Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), has been tipped to retain his seat in Buhari’s second term cabinet, SaharaReporters can report.
Abubakar Malami, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), tops the list of a few returning ministers, with Hadi Sirika, Minister of State Aviation, also making the list.
President Muhammadu Buhari had, after securing his reelection, declared publicly that “only people of proven integrity will make the next cabinet”.
Accordingly, the President’s inner clique, Abba Kyari, Mohammed Babagana Monguno, Mamman Daura, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai and Babagana Kingibe, are said to have taken a firm stand, to ensure that many members of the present cabinet are weeded out.
For the SGF, the clique refers to him as a level-headed and a tall, standing stabilizer, especially within Adamawa politics. Other reasons include the expectation that he would play a significant role in the legal battle by Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to challenge the outcome of the presidential election, especially as the SGF has been a long-standing associate of Atiku.
However, Mustapha may face stiff opposition from the wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, for his role in scuttling the chances of her younger brother, Mahmood Halilu Ahmed, during the APC governorship nomination.
For daring to oppose her in that humiliating manner, SaharaReporters gathered that Aisha Buhari has also shopped for Mustapha’s replacement. Mohammed Buba Marwa, who hails from the same Adamawa State as Mustapha, is being positioned from Mrs. Buhari’s camp to take over the SGF job in the new cabinet.
However, Aisha’s move may be contained by the cabal, since, over time, Buhari has been swayed against her where conflicts of interest arose.
Mrs. Buhari has had cause to repeatedly cry out and openly allege that her husband’s government is ‘cabal-driven’, an allegation the President has openly denied.
But much of the drama that would characterise Buhari’s second term may be staged in the South-West, as sources are predicting that Bola Tinubu, the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), may eventually pull out of the party.
This is because the cabal is weaving a strategic plan to checkmate his overbearing influence within APC politics. Part of the plan is to inject a new breed of politicians from the South-West against Tinubu’s interest.
Akinwumi Ambode, outgoing Governor of Lagos State, may top the array of those disgruntled by Tinubu’s control style. If the plan succeeds, all presidential appointees from the South-West may be selected from Tinubu’s bitter rivals. This way, he (Tinubu) would have been cut to size ahead of 2023.
As to why the cabal would turn its back on Tinubu, the answer lies in Buhari’s ready-made 12 million votes in the north, at least, going by the permutation of the cabal. The position of the cabal is that owing to the North’s capacity to produce over 12 million votes, which was the case in the February 23 presidential election, rotational presidency is no longer tenable.
It is, therefore, most likely that the cabal is zeroing in on either Mallam Nuhu Ribadu or Nasir el-Rufai to succeed Buhari in 2023.
For the rest of the south, the cabal has no soft spot for anybody, except that Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science and Technology, and few others are still considered dependable allies.
Somehow, as the theatre of activities would be unveiled with Buhari’s inauguration on May 29, Boss Mustapha is believed by the cabal to possess certain indispensable qualities for the battle ahead.
But as to whether things will work out eventually as planned, only time shall tell.