How ‘Buhari Boys’ Stopped Fani-Kayode From Replacing Mohammed as Information Minister

Facts have emerged why former Minister of Aviation, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, has not been appointed a minister after staging a return to the APC some weeks ago.

It was widely reported that President Muhammadu Buhari would embark on a cabinet reshuffle for the second time since taking over as President and one of the persons expected to be compensated was the President’s fierce critic, Mr Fani-Kayode.

But that has not happened yet. And the reason, according to THE WHISTLER’s findings, may be due to pressure mounted on the President by those who have formed a formidable bloc around him, known as the ‘Buhari Boys’.

People around the Presidential Villa know that they have the ears of the president because he trusts them.

Among this group are a ministers, legislators and close presidential aides.

They include, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan , the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Pantami, Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu and another minister from the North West.

The Buhari boys are an emerging power block in the administration.

They are young and emerging politicians who are elected or appointed in Buhari’s government.

They hope to advance Buhari’s political philosophy and ideology believing that the Presidential had done well and should be celebrated.

This informed the recent writing by the President’s Special Assistant on Media, Femi Adesina, in which he said Nigerians respect Buhari more than former Nigerian President, the late Nnamdi Azikiwe and former nationalist, late Obafemi Awolowo.

Malami was said to be opposed to Mr Fani-Kayode’s emergence as a minister after his relentless attacks on the President at every given opportunity.

A source told THE WHISTLER in an exclusive interview on Sunday that the President was prevailed upon not to make the move as it would not only cast him and his administration in bad light but give another opportunity for critics to accuse him of condoning corruption.

The group was alleged to have informed the President of Mr Fani-Kayode’s lack of political importance even though the latter was well received in a well publicised red carpet reception by the President at the Villa.

While it was alleged that Mr Fani-Kayode’s reception was planned by the APC caretaker National Chairman, Mai Mala Buni and Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Mr Ibrahim Gambari, the group minced no words in telling the President that Mr Fani-Kayode had no political value.

The former minister was not welcomed in his home state of Osun, which he claimed as his ancestral home and failed to turn up to register to obtain the party’s membership card.

Instead, Mr Fani-Kayode obtained the membership card in Abuja, after playing host to party executives from the Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC.

This development, many observers cited as reason why Mr Fani-Kayode’s re-entry into the APC has no real political consequence.

In fact, the source who made the revelation alleged that the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed was billed to be sacked while Mr Fani-Kayode would have replaced him.

“This was expected to ensure that, Fani-Kayode’s relentless attack would now have been targeted at his former party, the PDP,” the source explained.

The highly placed source at the Presidential Villa further explained that, while there was divided opinion on Mr Fani-Kayode’s re-entry into the APC, it was well calculated and arrived at to allow him clean up exactly what he had accused the President and the party to be.

Reminded that being a Minister of Information was different from being a party’s spokesman or the president’s spokesman, he bellowed that “selling the President’s performance is the same as telling people you were wrong in your earlier criticism.

“You criticized the President and turned around to tell people how excellent he had performed means you are selling him. What better way than your enemy speaking good of you. All the fallacies and inconsistencies would be the same things that he would have started to clean up.

“But a formidable group loyal to the president even though circumspect but later disposed to his return to the APC, placated the President that it was a wrong move.

“Instead, they said Mr Fani-Kayode should be used as APC’s spokesman during the Presidential election campaign from next year.”

Another source craving anonymity said it would have been a disaster to immediately appoint not just someone who had vilified and said unprintable things about the President, but is standing trial for corruption, as a minister, days after he rejoined APC.

The reliable source who’s an APC National Executive member told THE WHISTLER in a telephone chat that, “It would have been counter productive to appoint a man of Mr Fani-Kayode’s standing as a minister days after he decamped to a party he called ‘Fulani Party’.

He stated further,
“Nothing he didn’t say of Mr President. How then do you marry the two even though he said things had changed before he rejoined APC but I tell you what! Not many people, not i nor real political stakeholders in the party believed him.

“We know Nigerian politicians are shameless as all they care for is their pocket but there’s a depth to these things. We mustn’t allow people who speak freely because they hide under ethnic umbrella to get away with it.

“The Justice Minister being a man of high moral standing wouldn’t have accepted such inglorious appointment. I’m not saying it won’t happen, it may and may not but for now, it hasn’t happened and the timing was wrong,” he added.

It was revealed to THE WHISTLER that one of the promises made to Mr Fani-Kayode once he rejoins APC, was compensating him with an appointment, specifically a ministerial position.

But the inner forces of opposition against such a move especially as Mr Fani-Kayode received a lot of sticks have convinced the President that it would have been a bad political calculation if he went ahead with the appointment.

The source said this development was what has delayed the second cabinet reshuffle by the President in as many years since his emergence as President.

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