Tinubu returns today, may present ministerial list after Sallah

President Bola Tinubu is scheduled to fly in from London today ahead of  Eid-el-Kabir celebrations, The PUNCH has learnt.

The Presidency had on Saturday said the President headed for the UK from France, where he had been attending a summit for ‘A New Global Financing Pact’ hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron.

“Tinubu, who was initially scheduled to be back in Abuja on Saturday, will now proceed to London, United Kingdom, for a short private visit,” a statement signed by the President’s Special Adviser on Special Duties, Communication and Strategy, Dele Alake, read on Saturday.

However, the statement was silent on the particular day of Tinubu’s return, saying the “President will be back in the country in time for the upcoming Eid-el-Kabir festival.”

Confirming the day of his arrival, Presidency sources told our correspondent on Monday that the Nigerian leader would return to his private Ikoyi home in Lagos later on Tuesday to observe his first Sallah celebration as President.

“I am are certain that he will return to Lagos tomorrow (Tuesday), not Abuja. That’s where he will observe Sallah,” the source said.

In April, The PUNCH reported that mixed reactions trailed the absence of the President-elect from the Eid el-Fitr celebrations.

Although the then President-elect issued a statement conveying his Sallah message to Nigerians, he was not spotted on any prayer grounds in Lagos or Abuja.

This time, sources say that he is billed to join other dignitaries for the Eid prayers at the Obalende Muslim Prayer ground located at Dodan Barracks, the former seat of the Nigerian government.

It would be recalled that hours before the end of his tenure, former President Muhammadu Buhari directed that the control of Obalende Eid Prayer Ground be returned to the Lagos Jama’atul Muslimeen Council of the Lagos Central Mosque.

A Presidency source said although “the holiday lasts until Thursday, Tinubu may extend his stay till Sunday or Monday next week before he returns to Abuja.”

He returns amidst uncertainty about his ministerial list, which is almost ready to be sent to the National Assembly.

Another source, who spoke with The PUNCH, said, “I learned that Tinubu’s ministerial list is almost done. He kept a core of ministers to himself, heavily influenced by the kitchen cabinet of SAs.

“The politicians are in ‘Bolekaja’ over the rest. It’s a slugfest now.”

In March, Alake, then Special Adviser to the President-elect, said Tinubu would constitute his cabinet within one month of assuming office.

Alake said this is in line with the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, mandating Presidents-elect and governors-elect to submit the names of their ministerial and commissioner-nominees within 60 days of taking the oath of office for confirmation by the Senate or state House of Assembly.

He said, “I told you in an earlier interview that it didn’t take Asiwaju more than three weeks to form his cabinet as governor.

“That was as at that time. I think 60 days is even too much.

“A month, maximum, is enough for any serious government to form its cabinet and put a structure of government in place after the swearing-in.”

Re-echoing the narrative, the then Director of Media and Publicity for the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council, Bayo Onanuga, said, “What I can assure you is that even if the list is not ready on the first day, it will not take Asiwaju more than one month to put his cabinet together. He definitely will not wait for 60 days to assemble a competent cabinet.”

In 2015, Nigerians lamented the delay by the Buhari administration in appointing ministers, which took about six months to form its cabinet.

(Punch)