As President-elect Bola Tinubu prepares to be sworn in as Nigeria’s President tomorrow by Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, speculations continue to swirl regarding his initial appointments. Traditionally, there are three crucial positions that the new President is expected to fill in order to maintain the smooth functioning of the government until further appointments receive the seal of approval from the National Assembly.
The three key appointments are the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Chief of Staff, and presidential spokesperson. Numerous names have been circulating as potential candidates, including close associates of President-elect Tinubu. However, sources close to the President-elect have revealed that no appointments have been confirmed yet, even for the positions that traditionally need to be filled on the first day or shortly after.
According to insiders, President-elect Tinubu has kept allies, close associates, and others guessing about who will make up his cabinet. Reports suggest that Tinubu has not disclosed any potential appointees at any level, including personal aides, officials at the Presidential Villa, and ministers.
This secrecy has heightened anxiety among those lobbying for positions in the incoming government. While some names have been mentioned as potential appointees, such as Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila, Minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola, Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State, and federal lawmaker James Faleke, nothing has been confirmed.
There have been suggestions that Nasir el-Rufai, Aminu Masari of Katsina State, and Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, who are outgoing governors, are contenders for the SGF position. Additionally, former Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State is said to be favored for a ministerial appointment, possibly in the External Affairs portfolio.
It is customary for top members of the ruling party who have lost governorship elections in their states to be compensated with ministerial appointments, and this pattern may continue in the new Tinubu administration.
Regarding the position of Chief of Staff, sources indicate that there is opposition to Femi Gbajabiamila’s potential appointment from some northern leaders. They are reportedly unhappy with Gbajabiamila’s involvement in the selection of Tajudeen Abass as the next Speaker and Benjamin Kalu as Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives. The perceived imposition of Abass from Kaduna State has sparked anger in the North, as some feel that the South-West is attempting to force their choice upon them.
While uncertainties remain about specific appointments, President-elect Tinubu is expected to announce his initial appointments within the coming days. The nation eagerly awaits the composition of his cabinet and key administrative positions, as his choices will shape the direction of the Tinubu government and the fulfillment of his campaign promises.