• The politics, the intrigues
• A four-horse race begins
A four-horse race appears to have begun, following endless intrigues and politicking among contending forces in the All Progressives Congress (APC) over who becomes President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief of Staff (COS).
Sources in the party said that the unending intrigues have kept the goalpost being shifted from one candidate to the other in the last six weeks.
A number of party leaders had expected Buhari to announce the man who served as his Chief of Staff during the presidential campaign, Colonel Hamid Ali (retd), a man who has been strongly linked with the job.
But it was gathered that the ceaseless intrigues among leaders of the party has, so far, delayed the announcement of either Ali or any of the other candidates being linked with the job.
Sources had indicated that a former military administrator of Lagos state, Brigadier-General Buba Marwa, has also come onto the scene as a possible candidate, besides a former foreign affairs minister, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe.
Also strongly linked to the job is a former governor of Lagos State, Mr Babatunde Fashola and a former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Abdurahman Dambazzau (retd).
While the duo of Ali and Dambazzau has been linked with other jobs outside the CoS position, Fashola, Kingibe and Marwa have been constant on the trail of the job.
It was gathered that besides the intrigues among party chiefs as to which camp controls the topmost positions in the presidency, the government has been cracking heads on the need for ethnic and geopolitical balance in the making of the critical positions.
Already, reports on social media have indicted Buhari of failing to adhere to the federal character principle in the appointments he has made in recent times, with 10 out of 11 going to the North.
Indeed, some commentators have expressed concern that President Buhari has simply peopled the top hierarchy of security networks with persons of North-West and Katsina origin.
It was learnt that while Dambazzau is being linked to the job of National Security Adviser (NSA), Ali, besides the COS job, is also being linked to the chairmanship of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Sources said that the former governor of Lagos State had come up for consideration in recent times, in view of the need for geopolitical balancing in the Presidential Villa.
But it was also gathered that two things appear to be working against Fashola so far. One is the perceived opposition of Fashola’s predecessor in office, Senator Bola Tinubu, and Fashola’s own independent-mindedness.
It was also gathered that some Northern elements have, however, drawn the line as to the positions that can be conceded to the South within the core of the presidency.
It was gathered that the Northern elements have insisted that a position like that of COS should only go to a pliable Southerner, in the event a Northern candidate cannot be named.
“Though Dambazzau has remained a recurring decimal in the administration in recent weeks, he seems not to have settled for a particular position. He has been wavering from the post of NSA and the COS. But in recent times too, some top challengers like Kingibe and Marwa are showing up to make the contest keen,” a source said.
Sources said that similar intrigues have also delayed the appointment of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) with elements in the North dragging with the South-East and South-South candidates.
The COS, SGF, the Principal Private Secretary to the President and the NSA are positions the president is expected to announce within a week of his assumption of office. But Buhari has been unable to name any in more than 40 days in office.
It was learnt that while Buhari is willing to take some decisions independently, some forces already massing around his presidency have, so far, raised contending issues, thereby slowing down the appointment process of the president’s key personal aides.
Culled from Tribune
• The politics, the intrigues