President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari

Going by the words of President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, he has 48 hours to name his much awaited ministers.

Buhari had set himself a deadline to submit his list of ministerial nominees to the Nigerian Senate for screening at the end of September.

Less than 48 hours to his self-imposed time-frame, Nigerians are still eagerly awaiting the list.

Expectations that President Buhari would forward the list before going to Daura for the Sallah celebrations and then New York, United States for the 70th United Nations General Assembly , were dashed. No list was forthcoming from the Villa. And President Buhari is not expected in Abuja until 29 September, a day to the end of the deadline. He gave his speech at the United Nations after midnight Nigerian time and he was expected to head straight to the airport for the journey back to Nigeria.

As matters stand, Buhari appears to be leaving compliance with his self-made pledge to the last minute, with speculations that he had finally sent a list through his senior special assistant, National Assembly matters, Senator Ita Enang, all the way from New York.

Reports said Enang is not expected to arrive Abuja until Tuesday, probably after the Senate may have ended its plenary. At best, Enang, if he is the true list bearer, will submit the list same day or on Wednesday morning, by which time President Buhari would have arrived Abuja himself.

As at Monday evening, the Senate was still awaiting the list, according to a tweet by Senator Dino Melaye, an ally of the embattled Senate President, Bukola Saraki.

If President Buhari is able to keep to the deadline, he would have set a record as the slowest of all Nigeria’s elected leaders in since 1999 to nominate ministers. He has logged four months already since he was sworn in on 29 May 2015.

Goodluck Jonathan, Buhari’s predecessor appointed his ministers in July, less than 40 days after he was sworn-in on 29 May 2011.

Late President Umaru Yar’Adua also named his ministers in July 2007.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo was even fastest: he submitted his list in June 2003 and June 1999, in his two terms as Nigeria’s leader. He also made appointments in-between.

For President Buhari, in the absence of ministers as prescribed by the constitution, he has been governing Nigeria with senior civil servants, a situation that has drawn a lot of criticisms from within and outside Nigeria. Critics blamed the lack of ministers for the absence of an economic direction for Nigeria, in a season of low oil prices and dwindling government revenue.