Strong indications have emerged that President Muhammadu Buhari may drop no fewer than 10 cabinet ministers, while some would be asked to swap portfolios at the turn of the new year.
The decision to reshuffle the cabinet is coming on the heels of indication that the Presidency has tapped leaders of the Senate to secure prompt and less rancorous screening process.
Already, two vacancies are existing in the ministerial portfolio, following the death of Barrister James Ocholi, the late Minister of State for Labour and Employment in March and the exit last week of the Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed. The Environment Minister is leaving the present administration to take up the post of Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations.
Sources close to the Presidency and the National Assembly said yesterday in Abuja that the Presidency was wary of a continuation of recent bashing from the Senate, a situation that had seen a number of nominees dropped during confirmation. Sources also said that the administration has been inundated with reports that some Ministers are wrongly placed when the appointments were made in 2015 while some others have been said to have shown lack of capacity in the areas of operation.
According to the source, two factors were being joggled to come to a conclusion on who should go or remain in the cabinet, adding that the Ministers that would soon leave the cabinet are to cut across the geopolitical zones, an indication that the new names soon to make their ways into the senate will also come from the different zones.
A source said that some rubbing of minds between the Presidency and the Senate has taken place over the issue and that both the Senate and the Presidency have pledged to work for the interest of the nation. In recent weeks, some of the decisions of the Senate were said to have taken the Presidency by surprise, a situation that was said to have forced the rapprochement.
Just last week, the Senate dropped the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu who was nominated for confirmation as substantive Chairman of the Commission. The Senators had also taken some decisions including the earlier rejection of Non-Career Ambassadorial list, some nominees into the Board of National Communications Commission (NCC) and the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) which the senate initially described as “empty and unrealistic.”
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