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Buhari in dilemma over Malami, Keyamo on justice minister portfolio



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The struggle for ministerial portfolios in the new federal cabinet to be formed by President Muhammadu Buhari as the Senate speeds up the screening for the confirmation of the 43 nominees, has continued to accelerate, intensifying pressures in the presidency.

Sources from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) told National Daily that President Buhari is at crossroads of the decision on what portfolio to assign each of the ministerial nominees. This was said not to be unconnected with the intense struggle, lobby and pressures for ‘choice’ portfolios by some of the nominees and their sponsors. The president was said to be at crossroads over who becomes the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice between the former Justice Minister, Abubakar Malami SAN, and the Director of Strategic Communications of his presidential campaign organization, Festus Keyamo SAN.

Party sources further toldNational Dailythat President Buhari had already made up his mind on what portfolio to assign to the nominees before the list was made public but pressures coming from certain interests and some of the nominees who explore their influence and closeness to the President making demands for particular portfolio have been creating confusion for the President.

Keyamo and Malami were revealed to be in hot race for the AGF and Justice Minister; both deploying the contacts and networks at their behest to approach or influence President Buhari for the job.

Malami was said to have the backing of some forces from the north who argue that the Justice Minister is highly sensitive and should be retained in the north. The sponsors cited the ongoing petition at the Presidential Elections Tribunal, beside others. The president was, however, said to be looking critically at the opposing argument that Malami had some flaws during the first tenure which discredited his administration on issues of rule of law and human rights violations before the international community and improper prosecution of some cases in the court of law.

National Dailyfurther learned that there is also the fear that Keyamo having elements of human rights persuasions, might bring in some degrees of radicalism into the judicial system.

The Keyamo group was said to be communicating to President Buhari the capability of Keyamo to deliver on the portfolio.

National Dailyalso learned that President Buhari has no doubt about the capability of Keyamo; he was said to have expressed utmost satisfaction with Keyamo’s publicity performance and image projection during the 2019 electioneering campaigns. This was, however, said to have placed Keyamo between justice minister and information minister on the president’s table.

The final decision on assigning of portfolios would be made after the confirmation of the ministerial nominees by the Senate.