Barring any last minute change of mind, President Goodluck Jonathan may sack no fewer than 10 ministers from his cabinet very soon. The development once pulled through may have the president replacing them with what Aso Rock officials have tagged “fresh blood”, pursuant to his administration’s resolve to achieve much of its transformation agenda before “the usual politicking ahead of 2015 sets in.”
For months now, there had been strong speculations as to a looming federal cabinet reshuffle. Presidency officials had largely debunked such rumours as fast as they could, occasionally hinging their arguments on the timing of any such move.
But indicators to the contrary emerged in the last few weeks culminating in the postponement of yesterday’s Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting, a weekly assembly of the country’s policy making body. Though Jonathan was out of the country, Vice President Namadi Sambo who presides over such meetings in his principal’s stead, was nowhere near the council chamber as at 11am yesterday. The weekly meeting usually starts at 10am.
Though no official reason was cited, it might not be unconnected with the President’s trip to Egypt, France and England where he will be meeting different heads of governments on issues concerning the country with one Aso Rock official contending that the President may have left no instruction as to any agenda for the FEC meeting, hence there was no need for the council to sit. But another source argued that many members of the federal cabinet followed Jonathan on the foreign trip.
However, officials who should know told Nigerian Pilot that the president looks set to change some members of his cabinet for some reasons; “Some have stayed too long and have become institutions who can no longer function within a group; some have corruption issues; some have not been able to deliver on their mandate because they remain square pegs in round holes that need to be relocated to better beats, while some have political ambitions and should be excused well ahead of 2015”.
According to feelers received, a minister who has several petitions against him alluding to “corrupt practices and questionable acquisition of landed properties offshore’’, as well as another “whose appetite for acquiring landed properties in choice parts of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT,” and one minister whose recurring feud with his state governor has caused him adverse recommendation before Jonathan, may be excused from the cabinet.
“But like I told you last week, the president wants to deliver on his campaign promises. But he has discovered that he can’t do this with some misfits in his cabinet. Not all may go. Some will be drafted to other ministries, some too may be asked to resign. But Mr. President does not want any problem from the planned reshuffle,” added the Aso Rock source.
Already, there is a groundswell of calls by many Nigerians for replacement of many ministers in the federal cabinet because of perceived poor performance of the ministers. Only yesterday on Channels Television, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Robert Clark called on Jonathan to sack his ministers in order to achieve positive result during the remaining part of his administration. Speaking on Sunrise, a Channels Television interactive programme, Clark said 80 percent of Nigerians are not happy because of the poor performance of the president’s cabinet.