ANALYSIS: 12 ministers Buhari retained in previous portfolios

Bashir Magashi is one of the 44 ministers inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari last week.
Bashir Magashi is one of the 44 ministers inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari last week.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday assigned portfolios to the 43 newly inaugurated ministers about a month after they were appointed.

Mr Buhari, who was returned as president in a keenly contested election, was sworn in for his second tenure on May 29.

In appointing his new cabinet in July, the president retained Babatunde Fashola, Chris Ngige and 12 others who served in the old cabinet while 18 others were not reappointed, a PREMIUM TIMES check revealed.

Expectedly, 12 of the 14 ministers from the last cabinet were returned to serve in their previous posts.

The only two returning ministers not retained in their previous positions are Mustapha Baba Shehuri and Osagie Enahire. Mr Shehuri was previously state minister of power, works and housing but now serves as the Minister of State, Agric and Rural Development while Mr Ehanire was made substansive health minister after his stint as state health minister.

Below are 12 ministers returned to serve in their previous portfolios:

1. Ogbonnaya Onu: Elected the first governor of old Abia State in 1991, Ogbonnaya Onu said he would work to be the best minister in Nigeria after he was appointed Minister of Science and Technology in 2015.

Though he had great ideas to promote homegrown technology in all agencies under the ministry, the lack of follow-up and accountability appeared to be a major challenge to progress, an analysis of Mr Onu’s three years in office by PREMIUM TIMES revealed.

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Most of his promises such as creating 400, 000 jobs through pencil production is yet to materialise.

He was reappointed in the same ministry, but this time will be assisted by a Minister of State, Mohammed Abdullahi.

2. Adamu Adamu: Before his first appointment as education minister in 2015, Adamu Adamu was a columnist for Media Trust‘s titles and often was syndicated by many news outlets including London-based Crescent International.

A PREMIUM TIMES analysis of his two years in office scored him average in performance.

He failed to reduce Nigeria’s out of school children despite pledging to reduce the number by half before the end of his tenure.

While Mr Adamu was reappointed as education minister, his state counterpart was replaced with Emeka Nwajiuba.

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3. Hadi Sirika: A pilot and a former senator from Katsina State, Hadi Sirika was among appointees asked to “take a bow” and leave by the Senate during the ministerial screening because he was a former lawmaker in both lower and upper chambers.

When he was appointed Minister of Aviation in 2015, Mr Sirika, 55, became known for baring his mind against ownership of private aircraft through corrupt means.

However, domestic flight operations declined under his watch because of inadequate facilities at many of the airports which affects low passenger traffic.

High cases of delayed flights were also recorded. Mr Sirika was scored average in this paper’s analysis of his two years in office.

He was returned as Minister of Aviation.

4. Chibuike Amaechi: Despite several controversies trailing him, Mr Amaechi, a former governor of Rivers State, was also reappointed to serve in the Ministry of Transportation without the ‘aviation’ segment.

He was the Director-General of President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election campaign organisation.

Mr Amaechi was caught in an audio recording released by the opposition PDP in January saying Nigerians were hungry and poverty has been growing under President Buhari.

He was scored average in this medium’s rating of his stewardship in the ministry.

5. Mohammed Bello: This is one minister whose possible return had raised controversy especially among residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Abuja gradually became a sharp contrast of its original plan under Mr Bello as FCT minister. His administration seemingly turned a blind eye as infrastructure and public utilities in the city deteriorated.

When news of Mr Bello’s ministerial re-nomination broke, some Abuja residents expressed shock and disappointment.

He was returned as FCT minister, nonetheless. However, a minister of state, Ramatu Tijani, has been assigned to assist him.

6. Babatunde Fashola: A former Lagos State governor was returned as Minister of Works and Housing. However, the power segment of his previous portfolio was removed this time.

President Buhari’s decision to take out the power ministry from Mr Fashola did not come as a surprise to keen observers.

In fact, merging the three important ministries under a ‘super minister’ has proved to be a huge unsuccessful gamble.

Mr Fashola did not, arguably, consolidate his performance as governor of Lagos State in his first stint as a minister especially in the power sector.

His often bloated assessment of the power sector is a sharp contrast to realities on the ground as power supply, arguably, diminished under his watch.

His performance was rated average in a PREMIUM TIMES analysis of his two years in office.

7. Lai Mohammed: He was appointed to head the ministry of information and culture in 2015 and played his role as government mouthpiece quite well.

The Kwara born lawyer and former National Publicity Secretary of the APC was rated average in a PREMIUM TIMES analysis of his stewardship.

Mr Mohammed was reappointed information minister.

8. Abubakar Malami: Mr Malami served as the national legal adviser for the defunct Congress for Progressives Change (CPC), a party founded by Mr Buhari in 2010.

CPC was one of the opposition parties which fused into the All Progressives Congress (APC) on which platform Mr Buhari won the presidential election in 2015.

Following his appointment as minister in November 2015, Mr Malami became an officer expected to champion the cause of justice in a government that pledged a war against corruption.

However, the attorney general was regarded as aiding government’s disobedience of court orders among several other controversies trailing his first stint.

He was nonetheless called back to serve as Nigeria’s justice minister.

9. Chris Ngige: A former governor of Anambra State came back as Minister of Labour and Employment despite his faceoff with several labour unions in his first stint.

Mr Ngige also failed to manage grievances by several workers’ union which resulted in strike actions.

The main labour coalition, NLC, also declared Mr Ngige an enemy of workers and asked President Buhari not to reappoint him.

Mr Ngige’s performance was rated average in this newspapers’ analysis.

10. Geoffrey Onyeama: One of his shortfalls in his first stint was the failure to address the challenges of the country’s diplomatic missions abroad despite promises of reform and rationalisation.

Many of the 110 Nigerian missions and embassies abroad are still a national embarrassment as they still groan under financial difficulties.

Mr Onyeama was rated average in a PREMIUM TIMES analysis of his stewardship.

He was also returned as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

11. Zainab Ahmed: Following the resignation of the past minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun, President Buhari in 2018 appointed Zainab Ahmed to oversee the ministry.

Mrs Ahmed was Nigeria’s Minister of State Budget and National Planning until her appointment.

The Kaduna politician has now been reappointed as substantive finance minister.

12. Adamu Suleiman: Before his appointment as Minister of Water Resources in 2015, Suleiman Adamu, a structural engineer, served as the Managing Director of Integrated Engineering Associates (IEA), an engineering consultancy firm based in Kaduna.

After the announcement of his return to his post on Wednesday, Jigawa-born Mr Adamu pledged to reposition the ministry’s roadmap, geared toward achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) six for quality water and sanitation in the country.

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