There are strong indications that the immediate past governors of Lagos, Adamawa and Bauchi states, Akinwunmi Ambode, Mohammed Bindow and Mohammed Abubakar, may be part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s next cabinet.
According to Punch, the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress had resolved that all the APC governors who lost their re-election bids would “automatically’ become the ministerial nominees for their states.
Ambode, Bindow and Abubakar failed in their re-election bids in the last general elections. The APC Organising Secretary, Adamawa State chapter, Ahmed Lawan, confirmed the development.
Lawan, who said the leadership of the party had yet to call for any list from the state chapter, however, said Bindow might be “automatically” nominated for the state, following the directive from the national leadership of the party.
Bindow lost his second-term bid to Ahmadu Fintiri of the Peoples Democratic Party in a rerun.
Lawan, who is also aspiring for the office of the National Secretary of the APC, said, “That is the directive from the national leadership and there’s no nomination outside of Bindow. They never asked us to make any nomination. That is the arrangement; any state where the governor lost, the governor will be given a ministerial slot.”
Following the development, Ambode who lost in a controversial primary election to Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu may represent Lagos State in the ministerial list while Abubakar who lost to Bala Mohammed of the Peoples Democratic Party is expected to clinch the Bauchi State slot.
Presidency sources said Ambode enjoyed the favour of Buhari and his men and that there were strong indications he would make the list. It has, however, been gathered that party men loyal to the National Leader of the ruling party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, may have begun moves to scuttle plan to appoint Ambode as a minister.
Top party chiefs in the Mandate Group alleged that the immediate past governor of Lagos State frustrated many party members in Lagos State during his tenure and there was therefore the need “to teach him a lesson.”
Consequently, the aggrieved party men were said to be making moves to petition the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over Ambode’s alleged financial misappropriation and corruption.
Ambode, who has been out of the country since he left office in May, returned from France a few days ago. He was said to be favoured by Buhari’s kitchen cabinet. Sources within the Lagos APC told Punch that Ambode was not a loyal party man as he offended some party members and any move to reward him would be opposed vehemently by the party.
One of the sources said, “Ambode tried to destroy the party in his first term. Apart from not being accessible, he revoked contracts belonging to party members and brought in his own companies. He tried to destroy our chances by trying to undermine Sanwo-Olu at every turn.
“He did not campaign for us. Rather, he was following Buhari all over the place. He should not expect to represent Lagos in any capacity. We will not allow him have any appointment.” Another source alleged that Ambode was not an indigene of Lagos State.
The source said, “Ambode is from Ondo State and he cannot deny it. Yes, he was governor in Lagos State but the constitution allows that. However, the constitution states clearly that only an indigene of a state can represent that state as far as ministerial appointments are concerned.
“We will ensure that the three senators from Lagos State block his nomination in the event that he is nominated by the President. There must be party discipline.” The source said a probe of Ambode’s administration would soon commence where the cases of alleged fraud and abuse of office would be exposed.
A source close to Ambode, however, said the former governor was prepared for the battle ahead. He said Ambode’s gentle mien should not be mistaken for weakness.
The former aide said, “Ambode is already prepared for the worst since they have already humiliated him. Buhari even appealed to them to let Ambode return as governor but they refused. They then tried to impeach him but they failed.
“They should remember that Ambode was a permanent secretary and accountant-general of the state before becoming a governor. “He knows the secrets of all those making threats. Anybody who is on a mission of revenge could be digging his own grave in the process. I won’t say more than that.”
Attempts to speak with Tinubu’s aide, Tunde Rahman, proved abortive as he neither picked calls nor responded to a text message on Friday.