Plans are reportedly underway for President Muhammadu Buhari to restructure some of the ministries, appoint eight new ministers to his cabinet and reshuffle the cabinet.
The move is speculated will help the President fulfil his promise to the All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftains and loyalists to appoint more ministers to his cabinet as well as position the party for the 2019 general elections.
It will be recalled that at the last meeting of the National Executive Committee of the APC held in Abuja in October, Buhari had promised to appoint more ministers and members to the boards of federal parastatals.
The pledge was made to appease aggrieved members who had felt that they had been ditched after helping the party to win the 2015 elections. According to the President, the new appointees will be fit for purpose and will breathe new life into his administration.
Sources within the presidency reveal Buhari is working on a tentative proposal to appoint eight new ministers, one representing each of the six geopolitical zones in the country and one from Lagos (who may be a nominee of the APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu) and Kano State (who may be a nominee of Rabiu Kwankwaso), according to THISDAY.
In order to accommodate the eight new appointees (who will all be politicians) to the cabinet, the President will reportedly split the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing into three ministries that will be manned by full ministers.
The aviation and marine transport units from the Ministry of Transportation will also be separated with a minister heading each unit.
THISDAY reports that with the split of the power and transportation ministries, Fashola would most likely be made responsible for the newly created Ministry of Works and Roads Infrastructure, an appointee from the North-east geopolitical zone will be appointed to man the Ministry of Housing while an appointee from either the North-central zone or the South-east will be handed the Ministry of Power.
For the Ministry of Transportation, once it is split, the current minister, Rotimi Amaechi, will be appointed to man the Ministry of Rail Transportation while Hadi Sirika who is currently a Minister of State in the transportation ministry (aviation) will most likely be made a full Minister of Aviation. Another appointee will be given the Ministry of Marine Transport after it is separated from the transportation ministry.
More so, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau who is from Kano is expected to retain the Ministry of Interior, although it is also speculated that Police Affairs may be cut off from the Ministry of Interior.
The appointment of two more ministers from the two most populous states in the country is strategic and is aimed at ensuring that the appointees from Lagos and Kano play crucial roles in delivering both states to the APC in 2019.
However, the source within the Presidency said all the new appointments will be done with the consultation of state governors.
“The proposal has been put together and sent to Mr. President for his final approval. It remains tentative for now, but if it meets the approval of the president, the announcement will be made public before the end of the month and the names of the nominees will be sent to the Senate for confirmation,” the source said.
He also disclosed that the proposal includes a cabinet reshuffle which could see the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu redeployed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a new minister appointed to replace him as minister of state while Buhari continues to hold on to the petroleum ministry portfolio as the full minister.