As President Goodluck Jonathan continues with consultations over the composition of his next cabinet, ahead of his inauguration on May 29, indications have emerged that members of opposition parties would be drafted into the government to serve as ministers, special advisers and special assistants.
Although sources in the presidency said Mr Jonathan would establish an inclusive government after his swearing-in, it is still not clear if the president will float a government of national unity (GNU) in the mould of the administration of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, in which he was vice president until last year.
The Yar’Adua administration appointed members of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) into government as ministers and special assistants.
Already, there are indications that the opposition parties that backed the Jonathan/Sambo ticket in the April 16 presidential poll are warming up to be part of the administration come June when the president is expected to constitute his Federal Executive Council (FEC).
Prior to the presidential poll, about 45 opposition parties adopted Mr Jonathan as their candidate while six presidential candidates stepped down for the PDP candidate.
Notable among those that adopted the president were the Labour Party (LP) and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), both of which delivered their strongholds to the PDP flag bearer.
The presidential candidates that stepped down for Mr Jonathan were Peter Nwagu of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Godwill Nnaji of the Better Nigeria Progressive Party (BNPP), Solomon Akpona of the Nigerian Mandate Progressive Party (NMDP) and Batos Nwadike of the Peoples Mandate Party (PMP). Lawson Igboanugo of the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) and the candidate of the United National Party for Development (UNPD) also dumped their bid to support Mr Jonathan, citing his potential to unite the country.
The parties, according to sources in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), were in turn promised some rewards if Mr Jonathan won the election.
The ACN is also expected to present some candidates to Mr Jonathan for consideration as members of his executive. Although the party did not formally ally itself with the PDP, its leaders are known to have reached some agreement with the PDP ahead of the presidential election not to mobilise voters against Mr Jonathan’s candidacy in the party’s southwest stronghold.
Not for naught
Among those believed to be on the consideration list are the national chairman of the LP, Dan Nwanyanwu and APGA’s Dora Akunyili, who resigned from government as information minister to contest the Anambra Central senatorial district election.
It was also learnt that Mr Jonathan may consider bringing in one or two members of the ANPP and the ACN into the proposed broad-based government.
Mr Nwanyanwu however refused to confirm yesterday that he was being considered to join the Jonathan administration.
“Did I tell you I am looking for a job? I am not unemployed,” he told NEXT angrily in a telephone interview yesterday, saying, “What is your problem with unity government?” The LP boss also said that the party supported Mr Jonathan in the election and not the PDP, insisting that there is clear difference between the two.