At last – a cabinet!
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)
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.