Barring any last minute change in plans, President Muhammadu Buhari is poised to effect some changes in the federal cabinet in the next couple of weeks. The president is said to be under intense pressure from some ‘powerful’ forces, including his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), to “undertake a cleansing of the Federal Executive Council (FEC),” 
New Telegraph gathered. As part of the impending changes, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun and her foreign affairs counterpart, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, may be moved to other ministries.
Also, the tripod of the Works, Housing and Power Ministry under former Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, may be split into three. Besides, the Transportation Ministry under Mr. Rotimi Amaechi might also be split into Transport and Aviation Ministries.
Senator Hadi Sirika may fully man the Aviation Ministry if it is eventually severed from transportation. For Fashola, whose volume of work is considered ‘unwieldy,’ he has already engaged the man who served as his Works Commissioner in Lagos State, Toyin Hamzat, as his Special Adviser on Works, while equally appointing Faud Oki as Adviser on Housing and Urban Development.
Oki served Fashola’s government in Lagos. Specifically, a source privy to the move hinted that the Finance Minister is seen as being ‘overwhelmed’ by her position and may give way for someone from the South- East considered more ‘grounded’ in economic and fiscal matters.
But it could not be confirmed if the plan to move the Finance Minister to another ministry has anything to do with the cold war between her and the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd). Contrary to established practice where the CG of Customs reported to the Finance Minister, the former military administrator of Kaduna State reports directly to the Presidency.
The Finance Minister has had it rough with about three ministers whose suggestions on the possible solutions to stem the nose-diving economy, especially the weak naira, have been interpreted as undermining her job. She was also said to have had an altercation with Transport Minister, Amaechi, while on a presidential delegation to China.
Adeosun, the immediate past Finance Commissioner in Ogun State, who rode on the back of Governor Ibikunle Amosun to get the ministerial position, is not alone in this category. Onyeama, who mans the Foreign Affairs Ministry, is likely to be affected in the cabinet change.

Already, the president recently appointed a former member of the House of Representatives, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, as his Senior Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs. “Truly, both finance and foreign affairs ministers are having issues. The expected changes may affect them,” a minister told New Telegraph.

The education minister, Mallam Adamu Adamu, has also come under heavy criticism that he lacks the requisite knowledge and experience to supervise the ministry compared to a renowned educationist and former vice chancellor, Prof. Anthony Anwuka, who is junior minister in the ministry. Adamu is a journalist by profession.

Though it could not be independently confirmed if some ministers will be dropped, feelers are strong that the number of ministers of state might be reduced in the event that the president bows to the pressure currently on him as some of them are likely to man the split ministries under the envisaged regime.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, could not be reached for comments as he did not pick calls made to his mobile line. He had yet to respond to a text message on the issue either.

Regardless, a source in the forefront of the president’s election on March 28, 2015, confided that a group of northern politicians had met Buhari before he travelled out to Saudi Arabia and Qatar on the need to ‘do an urgent thing’ about his cabinet.

On the delegation to the president, according to the source, were two former governors, now senators, a serving northern governor and two traditional rulers. The source said: “We cannot pretend that all is well, especially when there are brazen acts that can bring disrepute to the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“From what we have discovered, the need for the president to reorganise his cabinet is becoming increasingly necessary by the day, particularly when there are signs that some incompetent persons have found their ways to the cabinet.

“This is not to disparage or denigrate persons, but the truth need to be told this time that there are some round pegs in square holes and the need to arrest or stem this tide is now because, from all indications, if nothing is done now, more issues that will ridicule the president and government are likely to emerge in the next few months.

“For God’s sake, what is a journalist doing as education minister and supervising a professor of education? Is that thinkable at all? And you think people should not talk to the president? “So, the need to urgently do something came up and a few concerned persons had to approach the president to sound him out that something urgent must be done as far as his cabinet is concerned, those found to be incompetent must pave the way for those who can make things happen.

“In fairness to the last administration, aside the plundering of the nation’s finances, it had one of the best economic management team with sound ministers of finance at different times. “We are in an era that only ideas can make things work and, from our assessment of some of the ministers, they are just filling slots without inputs from them and we think such era is gone.

“It is our duty to let him know and it is his responsibility to do the needful because the whole world is watching us as a nation as we are battling with our economy and the security challenges.” New Telegraph learnt that Adamu may be moved to man the Information Ministry while Lai Mohammed moves to a new ministry.

The president is said be considering taking out Culture and Tourism from Information. Though the pressure on Buhari to effect changes in his cabinet could not be confirmed as a pan-northern agenda, coordinator of the Concerned Northern Professionals, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, saw nothing wrong in the development.

He alleged that there are saboteurs around Buhari in the Presidential Villa. “There is nothing wrong in the need to rejig the cabinet because the bulk stops on the president’s table. So, if there are serious needs, which I think are many, the president should go ahead.

“For instance, the unjustifiable negotiation between the communications minister and MTN over the fine slammed on it by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), to my mind, was criminally done because the minister does not have such powers to do so.

It is an act of sabotage that must be sanctioned by the president. “There are several of such persons around the president in the villa some of whom without official designations but are there obstructing and sabotaging and even undermining serving ministers.

“Such persons must be weeded out and the earlier that is done the better for the president because without such moves, the man will not succeed as president. “In a civilised nation, all those who had a hand in the budget scandal would have resigned.

But even if they do not, we are ready to encourage the president to cleanse such bad eggs,” Mohammed said. The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is also worried about the slow pace of work of the administration since it came into office in May last year.

A member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party, in an interview with New Telegraph, expressed concerns that there appears to be a lull in governance. This is even as he confirmed that a reshuffle of FEC was necessary for optimum performance.

“What we are seeing appears to be a lull in governance. From the outset, it was a wrong move that the president on his own without considering the party, picked persons to man ministries. “If, for instance, party leaders were consulted, who would have agreed that works, housing and power be given to one person?

The result is that today, so many files are unattended to and this is not good enough for our party,” he said. He added that the planned reorganisation of the cabinet could take any form without necessarily increasing the number of ministries as presently composed.

“No, it is not true. There’s nothing like that on the table to the best knowledge of the party,” Alhaji Mai Mala Buni, APC national secretary, told New Telegraph.

Source: New Telegraph


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