Ministerial portfolios: Who gets what and why

By David Olalekan.

Speculation is rife that President Muhammadu Buhari is putting finishing touches to the intriguing task of assigning portfolios to his ministerial nominees.

With a total of 31 nominees screened so far, the remaining 12 are split between Monday and Tuesday when the screening exercise would be concluded, and all 43 ministers-designates confirmed.

If presidency sources are anything to go by, the cabinet is set to be inaugurated anytime from Wednesday, with the following assigned portfolios, barring any last minute changes from the President:

1. Uche Ogah, Abia State, is likely to be named the Minister of State for Petroleum, owing to his rich background in the oil and gas.

2. Godswill Akpabio, former governor of Akwa Ibom State, strongly considered for the Ministry of Niger Delta, to replace Usani Usani from Cross River who did not return to the cabinet.

3. Timipre Sylva, former governor of Bayelsa State, expected to replace his kinsman, Heineken Lokpobiri who failed to return as Minister of State for Agriculture. Sylva could also be ferried to the Ministry of Niger Delta, should Akpabio be considered more useful in a different ministry.

4. Major-General Salihi Magashi (rtd), Kano State, is positioned to spearhead the Ministry of Defence. His vast military experience is one the President is willing to explore.

5. Dr Chris Ngige, former Anambra State governor, senator and a medical doctor. Likely to return as Minister of Labour and Productivity.

6. Amb. Maryam Katagum, Bauchi, likely to be named as Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. She also makes a strong case for the Education Ministry, having served as Nigeria’s permanent representative to UNESCO for the past 10 years.

7. Senator George Akume, former Benue State governor. He could be assigned to either the Ministry of Agriculture or Interior.

8. Festus Keyamo, Delta, strong contender for the Ministry of Justice, should Abubakar Malami be moved out of the ministry. Having served as the spokesperson of the Campaign Council of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Information Ministry is also in the cards.

9. Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, Ebonyi, served as the Minister of Science and Technology in the last cabinet. Sources link his new portfolio to the Ministry of Health or Trade and Investment.

10. Dr Osagie Ehanire, Edo, likely to retain his former position as Minister of State for Health.

11. Otunba Richard Adebayo, former Ekiti State governor and APC deputy national chairman (South). Likely to succeed his townsman, Kayode Fayemi as Minister of Solid Minerals.

12. Geoffrey Onyeama, Enugu, is set to retain his former position as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

13. Dr Isa Ali Pantami, Gombe, is considered for the Ministry of Communication, having served as the Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).

14. Suleiman Adamu, Jigawa, is likely to retain his former position as Water Resources Minister.

15. Dr Mohammad Mahmud, considered for Minister of State for Education, having served as chairman of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC).

16. Hadi Sirika (Katsina), likely to be become a full Minister of Aviation, having served as Minister of State for Aviation.

17. Abubakar Malami (Kebbi) is most likely to be retained as Attorney-General and Minister of Justice. “He has a lot of unfinished assignments in the ministry”, according to presidency sources.

18. Lai Mohammed, Kwara, likely to be assigned a different portfolio such as Communications or Special Duties.

19, 20, 21. Paulen Tallen, a former minister and deputy governor of Plateau State, Ramatu Tijani (Kogi) and Gbemisola Saraki (Kwara), a former senator are all strong contenders for the Ministry of Women Affairs.

22. Babatunde Raji Fashola, former Lagos State governor and immediate past Minister of Power, Works and Housing. Likely to retain one or two of his previous portfolio.

23. Senator Adeleke Mamora (Lagos), former Lagos State House Assembly Speaker and former senator. Likely to be Minister of Foreign Affairs.

24. Mohammed Abdullahi (Nasarawa), former attorney-general and later, Secretary to the State Government (SSG) of Nasarawa State, could become Minister of State for Justice or that of Solid Minerals.

25. Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), former governor of Osun State, considered for Ministry of Works.

26. Sunday Dare, a career broadcaster, former head of the Voice of America (VOA), Hausa Service, former Tinubu’s spokesman, and recently, executive director of the National Communications Commission (NCC). Strongly considered for Minister of Information, Communications or Culture.

27. Rotimi Amaechi, former Rivers State Governor, is set to retain his Transport portfolio.

28. Abubakar Aliyu (Yobe), a trained engineer and former deputy governor of Yobe State, considered for Ministry of Power or Housing.

29. Sadiya Umar Faruk (Zamfara), the current head of the National Commission for Refugees, could become Minister of State for Defence or Interior. If the ministry of North-East is created, she may be assigned there.

30. Sharon O. Ikeazor (Anambra), a lawyer and the current executive secretary of the Pension Transitional Administration Directorate (PTAD), could become the Minister of State for Justice or Finance.

31. Adamu Adamu (Bauchi), the immediate past Minister of Education, is likely to retain his position, or be moved to the Ministry of Finance, being an accountant.

32. Mustapha Baba Shehuri (Borno), likely not to be upgraded from the status of Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing.

33. Muhammadu Musa Bello (Adamawa) is likely to return to the FCT Ministry.

34. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed (Kaduna), is likely going back to the Ministry of Finance, a position she assumed following Kemi Adeosun’s resignation in 2018.

More to come…

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