Every state of the federation produced just one minister in the current government. In the past, some states got more than one, but President Muhammadu Buhari is working hard to cut the cost of running the government and stuck with one for each state as prescribed by the Constitution.
Human rights lawyer and activist, Femi Falana, believes that he should have been the one for Ekiti. President Buhari finally settled for Kayode Fayemi, the former Ekiti governor, instead of Falana, who was believed to have been the preferred candidate of APC national leader, Bola Tinubu.
Falana has now come forward to say he was not included in the list for “ideological reasons” as some people with access to the Presidency believed that he was “too radical” and should not be made attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice.
That’s his view point even though there are many who would argue that faced with a choice between Falana and Fayemi, it was unlikely that the president was going to go for the lawyer whereas the former governor served as the head of the strategy and research directorate of the Buhari Campaign. Before then, Fayemi was the head of the APC committee which conducted the presidential primary that produced Buhari as the party’s candidate. Falana, on the other hand, is not publicly affiliated with the ruling party.
“I was actually contacted. I was actually invited to come on board. It took me appreciable time to make up my mind. Along the way, I was made to understand there were people who were opposed to my appointment for ideological reasons. It is their right to do so,” Falana said in a recent interview with The Interview magazine.
He said the appointment of ministers is within the “exclusive discretion of the president” and that he had put the episode behind him. “For me, it would have been a call to service, not to make money,” he said.
“Those who believed… that I should mobilise people to put in a word for me, or wanted me to speak to somebody I fought on principle several years ago were, of course, disappointed. This guy actually headed one of the universities at a time students were killed. I had to support the students’ cause at that time. You don’t then expect me to go to him and swallow my vomit. This is what I mean by the ideological price.”
Falana said there were also “certain leaders” of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that opposed his appointment because he was not a member of the party. “Of course, they are right. Certain people wanted me to be opportunistic by offering to backdate a membership card for me. I said, ‘no, over my dead body’. I wasn’t looking for a job. I was gainfully employed.”