After a long wait, Nigeria’s President Umaru Yar’Adua has finally completed his cabinet reshuffle. The list of “new” ministers is underwhelming and there are no radical differences. The notorious Attorney-General and Justice Minister Michael Aondoakaa has been retained (he of Ribadu hounding and Ibori protecting fame). So do not expect any corrupt ministers, officials or former Governors who looted the state treasury to be prosecuted any time soon. As long as Aondoakaa remains in office, Nigeria will remain a Shangri-La for looters of state funds.
Noteworthy new ministers are Professor Dora Akunyili – formerly head of Nigeria’s National Agency for Food And Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC). When it was announced that she was shortlisted for a ministry, it was presumed she would be made the new Minister of Health (she is a Professor of Pharmacy). However instead she was instead appointed Minister of Information and Communications (the government’s chief propaganda minister) which is an odd post for a Pharmacy Professor who gained fame battling peddlers of fake pharmaceutical drugs.
Lots of old “new” faces in the new Federal Executive Council. The former OPEC Secretary-General Dr Rilwanu Lukman returns to the government yet again as Petroleum Minister. As a reminder, Lukman first held this post under the regime of Ibrahim Babangida in 1986 – 22 years ago (yes TWENTY TWO). He also served as Babangida’s Minister of Mines, Power and Steel, and as Foreign Minister. He was an energy adviser to the immediate past government of President Obasanjo.
Another familiar face is the new Minister for Special Duties Ambassador Ibrahim Musa Kazaure. I recall cringing with embarassment several years ago when immediately after the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa and other Ogoni activists by the Abacha regime, Kazaure appeared on national television in the UK to defend the execution and Abacha’s regime. Kazaure was then serving in an ambassadorial role for the Abacha military regime.
The full list of the key Federal Executive Council ministers (Ministers of State are excluded):
Agriculture and Water Resources: Dr Abba Sayyadi Ruma
Attorney-General and Minister of Justice: Michael Aondoakaa
Aviation: Mr. Babatunde Omotoba
Culture & Tourism: Bello J. Gada
Defence: Dr. Shettima Mustapha
Education: Dr. Sam Egwu
Environment: John Odeh Ogar
Federal Capital Territory: M.A. Aliero
Finance: Mansur Mukhtar
Foreign Affairs: Ojo Maduekwe
Health: Prof. B. Osotimehin
Information & Communications: Prof. Dora Akunyili
Interior: Major-General Godwin Abbe (retired)
Justice Minister & Attorney-General of the Federation: Michael Kaase Aondoakaa
Labour: Chief A. Kayode
Mines and Steel: Dizeani Allison-Madueke
Niger Delta: Ufot Ekaette
Petroleum: Dr. Rilwanu Lukman
Police Affairs: Dr. I.Y. Lame
Science and Technology: Dr. A. B. Zaku
Special Duties: Ibrahim Musa Kazaure
Tourism and Culture: Adetokunbo Kayode
Transport: Alhaji Ibrahim Bio
Women’s Affairs: Mrs. S.H. Sulaiman
Works and Housing: Dr. Hassan M. Lawal
Youth Development: Akinlabi Olasunkanmi
Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria: Chukwuma Soludo