Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has concluded arrangements to effect major changes in the Federal Executive Council (FEC). The action, which will be taken this week or at most next week, will see some ministers being shown the way out of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government while many others will have their portfolios swapped. Already, the planned shake-up in the cabinet is causing anxiety among most members who are aware, but not sure of their fate.
“You will notice that attendance at the last FEC meeting was unusual. Almost every council member attended because they were not sure of what the outcome would be. “President Buhari and the Acting President have agreed to overhaul the cabinet and have been discussing on this since Osinbajo visited him in London,” a presidency source privy to the current arrangement told New Telegraph. A minister confirmed the imminent cabinet shake-up.
“Let them drop those they want. God will help us. If you are given a job, do your best. So whatever happens, you are sure that you have done your best. I heard the cabinet shakeup will happen this week or next. So I’m waiting for any eventuality,” the minister said.
A senior presidential aide who pleaded anonymity confirmed to New Telegraph at the weekend that the Acting President, before now, considered the option of waiting for the return of President Buhari who is currently recuperating in London, United Kingdom (UK). Buhari, he said, will actually be returning to the country soon.
The source said that the Acting President has got a green light from President Buhari in London and is proceeding with the decision to shake up the cabinet. An aide of President Buhari confirmed the impending cabinet reshuffle. He, however, stated that the exercise would have to wait until the president returns from London. “One thing I know for sure is that the President is interested in the cabinet reshuffle. They will have to wait until he is back. “This is the reason why the two ministers were not given portfolios.
The understanding is that there will be no need to do it now and again later,” the top aide of the president told New Telegraph yesterday. Another source said some of the ministers are considered to be underperforming and have no business in the government which is committed to delivering on its electoral promises to Nigerians.
Some of the junior ministers (Ministers of State), it was gathered, are engaged in what has been described as unnecessary friction with their senior ministers, slowing down the process of initiating and implementing policies that would impact on the people.
There are also cases of abuse of office by a few ministers which the government is not prepared to take lightly. Speaking further, the source explained that the planned cabinet shake-up was responsible for the delay in assigning portfolios to the two new ministers inaugurated by the Acting President last week Wednesday.
Osinbajo, on Wednesday, swore in Prof. Stephen Ocheni and Suleiman Hassan, but failed to announce their portfolios, explaining that they would be assigned portfolios later. It was learnt that those likely to be affected in the shake-up include one of the female ministers. Our correspondent also gathered that the Presidency is no longer comfortable with her recent political involvement.
The Presidency has been furnished with reports of her alleged “unwholesome” practices which the government feels strongly will dent the anti-corruption war of the administration. Another minister that is also likely to be affected in the exercise hails from the South-South.
There are intelligent reports against the minister of state who is believed to be having serious conflict with his senior colleague, a favourite of President Buhari handling a critical sector of the economy.
It was learnt that one of the ministers from the South-West has been pencilled to be dropped from the cabinet. However, a couple of ministers will retain their portfolios while one of the ministers of state will likely become full minister.
On the fate of former governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, the source stated that the minister will still retain the Works, Power and Housing portfolio. According to the source, “There are certainly few persons who will not be touched.
I can tell you that Babatunde Fashola will retain the three portfolios he is holding; they will not be split. “Most people don’t understand that the only thing left in power is transmission. Even at that, we are going to privatise the transmission. So Fashola will keep the three portfolios. He is one of the performing ministers.” New Telegraph also gathered that the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, and Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, will also retain their current portfolios.
While the Minister of Education is considered as highly disciplined and favoured by President Buhari, Adeosun is seen as one of the performing ministers.
“Adeosun is seen as one of the performing ministers. She has the capacity and is one of the people that are delivering,” the source said. On the fate of Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), it was learnt that he is likely going to retain his seat on account of his closeness to the president.
“The President will have to come in regarding the Minister of Justice because you know that he is President’s man. Really, President Buhari will determine the AGF’s fate, but I think he might survive the cabinet shake-up and retain his portfolio,” he added.
The shake-up in the cabinet, it was learnt, is to reposition the Council for efficiency in the delivery of government policies and programmes since some of the ministers were unable to handle their portfolios well.
Investigation revealed that the Presidency has already carried out an evaluation audit on the competences of each minister.
This exercise is to enable the Presidency do proper placement in assigning of portfolios for effectiveness considering that the administration has less than two years to wind up, with general elections coming in 2019. “It is about putting round pegs in round holes,” a source stressed.