President Buhari is expected to restructure the direction of his administration as his cabinet members await changes.
President Muhammadu Buhari
More than a month after his return from medical trip, President
Muhammadu Buhari is expected to announce some reforms.
Ministers, advisers and aides are awaiting the reforms, a source told The Nation yesterday. Some of the President’s strategists are pushing for the retention of his Economic Team and a split of the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing into three.
Besides, others have presented five options to the President on the shape of his cabinet. It was however learnt that the President has been weighing options because of the timeline left for his administration.
Investigation by a correspondent revealed that the President has fulfilled a critical part of his decisions bordering on his disposition to the nation’s unity.
In a national broadcast on August 21, he declared that “Nigeria’s unity is settled and not negotiable.” Many critics disagreed.
According to a top source, who spoke in confidence with a The Nation correspondent, cabinet members and advisers have been expecting some reforms.
Some of the decisions include key appointments in the public service and the military; cabinet reforms; and the fate of the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Babachir Lawal and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Amb. Ayo Oke; and the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu.
The source said: “Now that the President has settled down, ministers, advisers and other top government functionaries are all anxious for his mid-term reforms. We know he has plans, which he has kept under wraps.
“The ministers are in the dark whether there will be a shake-up in the cabinet or not. No one knows the mindset of the President.
“We know that some issues/ matters had been pending before the President traveled for Sallah and the United Nations.”
Another source said: “For instance, some strategists/ kitchen cabinet members have been prevailing on the President to retain his Economic Team, having exited recession. They said the consolidation of the exit will be faster than the dissolution of the team.
“A few strategists have recommended the split of the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing into three as the case before the cost saving measures of the President. Although three ministers are now in charge of the ministry, they are calling for the assignment of full portfolio to each of them.
“On cabinet reshuffling, there are five options before the president. These are (a) a major shake-up; replacement of few ministers, especially those with political ambition; swapping of portfolios; allowing ministers to leave based on their own volition; and retention of all ministers till the end of the tenure of this administration.”
It was also gathered that the President might need to take a major decision in the military because of the imminent statutory exit of the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin.
Gen. Olonisakin was appointed on July 13, 2015 by Buhari. Although Olonisakin was born on 2 December 1961, he enlisted in the Nigerian Army in 1979.
He was due for retirement in 2016 but the President exercised his powers as the Commander-In-Chief to extend his tenure by one year because of the ongoing war against Boko Haram.
Findings confirmed that the exit of Olonisakin might lead to a shakeup in the Armed Forces leading to either promotion or otherwise of some senior officers.
A third source, who spoke in confidence, said added: “The President had been contemplating some changes since it is obvious that Olonisakin will soon retire.
“The present Service Chiefs are the Chief of Army Staff, Gen.Tukur Yusuf Buratai( born on 24 November 1960 but commissioned as an officer in 1983); the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar( born on April 8, 1960 but commissioned as a Nigerian Air Force officer in 1983); and the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas( born on 27th September 1960 but commissioned as a Sub-Lieutenant in 1983).
“If anything is worrying the President is the fear of losing good hands at a time the war against Boko Haram is at a crucial stage.
“ Olonisakin, who is a gentleman, has been willing to leave were it not for the presidential extension of his service year.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “It will be difficult to predict the nature of reform the President will carry out in the military but as a Commander-In-Chief, he knows what to do.”