar, Saidu Umar Kumo, Sen. Joshua Lidani, Mohammed Gidado, Lazarus Yoriyo, Jamil Isyaku Gwamna and a host of others. Some of them have even served as senior ministers, senators and federal appointees.
LEADERSHIP Sunday learnt that they may not be interested in holding any position at state level, but may need the governor’s support for federal appointment and they are also lobbying for their share at the state level to settle some of their own loyalists.
Inuwa may even get some outsiders in the cabinet. Some experts who have done remarkably well in their fields are likely to be chosen as commissioners, advisers, SSAs or SAs, a situation that may not be comfortable to committed party followers.
Sen. Danjuma Goje, who played a very crucial role in the victory of the APC and hailed as the chief architect of Inuwa ‘s victory is expected to have a buy-in on how the cabinet is setup.
No doubt it was in view of these challenges that the newly elected governor warned members of the transition and sectoral committees, not to view their appointment as automatic appointment into the incoming cabinet.
The Governor-elect gave the words of caution while swearing in a 31 member transition committee as well as 23 sectoral committees to spearhead a smooth transition from the ruling PDP Government of Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo to his Government on May 29, 2019.
Alhaji Mohammed Inuwa Yahaya emphatically said, “this is neither our intention nor is it our plan”.
According to him, a casual perusal of the list of the members will disclose to all discerning minds that some of the appointees have at one time or the other occupied positions beyond state levels.
He said some are occupying federal positions, such that recalling them to serve at the state level will be more of a disservice to state than an advantage in view of the fact that their replacement may not necessarily come from Gombe State.
Alhaji Inuwa said the transition committee and the sectoral committees are to compliment each other adding that, “ the sectoral committees are the technical arm of the transition committee “.
“As can be seen, the committee is not meant to witch-hunt anybody, it is not a probe panel, it is certainly not an audit committee. The committee is to help us collate, evaluate and analyse data, information and statistics regarding the performance of the various sectors of the state administration and proffer proposals that can improve the sectors”, the Governor-elect stressed.
He also called on them to bring to bear their wealth of experience and knowledge in the discharge of their heavy responsibility without “fear or favour, affection or ill-will”.
The transition committee has five terms of reference which include developing a clear framework of liaison between his government and the incoming government; receive handover documents from ministries, departments and agencies of the State; Assess the quality and accuracy of information provided to it and advise the Governor-elect accordingly; review and make preliminary assessment of the balance sheet of the State Government and to suggest ‘quick fixes’ which will result in tangible and noticeable changes to be achieved within 30 days, 100 days and six months of the administration.
The transition committee is to submit its report to the Governor-elect within three weeks from the day of the inauguration.
In his response, the Chairman of the Transition Committee and pioneer Director-General of the National Pension Commission of Nigeria (PENCOM), Alhaji Mohammed Kabir Ahmed, promised to put in their best for the sake of the state.