At last – a cab­i­net!

Finweek English Edition - - NEWS - ed­i­to­rial@fin­week.co.za

More than five months af­ter the in­au­gu­ra­tion of Nige­rian Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari, Africa’s largest econ­omy

has a cab­i­net.

Fi­nally, more than five months af­ter the in­au­gu­ra­tion of Nige­rian Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari, Africa’s largest econ­omy has a cab­i­net. Buhari may have spent a long time wran­gling with names and weigh­ing up op­tions, but that’s noth­ing com­pared to the chal­lenge the new min­is­ters of the fed­eral repub­lic face as they start work in their new des­ig­na­tions, which were all an­nounced last week af­ter the cab­i­net was sworn in.

Here’s our break­down of the cab­i­net shake­down.

THE BIG WIN­NER: Kemi Adeo­sun (Ogun State) Fi­nance

An ex­cep­tion­ally pow­er­ful brief for a woman whose pro­file wasn’t high be­fore she ap­peared on the min­is­te­rial list, Adeo­sun is now in charge of re­viv­ing the fi­nan­cial for­tunes of Nige­ria at a time of weak oil prices and ter­ri­ble in­vestor sen­ti­ment, not least since the re­cent MTN fine. Her work in her home state is praised by many, though spec­u­la­tion as to her con­duct dur­ing her ten­ure as com­mis­sioner for fi­nance in Ogun has cir­cu­lated in re­cent weeks.

THE NOT-QUITE OIL MIN­IS­TER: Ibe Kachikwu (Delta State) Min­is­ter of state for petroleum re­sources

The most talked-about post in the Nige­rian cab­i­net is that of min­is­ter for petroleum re­sources. Fol­low­ing on from the con­tro­ver­sial Diezani Alison-Madueke (re­cently ar­rested in Lon­don on cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions), Buhari knew he had to make the right choice. So he’s cho­sen him­self: Buhari will keep over­sight of the min­istry, sup­ported by Kachikwu as min­is­ter of state. As is con­ven­tional, Buhari has picked a Delta in­di­gene for a Delta-fo­cused job, but be­yond that, Buhari’s abil­ity to cede con­trol of any part of the min­istry to a sec­ond-in-com­mand speaks vol­umes about the re­gard in which he holds Kachikwu.

THE LEAST EX­PECTED BRIEF:

Ro­timi Amaechi (Rivers State)

Trans­porta­tion

Amaechi’s in­clu­sion on the min­is­te­rial list has been a hot potato; while he’s rock star pop­u­lar in parts of the Niger Delta, there are ques­tions about his suit­abil­ity for the cab­i­net of anti-cor­rup­tion cam­paigner Buhari. In giv­ing Amaechi the trans­porta­tion min­istry – a rel­a­tively low-pri­or­ity beat – Buhari may be at­tempt­ing to bal­ance the need to have Amaechi in­side his cab­i­net as a way of thank­ing him for his work dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign with ap­pease­ment of the naysay­ers by keep­ing him away from the most im­por­tant min­istries of state. How­ever, if Buhari’s plans for a new na­tional air­line get off the ground, so to speak, Amaechi will soon be in the spot­light.

THE ONE TO WATCH: Kay­ode Fayemi (Ek­iti State) Solid min­er­als

Fayemi’s ap­point­ment is a happy sur­prise for those who want to see Nige­ria di­ver­sify away from oil and into met­als and min­ing – he had been tipped for the for­eign af­fairs min­istry. Known for his clean rep­u­ta­tion, prag­ma­tism and abil­ity to get things done even in Nige­ria’s tur­bu­lent busi­ness world, prospec­tive in­vestors should see this as a big step in the right di­rec­tion on what will be a very, very long jour­ney to min­ing pros­per­ity for Nige­ria, es­pe­cially given cur­rent met­als prices.

…AND THE HARD­EST JOB IN AFRICAN POL­I­TICS

Ba­batunde Fashola (La­gos State)

Power, works and hous­ing

Fashola was said by some in­sid­ers to be keen for a rest af­ter his years as gov­er­nor in La­gos State, but the months of down­time since the elec­tion have clearly been enough respite for the tech­no­crat in the eyes of the pres­i­dent. Worka­holic Fashola is now in charge of power in a coun­try with a des­per­ately de­graded grid, works in a coun­try with all but empty cof­fers, and hous­ing in a coun­try with more than 1m in­ter­nally dis­placed peo­ple. We wish him all the best.

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