After two months of intensive political horse-trading, during which domestic and international investors were kept waiting and guessing, President Muhammadu Buhari finally presented his much-awaited list of cabinet ministers to the Senate for clearance.
A breakdown of the 43-man list revealed 12 returnees from the President’s first four-year term and 31 newcomers, most of whom are politicians, including many who lost either their gubernatorial/senatorial ambitions or those who had in the past remained loyal party men.
The list, however, came with much disappointment for those who had expected that given the parlous state of the Nigerian economy and the need to drive growth at a faster rate. This expectation is not out of place, given that the nation’s GDP as released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), already indicated a slowdown in the first quarter of 2019, while Q2 data are being awaited, even as there are signs already that all may not be well, after all, especially looking at the performance of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), with its indicators at October 2016 lows.
The class of ex-governors, seven of them seem to dominate the list, even as this reporter struggled to identify any technocrat aside Ms. Sharon Ikpeazu, Executive Secretary of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD).
One surprise omission from the list was Akinwunmi Ambode, immediate past governor of Lagos State, who many had expected would clinch the spot for the southwest geopolitical zone, given that he could not displace Babatunde Fashola his predecessor of the Lagos State spot on the list. Instead, it was Senator Olorunnibe Mamora who was in the Senate between 2003 and 2011.
Ambode, who failed to secure a second-term return ticket after a disagreement with the strongman of Lagos politics and godfather, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who governed the state between 1999 and 2007.
Prominent returnees include: super-minister and former Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, who was in charge of Power, Works and Housing Ministries; Rotimi Amaechi, his Rivers State counterpart who was in charge of the Transport Ministry; as well as Lai Mohammed and Chris Ngige who took charge of Information and Culture, and Labour.
Others are: then Finance Minister, Zainab Shasuna Ahmed; Mallam Adamu Adamu, Education; Osagie Enahire, Health (state); Suleiman Adamu; Abubakar Malami; Godfrey Onyeama; Ogbonnaya Onu; Mohamed Musa Bello, former FCT Minister; and Mustapha Baba Shehuri, Power, Works and Housing (state).
Besides Fashola, other former governors on the lists are Rauf Aregbesola, who superintended over Osun State for eight years; Niyi Adebayo, Governor of Ekiti between 1999 and 2003, George Akume of Benue; Rotimi Amaechi, a returnee who held sway in Rivers for eight years. Godswill Akpabio is to represent Akwa Ibom, where he was immediate past helmsman and Senator; while Timipre Sylva, is from neighbouring Bayelsa.
Perhaps as a reward for the role she played along with Alhaji Lai Mohammed in the “oto gee” movement that saw to the crushing defeat of her brother, Senate President Bukola Saraki in the last general elections in her home state of Kwara, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki secured a spot on the list. She would probably represent the North Central geopolitical zone on the cabinet; while Sen. Tayo Alasoadura, immediate past Senator who represented Ondo Central Senatorial District,
1. Audu Ogbeh
2. Dr. Ibe Kachikwu
3. Adebayo Shittu
4. Udoma Udo-Udoma
5. Okechukwu Enelama
6. Solomon Dalong
7. Heineken Lokpobiri
8. Usani Uguru
9. Mansur Dan Ali
10. Anthony Anwuka
11. Stephen Ochani
12. Abdulrahaman Dambazau
13. Abubakar Bawa Bwari
14. Cladius Omoleye Daramola
15. Isaac Adewole
16. Aisha Abubakar
1. Dr Ikechukwu Ogar
2. Goddy JD Agba, an oil magnate, prominent Cross River politician
3. Festus Keyamo- Lawyer and Spokesman for the Buhari Campaign Organisation
4. Clement Agba
5. Emeka Nwajuba, a member of the House of Representatives
6. Dr. Muhammed Mahmood
7. Sabo Nanono
8. Major General Basir Magashi (Retd), Governor of Sokoto State in Nigeria (August 1990 to January 1992)
9. Arch. Olamilekan Adegbite, Immediate past Commissioner for Works & Infrastructure
10. Sunday Dare, former spokesman to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and most currently, an Executive Commissioner (Stakeholder Management) at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
11. Muhammad Maigari Dangyadi, Chairman, National Commission Colleges of Education (NCCE)
12. Engr. Abubakar D. Aliyu, former Deputy Governor of Yobe State
13. Engr. Saleh Mamman