Panic grips Buhari’s ministers, top aides over anticipated cabinet reshuffle

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Following speculations that President Muhammadu Buhari may soon effect a cabinet reshuffle, panic has overwhelmed ministers and top aides, who have resorted to lobbying to retain their jobs.

President Buhari returned to the country last Friday, after close to two months vacation in the United Kingdom where he also underwent medical treatment. He is expected to resume duties today.

Daily Sun gathered that in order to inject fresh blood into government as well as boost confidence, the Buhari government may now rejig the cabinet, which could affect as many as 10 ministers and heads of some government agencies. In the exercise, some ministers will be dropped, while others will swap positions.

This is coming barely four months after the Presidency reportedly hinted the Senate of a likely cabinet shake-up, towards the end of last year.

Sources revealed that since the plan for cabinet change filtered into town, ministers and top aides, afraid of losing their jobs, had been meeting those close to two governors in the North believed to be close to President Buhari, members of the president’s  kitchen cabinet and close associates, for them to put in words for their retention.

It was gathered that the ministers have made phone calls, visited those they think could help them as well as sent emissaries.

Although the Presidency has not officially confirmed any planned cabinet change, sources revealed that some of the ministers and aides are not taking the speculations lightly and, therefore, making efforts, in order not to be caught unawares.

At present, there are two vacancies in the Buhari cabinet, following the death of Barrister James Ocholi, the late Minister of State for Labour and Employment, in March 2016 and the resignation of the Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, who is now Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations.

Daily Sun gathered that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo might make a major input in the coming cabinet change, following his experiences in the weeks he acted as president in Buhari’s absence.

During the period Osinbajo acted as president, he worked closely with ministers and other heads of government agencies and, therefore, in a position to do an assessment, a source said.

Following the belief that Osinbajo will make an input in the reshuffle, ministers are also lobbying his associates.

In recent times, many Nigerians have called on President Buhari to reshuffle his cabinet and take in professionals and technocrats, irrespective of their political affiliations.

Many Nigerians had complained about the president’s economic team, calling for a shake-up in the sector.

Also, there were complaints that some ministers were holding wrong portfolios and, therefore, should be moved to ministries they would function better. Others have complained that the merger of the power, housing and works ministries should be looked into again, as the job appears too much for one minister.

 In the anticipated cabinet change, ministers from across geopolitical zones will be affected. Sources revealed that the hint of a cabinet change, which the Presidency made to the Senate towards the end of last year, was to forestall a situation where some nominees will have a tough time during screening.

Source – The Sun

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