An exclusive report according to Authority Newspaper suggests that President Mohammadu Buhari may engage in a minor cabinet reshuffle just 8 months in his administration.
The cabinet swap according to our source may be due to some incompetence and the image of the Federal Government.
The likely affected ministries are Infomation, which it minister, Alhaji lai Mohammed may be swapped with his solid mineral's counterpart, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; While the Foreign affair minister, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama may be swapped with Hajiya Amina Mohammed of Ministry of Environment.
Eight months in power and three months after the appointment of ministers, the Buhari administration is tinkering with an idea of a minor cabinet reshuffle, affecting two very prominent ministries, going by the information available to The AUTHORITY, via a very dependable source very close to the seat of power.
It was learnt that the cabinet reshuffle would involve the switch of places between the bosses of the affected ministries. In that process, according to our information, the foreign affairs minister will swap positions with his colleague in the environment ministry, while the information minister, as our correspondent was told, would switch places with the minister of solid minerals.
According to our source, the president might not have been very pleased with the performance of the Enugu-State born foreign affairs minister, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, a reputed operator in the Diaspora, who was brought into the system, almost from nowhere, to man the very important ministry, at the time, it was hoped, the new administration needed a good hand with international contacts, to repair the damage reputedly done to Nigerian image, by the last administration.
However, according to our source, Mr Onyeama is said to have turned out, in the sight of his boss, to be a square peg in a round hole. “He is definitely a very intelligent and very hard working person”, in the words of our source, “but he might only have been working in the background, and is rather laid back and might not have shown much dynamism in advertising the administration’s new foreign policy thrust”.
The source further told The AUTHORITY that Mr Onyeama, who had distinguished himself in Diaspora Affairs, might have been over-rated, as it is being said that he might do well as a senior bureaucrat, rather than as a political appointee. Our reporter was further informed that his name might have been suggested by one of the influential aides of the president, who was said to have taken some postgraduate courses in a London university with him.
Two strong indications of the alleged presidential disaffection with Mr Onyeama include the appointment, earlier in the week, of Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, as the senior special adviser to the president on foreign affairs. It is being interpreted in power circles as an indication that the president requires more help in diplomatic matters, especially with the Diaspora population, whose support the government has been courting, for the economic amelioration of the country. Hon Dabiri-Erewa was the chairperson of the House of Representatives committee on Diaspora affairs and is expected to bring her experience and wide contacts to bear on her new job.
Another indication that the Foreign Minister might have received a yellow card was the fact that a day after Mrs Dabiri-Erewa’s appointment, another minister with a foreign affairs experience was picked to pronounce on a major foreign affairs issue instead of the foreign minister. It would be recalled that after the Federal Executive meeting last Wednesday, Hajiya Amina Mohammed, the Minister of Environment, who has had some diplomatic experience at the United Nations, was called upon to justify the incessant foreign trips of the president to the Nigerian public which had been raising loud protests over them.
“Ordinarily, the foreign minister should have formally or informally done that much earlier without a formal orchestration”, our source claimed.
The AUTHORITY was informed by the same source that Mr Onyeama is likely going to be shooed to the ministry of environment, while the more vibrant Mrs Mohammed would be installed as the new foreign affairs minister, in his place.
In the same vein, The AUTHORITY was informed that even though the president might have been adamant in his support for Alhaji Lai Mohammed as the Information and Culture Minister, his rigidity might have started to thaw in the face of incessant complaints of trusted aides and top-hats of the party, over what is being increasingly seen as the inadequacy of the information minister at his post.
Our source indicated that complaints, from top leaders of the party and government, had started as trickles but have grown into torrents, against the information management methods of Mr. Lai Mohammed, which have also become a regular object of attacks, especially in the social media. According to our source, “nobody is happy about the widespread classification of the spokesman of a government that puts a lot of premium on integrity, in a regular bad light, as he is being daily and widely being dubbed as a liar, and that is not good both to the image of the government locally or internationally”.
The AUTHORITY was, therefore, told that Mr Lai Mohammed might be moved over to the ministry of solid minerals over which Dr Kayode Fayemi currently superintends, while Fayemi would be moved to become the information minister. It was observed that the former Ekiti State governor is generally seen as a very suave, likeable and diplomatic person whose amiable nature is expected to resonate with the public as well as the media.
Accordingly, when Fayemi was being screened at the Senate, prior to his ministerial confirmation, it was the expectation of many that he would be appointed as the foreign affairs minister, saying that it is now the impression of many within the power circles that he will do as well in the information ministry.
When The AUTHORITY sought to know from the inside source if there would be no action at the finance ministry, the source said that he has no information on that, but confirmed that the president is also tinkering with the idea of constituting an Economic Team.