The Presidency has ordered tighter security around President Muhammadu Buhari’s nephew, Alh. Mamman Daura.
The enhanced security is also for the Chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari and some other members of the President’s Kitchen Cabinet, following protests over the cabinet, which is yet to be formed.
Security agencies, who are screening nominees from the states, are said to be trailing the sponsors of the attacks on Daura and Kyari.
It was also learnt that the President is finalising the consideration of ministerial nominees with three shortlisted per state for broader perspective.
Besides, preliminary background checks on some of the nominees are still on going, but it was unclear last night whether or not the President will have a 36-man cabinet or a 42-man team.
The presidency is said to have been disturbed about personal attacks on Daura and Kyari.
Besides street protests against Kyari in Abuja, there was also the invasion of Daura’s home in Kaduna on Tuesday.
The protesters, who officials believe were sponsored, had assumed that the two leaders and other members of Buhari’s kitchen cabinet could stop their candidates from being ministers.
It was gathered that the presidency was bitter that the jostle for ministerial tickets has become “personal assault.”
A President source said: “The Presidency has directed that security be strengthened for Daura, Kyari and other close associates of the President, who are being targeted.
“The challenge most lobbyists are having is that the President is keeping the list of his incoming cabinet to himself. Not even APC leaders or governors have access to the list.
“Some may have dropped names but the President is always keeping quiet. It is difficult to read his mindset. So, attacking Daura and Kyari was unfortunate. They do not have any role to play in compiling the list of those who will be members of the Federal Executive Council.”
“Security agencies are investigating those behind the unwarranted personal attacks on Daura and Kyari and others being assumed to be in charge of the cabinet list, who are said to be sponsored. “I believe these agencies will unmask them.”
Another source said that the final consideration of likely ministerial nominees is being done by the President.
Most states have as many as three nominees from whom the President will pick one. “The list in most states comprises three nominees, but the President has adopted broader perspective in considering the nominees, including some former ministers.
“Preliminary background checks on some of the nominees are ongoing. But before the President sends the list to the National Assembly in July, the checks would have been concluded and the best chosen for cabinet appointments.”
It was unclear if the President will retain the 36-man structure or allow six more ministers for each of the six geopolitical zones to make 42.
A Presidency source said: “The constitution allows either 36 or 42 ministers. It is the prerogative of the President to determine what is best for the nation.”
Section 147(1-3) directs the President to appoint at least 36 ministers unless the constitution is amended.
The section reads: “There shall be such offices of Ministers of the Government of the Federation as may be established by the President.
“Any appointment to the office of Minister of the Government of the Federation shall, if the nomination of any person to such office is confirmed by the Senate, be made by the President.
“Any appointment under Subsection (2) of this section by the President shall be in conformity with the provisions of Section 14(3) of this Constitution:
“Provided that in giving effect to the provisions aforesaid the President shall appoint at least one minister from each state, who shall be an indigene of such state.”