From Fred Itua, Abuja
A few days after President Bola Ahmed Tinubu assigned portfolios to ministerial nominees who were recently confirmed by the Senate, political pundits and other critical stakeholders are yet to come to terms with the unexpected turn of events.
According to the list released by the Presidency, former governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, was assigned to the works ministry as Minister. Festus Keyamo was named Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, while former governor of Osun State, Adegboyega Oyetola, was named Minister of Transportation. Tinubu’s right hand man, Wale Edun was named Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy. Others were Bosun Tijani as minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy; Ishak Salako, Minister of State, Environment and Ecological Management; and former governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Bunmi Tunji-Ojo was named Minister of Marine and Blue Economy; Adedayo Adelabu, Minister of Power; Tunji Alausa, Minister of State, Health and Social Welfare; Dele Alake, Minister of Solid Minerals Development; and Lola Ade-John, Minister of Tourism.
Also in the list is Doris Anite, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment; Uche Nnaji, Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology; Nkiruka Onyejeocha, Minister of State, Labour and Employment; and Uju Kennedy, Minister of Women Affairs.
Similarly, Abubakar Momoh was named Minister of Youth; Betta Edu, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation; Ekperikpe Ekpo, Minister of State, Gas Resources; Heineken Lokpobiri, Minister of State, Petroleum Resources; John Enoh, Minister of Sports Development; Hannatu Musawa, Minister of Art, Culture and Creative Economy; Mohammed Badaru, Minister of Defence; Bello Mattawale, Minister of State, Defence; Yusuf Sununu, Minister of State Education; Ahmed Dangiwa, Minister of Housing and Urban Development; Abdullahi Gwarzo, Minister of State, Housing and Urban Development; and Atiku Bagudu, Minister of Budget and National Planning.
Minister of State for the FCT was assigned to Mairiga Mahmud; Minister of State, Water Resources and Sanitation, Bello Goronyo; Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Abubakar Kyari; Minister of Education, Tahir Maman; Minister of Interior, Saidu Alkali; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar; Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Ali Pate; and Minister of Police Affairs, Ibrahim Geidam.
Others were Minister of Steel Development, Shuaibu Audu; Minister of State for Steel Development, Maigari Ahmadu; Minister of Information and National Orientation, Muhammed Idris; Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi; Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong; Minister of State for Police Affairs, Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim; Minster of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Zephaniah Jisalo; Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Joseph Utsev
Sources told Saturday Sun that the appointment of Wike, for instance, altered the earlier permutation that Kyari from Borno State would be named Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Pundits had concluded that since 1999, and in over 40 years, no Southern Christian had been named substantive FCT minister.
“Whereas, the North West and North East have repeatedly produced six FCT ministers since 1999, shutting out the other four geopolitical zones,” a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), who doesn’t want to be named, told Saturday Sun. Umahi’s appointment similarly came to many as a surprise. Since 1999, no South Easterner has served as Minister of Works. Only South-South, North-West and South-West have served as Works ministers.
A presidency source told our reporter: “For many pundits, the biggest upset was the appointment of Dele Alake as Minister of Solid Minerals. Only few could have seen that coming, as everyone had expected that he would be taken to his natural habitat – the Ministry of Information. That is not to say that he cannot perform as Minister of Solid Minerals Development, but the shock generated by the appointment is still reverberating in the polity.
“Alake’s troubles were orchestrated by some members of the inner caucus of Tinubu’s kitchen cabinet – I don’t want to mention names. But these people seem to be uncomfortable with what they saw as Alake’s ambitious posturing.” There have been questions raised about Festus Keyamo, a lawyer and human rights activist, who was sent to head the Aviation Ministry.
“As former Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nigerians had expected he would be named as substantive Minister of Labour. Instead, Lalong who was at loggerheads with civil servants in Plateau State and was unable to clear backlogs of salaries before he left office as governor, was named to head Labour ministry. How he will make a success of the job remains to be seen,” a former senator who headed the Labour Committee told Saturday Sun.
“Imagine Bagudu with no military experience, was named Defence minister. And who is Minister of State for Defence? Bello Matawalle, former governor of Zamfara State who battled the invasion of the state by terrorists without success! How will that perform in that office? Is that a reward for incompetence?
“The unbundling of the Transportation Ministry and the appointment of Oyetola by Tinubu as minister in charge also came as a surprise,” another APC member noted.
Some stakeholders told Saturday Sun that they had expected that Oyetola would be named Minister of Interior or Minister of Trade.
An APC member from the South West said: “Adelabu, a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), was surprisingly named minister of Power. With his cognate experience as a banker, Nigerians had expected he will head the National Planning Ministry.”
The new ministers are expected to take their oath of office on Monday, after which they’ll be posted to the various ministries immediately