Cabinet Reshuffle: Ministers Know Their Fate This Week

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Ministers who have been under tension ever since news of an impending cabinet reshuffle by President Goodluck Jonathan broke will know their fate this week when the President returns from his trip abroad.

The President, who left Abuja last Tuesday for engagements in London, Paris and Egypt, is expected back in the country on Monday (today) evening.

There have been speculations of a cabinet reshuffle ever since Prof Chinedu Nebo and Alhaji Tanimu Turaki had their nominations as ministers sent to the Senate.

While Nebo was appointed from Enugu State to replace former Minister of Power, Prof. Berth Nnaji in the Federal Executive Council, Jonathan picked Turaki from Kebbi State to replace a former Minister of Defence, Dr. Haliru Bello.

These speculations grew stronger when upon being assigned their portfolios by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Pius Anyim, Nebo was given the Ministry of Power while Turaki was posted to the Ministry of Special Duties, leaving the Ministry of Defence still without a substantive minister.

A source  in the Presidency told our correspondent on Sunday that with the assignment of portfolios to the new ministers, the President had met the constitutional requirement of every state having one minister at least.

The source added that with the position of the Minister of Defence still vacant, it is clear that the President would redeploy some ministers.

He said, “The constitution stipulates that all states of the federation should have representatives in the Federal Executive Council.

“With the exit of Bello and Nnaji in 2012, the President decided to fill those van acids so that their states would not be short-changed so to say.

“With the assumption of duties of Nebo and Turaki now, the FEC now has a full complement of representatives of all the states and those appointed based on geo-political appointments.

“Despite this, the position of the Minister of Defence is still vacant. That tells you that some ministers may have to swap positions.”

It is also speculated that Jonathan may move a minister to the Ministry of Defence and upgrade the Minister of State in the ministry.

Of late, suggested names for the new Minister of Power have included Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Capt Caleb Olubolade (retd.); Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Muhammed; and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Godsday Orubebe.

Although there are also speculation that Jonathan was considering upgrading the Minister or State, Defence, Mrs. Olusola Obada who, has been in charge of the ministry since Bello’s exit, an insider said many people who had the ears of the President are against a female Minister of Defence.

They were said to have argued that a female minister at this time of security challenge in the country would be counter-productive.

Insiders said all the permutations would probably be laid to rest this week when the President returns from his foreign trip.

Though the ministers thought Jonathan would announce the reshuffle last week Wednesday, the weekly FEC meeting, which did not hold, shattered that hope.

It is now expected that the President may announce the changes latest by Wednesday when the next FEC is expected to hold.

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