As Senate Resumes, Jonathan Set To Carry Out Sweeping Changes In Cabinet

senate-jonathanBarely five days to his submission of a ministerial nominees list to the Senate, there are strong indications that President Goodluck Jonathan is set to make sweeping changes in the Federal Executive Council.

In the looming political tsunami of a cabinet shake-up that will affect even special advisers and some powerful aides in the presidency, not more than four ministers are likely to survive what an impeccable source described as “a timely exercise”.

It was learnt that those who are likely to be unaffected by the cabinet shake-up are: Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke (petroleum), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (finance and coordinating minister for the economy), Dr Akinwunmi Adesina (agriculture), and Mr Labaran Maku (information and supervising minister of defence).

Even though most of those to be appointed are likely to be tested politicians with “effective mobilisation drive”, it was learnt that a former national security adviser (NSA), Gen. Aliyu Mohammed Gusau is being propped up for the ministry of defence not only because of his vast military experience but because of his perceived knowledge of the intricate workings of northern politics. But his acceptance to serve in President Jonathan’s cabinet came after months of persuasion and immense pressure from the presidency.

Among those whose names may also be sent to the Senate this week for consideration as ministers are former governors Abdulkadir Kure (Niger), Boni Haruna (Adamawa) and a former Nigerian Ambassador to Ghana and former PDP governorship aspirant in Lagos, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro.

The ministers to be dropped include those with governorship ambitions as well as those with unending controversy surrounding them such as the embattled Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Oduah.

It is expected that the Federal Executive Council meeting for this week will be a valedictory session during which the president will announce the partial dissolution of the cabinet.

It would be recalled that President Jonathan had, while playing host to the north-west caucus of the PDP, hinted that he would forward lists of ministerial nominees to the National Assembly when it resumed plenary this week.

The nominees were meant to fill the12 vacancies created when the president carried out a minor cabinet shake-up about seven months ago.

It was also gathered last night that the president may effect a shake up his office which may see his Chief of Staff, Mike Oghiadome, being dropped for a northerner well-versed in the politics of the region. Owner of frontline private television station, AIT, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi has being touted as possible replacement for his kinsman as Chief of Staff, but the latest permutations indicate Mr. Jonathan may have changed his mind.

The plan for a major cabinet shake-up has lingered for some time now, but sources informed that President Jonathan has come to a point where it has become necessary to drop most of the ministers based on political exigencies.

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