EXCLUSIVE: How Fayemi, Pauline Tallen Lose Out of SGF Race

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Mrs. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari while on a condolence visit to Dame Pauline Tallen when she lost her husband earlier in the year.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday relieved erstwhile Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Mr. David Babachir Lawal of his duties, while at the same time, he appointed Mr. Boss Mustapha to replace him with immediate effect. Removed alongside with Lawal is the equally suspended Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, Ambassador Ayo Oke. The duo had been investigated through a Presidential Panel headed by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo earlier in the year. Meanwhile, as pressure kept mounting on President Muhammadu Buhari to make public the findings and recommendations of the panel, in its report submitted to him by the Vice President, there were lobbying within government on who should replace the suspended Lawal in the event of his ouster. Reliable sources told this newspaper that top on the list of those considered for the plum job was a one-time Plateau State’s Deputy Governor, Dame Pauline Tallen. Sources said, Tallen, who is also a former Minister of Science and Technology, was initially preferred to cling the prestigious job, and this in considerations of her enormous experience and competence; it was also believed that her appointment would have been a rallying point for women, whose feelings of low representation in the Buhari’s Government have been on the increase. Aside that, Tallen’s choice would have satisfied Christians and the northern minorities, a bloc to which the sacked Lawal belongs. However, forces against her fingered her closeness to the wife of the president, Mrs. Aisha Muhammadu-Buhari as a disadvantage. Insider said the dreaded mafia in the Presidency became disturbed of the possibility of a cerebral Tallen managing the office as powerful as the SGF having the ears of the personality of an audacious First Lady like Hajia Aisha who they believed would be too powerful should the appointment followed went Tallen’s way. Recall that Aisha was at loggerheads with the Villa Mafia who she accused of hijacking the government headed by her husband. Also interested in the post, according to our source, is the former Ekiti State governor and current Minister of Solid Mineral Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.

Dr. Kayode Fayemi.

The Minister, we were told, was making desperate efforts to get the job after been convinced that the former SGF, Babachir Lawal, might not be retained by the President, but Buhari was careful not to risk putting an anti-Asiwaju figure like Fayemi on the seat. Opponents to his appointment argued that the former Ekiti State governor, in spite of his capacity, was however too ambitious and displaying political greed; they wondered why it should be only him, as a minister, yet, planning to return to Ekiti as governor and at the same time, plotting to be the SGF. At the end of it all, the appointment on Monday, of Mr. Boss Mustapha to replace Mr. Babachir David Lawal has ended the intrigues to have either of Tallen or Fayemi rallying the administrative front for the Buhari’s government.  

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