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),”
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 while Lai Mohammed will likely be replaced as Information minister
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.