By Emmanuel Uffot
After much anxiety from expectant Nigerians, President Bola Tinubu on Wednesday August 16, 2023 unveiled the assigned portfolios of his ministers. The unveiling of the assigned portfolios to 45 of them out of the original 48 nominees, came nine days after their confirmation by the Senate after screening. Among the lots, are close allies of the President.
Leading this category is Mr Wale Edun who is the substantive Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy. Edun, an economist who served as Commissioner of Finance for the two tenure of President Tinubu while Governor of Lagos State is the ninth Finance Minister appointed since the dawn of the present democratic dispensation in 1999.
Another close ally of the President that made the list is Dele Lake.
Like Edun, Alake was Commissioner for Information and Strategy in Tinubu’s administration in Lagos. He was spokesman of Bola Tinubu’s Presidential campaign Council prior to election and Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President before his latest appointment. He has been assigned to Ministry of Solid Mineral Development as Minister.
No fewer than nine former governors made the ministerial list. They are, Nyesom Wike, former Governor of River State is Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Adegboyega Oyetola, former Osun State Governor( Minister of Transportation), Mr Dave Umahi, former Governor of Ebonyi ( Minister of Works), Bello Matawalle, former Governor of Zamfara State ( Minister of State Defence), Muhammed Badaru, former Governor of Jigawa State (Minister of Defence), Simon Lalong, former Governor of Plateau State who was also a one time Minister of Youths and Sports under President Muhammadu Buhari is now to head the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
Other former governors that made Tinubu’s list are Aliyu Abdullahi former governor of Niger State( Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Security), Ibrahim Geidam, former governor of Yobe State ( Minister of Police Affairs and Atiku Bagudu former governor of Kebbi State ( Minister of Budget and Planning).
Like Along, other former Ministers that have been reappointed include, Festus Keyamo, immediate former Minister of State, Labour and Employment is now Minister of the re-named, Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development, while Heineken Lokpobiri former Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development is now replacing Timipre Sylva as Minister of State for Petroleum Resources which like former President Buhari, has President Tinubu as Substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources.
Similarly the President has created new Ministries, separated others, also merged or renamed some.
Among the newly created Ministries are Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy as well as Ministry of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy. They have Bunmi Tunji- Ojo and Hannatu Musawa respectively as Ministers.
Those separated include Agriculture which has Abubakar Kyari as Minister, Youth formerly Youth and Sports gas Abubakar Momoh as Minister, Power has Adebayo Adelabu as Minister, John Eno, a former Senator heads a full fledged Sports Ministry and Ekperikpe Ekpo, a former APC State Chairman is Minister of State for Gas Resources which is carved out of Petroleum Resources Ministry.
Other ministries that are renamed and merged include, Health and Social Welfare headed by Dr. Ali Pate, Innovation Science and Technology which has Uche Nnaji a former Minister now heading the Ministry and Ministry of Water Resources just as replicated by the governor of Akwa Ibom State Pastor Umo Eno is now Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation. It has Joseph Utsev as Minister.
Altogether nine women made the list of the 45 ministers assigned portfolios pending the remaining three including former governor of Kaduna State Nasir El- Rufai whose screening were stepped down over security issues according to the Senate.
The women ministers are, Beta Edu- Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Hannatu Musawa- Arts, Culture and Creative Economy, Zephaniah Jisalo- Special Duties, Bunmi Tunji-Ojo- Marine and Blue Economy, Doris Anite- Industry, Trade and Investment, Uju Kennedy- Women Affairs and Nkiruka Onyejeocha, a former House of Representative member is Minister of State, Labour and Employment.
Some fringe names among the ministers include, Bosun Tijani- Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Tunji Alausa- Minister of Health and Social Services, Doris Anite- Industry, Trade and Investment, Uju Kennedy- Women Affairs, Lola Ade- John- Tourism, Mariga Mahmou- Minister of State FCT, Bello Gorongo- Minister of State, Water Resources and Sanitation, Yusuff Tuggar- Foreign Affairs, Zephaniah Jisalo- Special Duties and Saidu Alkali- Interior.
Instinctively, even Ministers assigned some key ministries like Education- Tahir Mannan, Information and National Orientation- Muhammed Idris and even the Attorney General and Minister of Justice- Lateef Fagbemi may not be known to many Nigerians.
A striking fall out of the ministerial list and unveiling portfolios is the apparent quashed of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs which was created by the government of former president Olusegun Obasanjo as a vehicle to develop the Niger Delta region to quell militancy then. However as at the time of this report even as three portfolios are yet to be unveiled there was no reaction on that from people from the region.
Expectedly, the portfolios assigned to the Ministers has elicited reactions.
Apart from some of the appointed Ministers being relatively strange to many Nigerians who can not lay hands on their pedigree to adjudge whether they will be effective, the portfolios assigned to some have not received the blessing and commendation from either stakeholders of that sector or concerned Nigerians.
Prominent among these is the Defence portfolio which is assigned to two former governors. Critics of this, reasoned that both former governors, Badaru and Matawalle, substantive Minister and Minister of State respectively do not have the requisite background and experience to head that Ministry in this period of prevalent insecurity in most parts of the country.
Their position is that, such portfolio should have been assigned to either.retired military officer, police or State Security Service unlike Badaru who is an accountant and Mattawale an administrator.
Shehu Sani, a vocal former Senator from Kaduna shares this view of disagreeing with the appointment of the two former governors without any military background for the Defence Ministry.
He said the ministry should have been given to a retired military officer with records of accomplishment because of the current security situations in the country.
Similarly, a retired air force officer Group Captain Sadique Shehu shares the view of Sani that one with a military background should have been sent to that ministry.
He argued that as a military man, he knows that military men have respect for those with military background whom they work with unlike those without.
He advised that, they work with the Service Chiefs if they are to succeed.
For the sports sector, the appointment of Senator Eno to head the Sports Ministry has not receive the blessing of sports stakeholders.
They argued that aside politics, his name has not been heard anywhere in relation to sport development and wondered what good he will bring to the ministry.
For Frank Ilaboya, a veteran sports broadcaster and analyst, he is equally uncomfortable with the appointment of Senator Eno as Sports Minister. He however urged him to borrow a leaf from the immediate past minister Sunday Dare, look at his template and developed from that. He admitted that the minister has his hands full due to the peculiarities of the Ministry especially football development and other sports.
Other stakeholders identified preparation of Nigeria for next year African Cup of Nations and the 2024 Olympic Games as one of the major assignment stirring the new minister.
While the Director General Nigeria Employers Consultative Association ( NECA) Wale Oyerinde urged the ministers to quickly settle down and hit the ground running, oil workers and stakeholders tasked the President who has assigned the Petroleum Resources Ministry portfolio to himself to trigger radical reforms in the sector that will see the revival of oil production by the nation’s refineries to stem the tide of oil importation which fueled the fuel subsidy issue.
For Gabriel Idahosa, Deputy President Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry and his counterpart in Manufacturers Association of Nigeria ( MAN) they were not impressed with the appointees as it was more of political rewards and compensation instead of competency.
While it is not known whether the three other ministers namely El- Rufai is speculated to have withdrawn interest, Stella Okotete from Delta and Danladi Abubakar would eventually be cleared, sources from the Presidency revealed that the 45 appointed Ministers are scheduled to be inaugurated next Monday. August 24, 2023.
The Ministers and Portfolios
1, Wale Edun- Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy.
2. Adebayo Adelabu- Minister of Power
3, Nyesom Wike- Minister of FCT
4, Abubakar Kyari- Minister of Agriculture
5, Saidu Alkali- Minister of Interior
6, Lateef Fagbemi- Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice
7, Muhammed Idris- Minister of Information and National Orientation
8, Abubakar Momoh- Minister of Youth
9, John Eno- Minister of Sports Development
10, Festus Keyamo- Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development
11, Uju Kennedy-Women Affairs
12, Adegboyega Oyetola- Transportation
13, Lola Ade-John-Tourism
14, Dele Alake- Solid Minerals Development
15, Bunmi Tunji- Ojo- Minister of Marine and Blue Economy
16, Simon Lalong- Minister of Labour and Employment
17, Nkiruka Onyejeocha- Minister of State, Labour and Employment
18, Uche Nnaji- Minister of Innovation Science and Technology
19, Bosun Tijani-Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy
20, Ibrahim Geidam- Minister of Police Affairs
21, Inman Suleiman- Minister of State Police Affairs
22, Ali Pate- Minister of Health and Social Welfare
23, Zephaniah Jisalo-Special Duties
24, Joseph Utsev- Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation
25, Shuaibu Audu- Minister of Steel and Development
26, Maigari Ahmadu- Minister of State, Steel and Development
27, Yusuff Tuggar-Foreign Affairs
28, Mariga Mahmou-Minister of State FCT
29, Ahmed Dangiwa- Minister of Housing and Urban Development
30, Abdullahi Gwarzo- Minister of State Housing and Urban Development
31, Tanko Sununu- Minister of State Education
32, Bello Matawalle- Minister of State Defence
33, Muhammed Badaru- Minister of Defence
34, Hannatu Musawa- Minister of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy
35, Heineken Lokpobiri- Minister of State, Petroleum Resources
36, Ekperikpe Ekpo- Minister of State, Gas Resources
37, Betta Edu – Minister of Humanitarian Affairs Poverty Alleviation
38, David Umahi- Minister of Works
39, Atiku Bagudu- Minister of Budget and Economic Planning
40, Aliyu Abdullahi- Minister of State Agriculture
41, Tunji Alausa- Minister of State Health and Social Services
42, Doris Anite-Industry, Trade and Investment
43,Ishak Salako- Minister of State, Environment and Ecological Management
44, Bello Goronyo- Minister of State, Water Resources and Sanitation
45, Tahir Mamman_ Minister of Education.