– President Muhammed has reportedly shifted the much anticipated cabinet reshuffle till the end of May when his administration will be two years in office
– The initial reports had indicated this January for the removal and redeployment of some cabinet ministers as the case may be
– A source at the National Assembly who revealed this said the President Buhari was advised to wait till the second anniversary of his inauguration
The much-anticipated cabinet reshuffle by President Muhammadu Buhari may have to wait till May 2017 when the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration would be two years in office, it was learnt.
It was gathered that the initial reports had indicated this January for the removal and redeployment of some cabinet ministers as the case may be, but impeccable sources according to Leadership said that the president was no longer keen on the idea after pressures from within and outside the government.
Thirty-six ministers were sworn in by President Buhari on Wednesday, November 11, 2015, but one of them, Barrister James Ocholi, from Kogi State, died in a ghastly road accident on Sunday, March 6, 2016.
Also, the minister of environment, Hajiya Amina Mohammed, from Gombe State, is set to quit the cabinet to take up her new job as deputy secretary-general of the United Nations.
But before now, there have been fierce criticisms over the suitability, or otherwise, of some ministers in relation to the ministries they superintend, a situation, many believe, is responsible for the slow pace of the administration on one the hand and the non-delivery of the promised change on the other.
Those in the know told Leadership that the president has been convinced to delay the cabinet shake-up until May this year as part of a mid-term review mechanism.
A source at the National Assembly who revealed this said the President Buhari was advised to wait till the second anniversary of his inauguration, in the hope that it will help him to fix round pegs in round holes this time around and avoid the “mistakes of the past.”
Leadership also learnt that the mid-term approach will provide the opportunity for filling the vacant slot of Kogi State in the cabinet since the death of Barrister Ocholi about 10 months ago and for the replacement of the outgoing minister of environment since May is not too far from February when she will finally leave FEC to resume at her new office in New York.
Meanwhile, the presidency yesterday denied any planned cabinet reshuffle now or later, describing the rumours of possible change of federal ministers as “rubbish”.
Senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in a phone interview with Leadership last night, said although President Buhari had jokingly mentioned it at a recent FEC meeting after reading the speculations in the print media, there was no such plan.
“The president jokingly raised the issue at a recent cabinet meeting, saying he didn’t know where the stories were coming from. So, since you said you want the truth that is the truth. It’s just rubbish,” he said.
On the delayed appointment of a new minister from Kogi State, the presidential aide said he was unaware of the circumstances surrounding the appointment.
“Call me back tomorrow (today) so that I can find out what is happening,” he added.