Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) speaking at Chatham House

The President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, is said to be considering the reduction of the number of ministers as part of his strategies for reducing the cost of governance.

The Punch learnt that this formed part of the cost-saving proposals which Buhari presented during the All Progressives Congress National Working Committee meeting in Abuja on Wednesday.

Those to be done away with are ministers of state.

The NWC, which is yet to conclude its deliberations on proposals, according a high-ranking member of the APC NWC, is working on various options, including streamlining the ministries and parastatals.

The NWC member said, “No concrete decision has been reached on any of the issues yet. We are still meeting tomorrow.”

The meeting, which was chaired by the party’s National Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, also reviewed the just-concluded general elections, the deadlock in the Taraba State governorship poll as well as the alleged electoral fraud in Rivers and Akwa Ibom states.

National Publicity Secretary of the party, Lai Mohammed, who spoke to journalists during a short break by the committee, confirmed that the NWC reviewed the governorship election.

He added that with the “elections behind us, we have to prepare the ground for the transition committee and for the business of governance.”

When asked to comment on the proposals made by Buhari on streamlining the ministries and parastatals, he dismissed the question.

Mohammed said, “I think you have been listening to a lot of gossips; nothing like that was discussed. All we discussed was to make recommendations to the transition committee; how the government should hit the ground running and what should be the immediate, mid-term and long term policies of the incoming government. So, all these issues of ministers and MDAs are your own imagination.”

Responding to another question on power sharing,   he said, “This government is not going to be like before; we discussed serious issues and honestly, I am telling you what we discussed since morning has been what should be the priority of the incoming government.

“Power sharing was not discussed. I don’t know who gave you information on what was discussed and not discussed. Anyway, we are going to resume the discussion tomorrow (Thursday).”

He said the party was not satisfied with what happened in Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Taraba and Imo states.

Earlier, the party’s candidate in the Taraba State governorship race, Aisha Alhassan, who joined the meeting at some point, drove out of the party’s headquarters at 7.48pm.

She declined comments when reporters approached her. It was however learnt that the NWC received a briefing from her about the happenings in the state after which she answered a few questions and was allowed to leave.

Muhammed also declined to make public the names of the chairman and members of the transition committee.

It was however learnt that the Vice-President- Elect, Yemi Osinbajo, would chair the Buhari transition committee.

Meanwhile, the National Organising Secretary of the APC, Osita Izunaso, and a former Governor of Bayelsa State, Timipreye Sylva, have condemned the April 11 elections in the South -East and the South- South.

They said but for the timely intervention of the APC leaders, the people in some states of the regions would have taken the laws into their hands.

Sylva said the APC and its members especially in Bayelsa State, were confronted with a choice between winning the elections and protecting the lives of the people who were being attacked, intimidated and killed.

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