Next Level Ministration, Featuring Many Old Songs

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Politics and Policy

Forty-three names have been forwarded to the Senate for screening by President Buhari. If approved, they will constitute his next cabinet.

At least eighteen people were let go from the old squad. They include the unloved beret master, Solomon Dalung. He will feel hard done by, won’t he? Under him, Nigeria had its first female Bobsled team at the Olympics, got Olympic bronze in men’s football and made historic progress in women’s football at the World Cup. But he gets the boot, to be joined in the retrenched team by Bayo Shittu, who the APC abandoned in Limbo as soon as his NYSC history surfaced. The Minister of Health who said not all medical graduates should become doctors is gone too. Okey Enelamah’s exclusion puzzled many, though it seems the man got tired of Nigerian politics and wants to return to the serenity of Goldman Sachs.

Those retained include Babatunde Fashola, Rotimi Amaechi, Lai Mohammed, Ogbonnaya Onu, Chris Ngige and Abubakar Malami. This sextet, it does appear, are indispensable for preserving the APC to 2023 at least. Hence, they are likely to retain their big portfolios after the confirmation round. Joining them will be Rauf Aregbesola, Godswill Akpabio, George Akume, Niyi Adebayo and Festus Keyamo. With the exception of the latter, Buhari (or is it Tinubu?) adds another set of former Governors to shore up the party’s mission of holding sway in the next election cycle. Whoever drew up the list did not find a role for former Lagos Governor Akinwunmi Ambode at this time. Compensations are handed to Gbemi Saraki, while the likes of Uche Ogar are given the platform to launch Governorship bids to wrestle power from PDP incumbents.

Holding breath for Senate screenings to reveal instructive or insightful moments could be a let down, judging from the last major screening to take place there. A lot of “take a bow and go” will be said. But if one could muster any excitement, it would be for the likes of Isa Pantami and Sharon Ikeazor who, in three years of leading federal parastatals, have shown themselves technically capable. Ikeazor is one of seven women nominated on this list. If all are confirmed, 16% of cabinet positions will be occupied by women, same as in 2015.

Practically nobody greeted this list with enthusiasm that would be indicative of enormous improvement. Someone named his album “No Bad Songz”; Buhari’s Next Level compilation might as well be called “Many Old Songs”.

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