Following reports that the Presidency was getting ready to announce a major cabinet reshuffle in the New Year, it has emerged that some forces have initiated moves aimed at stalling the plan.
Sources in the polity confirmed that immediately reports emanated that the Presidency had hinted the National Assembly of a possibility of cabinet reshuffle this January, some forces went to work with the sole aim of frustrating the plan.
It was learnt that emissaries started making moves around the power base to sell an idea aimed at postponing the cabinet change agenda.
At least 10 ministers were said to have been penciled in for change as the government of President Muhammadu Buhari was said to be looking for “more dynamic persons who can help push things through in certain sectors.”
Multiple sources confirmed that the lobbyists seeking a postponement of the cabinet change were sending emissaries to the president to put off the plan till May, when his administration would clock two years in office.
It was learnt that the lobbyists were arguing that the president needed to allow the ministers stay a bit longer till the second anniversary of his government.
Sources said the lobbyists were of the view that since the Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, who is set to resume at the United Nations (UN) would not leave the government till February, the president could hold on till the end of February.
It was also gathered that some forces were of the view that to stave off the pressure for cabinet change, the president could name the nominee from Kogi and Gombe states to replace the late James Ocholi, who died in March 2016 and Amina Mohammed, who is set to resume at the UN as Deputy Secretary General.
The development is coming on the heels of further investigation which indicated that the government might have gone far with the planned reshuffle and that the names of prospective candidates were already being examined at the right quarters.
It also emerged that the government was already considering a substantive ministerial slot for Ondo State, which joined the league of states controlled by the All Progressives Congress (APC) with the result of the November 26 governorship election.
Sources said part of the cabinet change was the plan to reduce the workload of the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, who might be asked to drop one of the ministries to be ceded to the Ondo nominee.
“The government is of the view that the workload of the Minister of Power, Works and Housing should be reduced to ensure efficiency and focus.
“The thinking is also informed by the fact that with the coming of Ondo State into the APC fold in the South-West, the ministerial nominee from the state will now head a substantive ministry,” a source said.
Besides, it was confirmed that two senatorial districts of Kogi were already at a loggerheads over who picks the vacant ministerial slot, with Kogi West and Kogi East in intense battle.
Sources stated that with the Central senatorial district occupying the governorship seat, Kogi West and East were now struggling to secure the slot.
No fewer than five names from the two Kogi senatorial districts had been linked to the top job, sources confirmed on Monday.
A source mentioned some of the names already linked to the ministerial slot from Kogi East as including Senator Emmanuel Dangana and Mr Edward Onoja.
It was also gathered that a former running mate to the late governorship candidate of the party in the November 2015 election in Kogi, Honourable James Faleke, was also being linked to the ministerial slot.
Also being linked to the vacant ministerial slot were a former acting governor of the state, who was also a former speaker, Honourable Clarence Olafemi, as well as the senatorial chairman for the party in Kogi West, Chief Gbenga Ashagun.