Ministerial Appointments: How Bill Gate’s Visit May Alter The Equation
Barring unforeseen circumstance, the anxiety over names of those that may make the list of nominees to be submitted to the Senate for screening and confirmation as Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu might be put to rest this week.
This was as it was gathered that the visit of world famous Billionaire, Bill Gate to President Tinubu might like affect some of the nominees particularly in some key thematic and critical sectors of the nation’s economy that have direct impact on the lives of the people.
It was gathered from credible source in the presidency that the visit of Bill Gate to President Tinubu was more than meet the eyes as he specifically requested the president on the need to appoint some particular persons for the Health, ICT and Education sectors of the economy.
The development is believed not to have gone down well with some power blocs within the presidency close to President Tinubu, who saw the move as a direct attempt to not only interfere but directly determine for the administration how it should run and manage the affairs of the country.
It was further gathered that Bill Gate specifically demanded of President Tinubu to nominate Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate, who was recently appointed as Chief Executive Officer of GAVI Board for the position of Minister of Health.
This is not going down well with some core party loyalists close to President Tinubu, who felt that a faithful and loyal party member like Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe, who is so vast and knowledgeable in health matters and also sponsored over 15 health related Bills while in the Senate should be jettisoned.
Dr. Ali Pate was recently appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of the Vaccine Alliance by the GAVI Board following an extensive recruitment process and was expected to assume duty on August 3, 2023. He had written accepting the appointment before a new twist following the visit of Bill Gate to Nigeria.
While accepting the appointment, Dr. Pate had said; “It will be my privilege to lead Gavi and continue to support countries to scale up critical routine immunisation programmes, reach more zero-dose children, expand access to new vaccines, transform primary health care systems, and help fight outbreaks and future pandemics.”
The visit of Bill Gate has set tongues wagging as close political allies of the president are not comfortable with his the afterthought decision by Dr. Pate to decline the multi-billion dollars GAVI appointment for a ministerial appointment.
Some of the close aides to President Tinubu are of the view that the influence by persons such as Bill Gate is akin to neo-colonialism just as they believe that the loyalty of such an appointee will not be to the country but, to the person that influence his appointment thus, may endanger the country’s interests
Another source said; “Why would someone that blocked other qualified Nigerians from the same GAVI position he is now rejecting for a ministerial slot, be considered ahead of other equally qualified Nigerians. We have party faithful members that worked so hard for the victory of the President who were pencilled down for the job.
“If party loyalty is not rewarded, it would make it difficult to get people to willingly support and work so hard for the party and its candidates in future.
“More importantly, is the fact that the ‘Renewed Hope Health Agenda’ required some one that not only has the technical know-how but, has deep knowledge of political-economy and undercurrents of the Nigerian health sector. This is what has been missing,” he stressed.
Similarly, this was as another source said that former governor of Kano State, Dr. Umar Abdullahi Ganduje, Chief Nyesom Wike, Femi Fani-Kayode and Festus Keyamo have increase the level of their lobby for ministerial slots.
It was gathered that of the four, Chief Wike’s nomination seems to be generating ripples among some key presidency staff that are concerned with trust and loyalty thus, of the view that the recalcitrant nature of the former Rivers State governor may not be ideal for the type of administration that President Tinubu would want to run.
While admitting that the anti-party activities of Wike worked in favour of President Tinubu and the APC at the federal level, the source said that deep within every committed politician, it was clear that such attitude is not one that should in any way be encouraged.
According to the source; ‘’Wike can be compensated by making him to nominate his key allies to be appointed but not him taking such a position. His erratic disposition cannot be easily gauged or determined and that is dangerous for the administration’’.
As the days go by, some of the close aides of the President are believed to be pulling the strings to ensure that he (Tinubu) keeps to his words in compensating those that worked so hard for the victory of the APC.
President Tinubu had assured saying; “I will definitely reward people that have been with me for years and have shown loyalty at all times”.
The close aides are concerned of what the President would tell Nigerians if he was asked the reward of loyalty against the backdrop of those that worked so hard for his and that of the APC victory at the polls.