IT emerged at the weekend that a powerful Northern caucus within the All Progressives Congress (APC) has kickstarted moves to take control of the structure of government in the incoming administration of the president-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari.
Sources within the party confirmed to Sunday Tribune that the powerful caucus forced a change of heart by Buhari in the configuration of the transition committee.
It was gathered that the General had confided in top officials of the outgoing government that he would make the vice-president-elect, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, chair his transition committee but last minute pressure from the Northern caucus was said to have altered the calculation and ensured the emergence of a former Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mallam Ahmed Joda, as head of the transition committee.
But other independent sources also told the Sunday Tribune that the decision to change Osinbajo as the chairman of the transition committee might be aimed at insulating him from the politics of the early days.
A source said that Buhari had earlier told the outgoing government that the vice-president-elect would head his transition committee since Vice-President Namadi Sambo is the head of the government’s transition team.
The deal, however, changed at the last minute following some other calculations, the sources said.
It was learnt that a think-tank that worked on the composition of the transition committee told the president-elect that Osinbajo should be insulated from politics at this time.
Sources, however, indicated that while the representation from the North appears strong and is made up of persons who have direct access to General Buhari, the same cannot be said of those that make the list from the southern parts of the country.
It was also touted that the South-West got four nominees on the 18-man committee due to the influence of Senator Bola Tinubu.
A source, however, said that only Mr Wale Edun appears to be the close ally of Tinubu on the committee, while some of the names; especially that of a technocrat, Mr. Doyin Salami, were influenced by Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.
Besides the composition of the committee reflecting a strong Northern configuration, a source said that the committee also has as its secretary Mallam Adamu Adamu, while Salami will serve as its vice chairman.
The transition committee also includes former Legal Adviser to the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Abubakar Malami and a close ally of General Buhari, Senator Hadi Sirika as well as General Lawal Jafaru Isa, who is being touted as the incoming Minister of Defence.
Other members of the committee are Mr. Boss Mustapha; Malam Muhammad Hayatuddin; Alhaji Abubakar Malami (SAN); Professor Tam David-West; National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, Rivers State governor, Chief Rotimi Amaechi; Mr. Festus Odimegwu; Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu; Mrs. Nike Aboderin; Mrs. Bola Adesola; Mr Solomon Dalong and Chief Audu Ogbeh.
Before the 18-man committee was unveiled, General Buhari had nominated an inauguration committee being led on the APC side by former Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Timpre Silva and also has as its members Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa; Ambassador Babagana Kingibe; Alhaji Isa Funtua and Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje. (Sunday Tribune)