Buhari Explains Why He Has Not Appointed Ministers, Says He’s Not In A Hurry
President Muhammadu Buhari is alarmed by the extent of public interest generated by his hesitation to compose his cabinet two weeks after coming to power.
Attributing the delay to the “lack of cooperation” from the administration of former president Gooduck Jonathan, Buhari said he needs time to study the report that the transition committee handed over to him three days ago.
In an exclusive interview with ARISE News, a sister television network of THISDAY, the president also spoke on the emergence of Bukola Saraki as senate president and Yakubu Dogara as speaker of the house of reps.
“I don’t know why people are so anxious for the ministers. But eventually we will have them,” he said.
“The main reason is that I had a transition committee, which I agreed with former President Goodluck Jonathan that the ministers of the outgone government should handover their notes and documents to this transition committee so that we could be prepared.
“The ministers knew that they were going but the technocrats, permanent secretaries and so on, knew they will remain. So if anything goes wrong, they will be invited to explain.
“Unfortunately, the outgone government did not cooperate, so what the committee did was to divide itself into about five sub-committees, and I (only) got the report, I think, three days ago.
“I was waiting for that report because I would like to know what positions there are in the government, especially in terms of the finance and petroleum portfolios. So I’m not in a hurry to get ministers.”
On the new leadership of the national assembly, Buhari said that although he did not interfere with the election, some of the protagonists should not have been desperate to the extent of striking an alliance with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He used the presidential primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to buttress his points in that regard.
“For example, when we came to our party’s primary for the presidential election, four of us stood (in the primary). There was no problem because it is part of the system,” he said.
“I happened to win and they agreed there and then that we should all work for the party. But unfortunately, in this national assembly, there was a division. So it’s up to them (legislators) to sort it out.
“There is a system in the national assembly – the house of representatives and the senate – they have got their own criteria for choosing their leaders.
“We had a meeting and I told the party’s caucus that I’m not going to interfere, because constitutionally, I have no role as president-elect (back then) to tell the party who to recommend or put (forward) as a candidate.
“The party didn’t want to present two candidates because if they presented two candidates, what we heard occurred (would have) eventually happened.
“But then Saraki did not agree with that; he virtually divided the party and he got the support of the PDP and he allowed a PDP senator to become his deputy.”