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Nigerian news: Yar’adua may reshuffle cabinet

NEWS oozing out of the seat of power in Abuja is suggestive of an imminent cabinet reshuffle by President Umaru Yar’Adua, which is likely to sweep away a top government functionary and about eight ministers

Nigerian Tribune gathered exclusively that the top government functionary appears to enjoy a very cozy relationship with the Nigerian leader and his appearance on the sack list was said to have shocked many of those in the know about the coming cabinet shake-up.

The top government functionary was moved a step higher in the Yar’Adua administration, when the former occupier of the post was controversially sacked by the president after coming back into the country from an equally controversial trip abroad.

The president who has developed a knack for dropping bombshells, when either travelling out of the country or just coming back from such trips, was said to have also planned the imminent shake-up in view of his trip to Saudi Arabia.

One of the ministers, said to be on the sack list is reportedly the most controversial in the Yar’Adua administration.

Though one of the favourites of the president, close associates of the Nigerian leader were said to have persuaded him to dispense with the services of the minister, who they accused of bringing the administration into disrepute on a daily basis.

At a point, a powerful security officer in the administration was said to have stepped into his alleged ‘many sins’ and relating them to the president, when it reportedly became obvious that he also had his sympathisers in very sensitive positions in the seat of power, who were allegedly putting in favourable words for him with the president and shielding incriminating documents about him from the Nigerian leader.

According to a source, “his (the minister’s) days are more than numbered. Of course, he’s among those to go.”

He is also said not to be leaving anything to chance as he is said to have also been working round the clock to stop his sack, by getting those who have the ears of the president to help him convince Yar’Adua that those asking for his removal were not doing it for the benefit of the nation.

Another minister, also said to be on the sack list is from a state in the North-Central.

He mans a ministry which is seen as very crucial to the economic development of the nation, though many agencies under the ministry are moribund.

It was learnt that he touched a raw nerve of the president when he had problems with some prominent members of the elusive but powerful Katsina mafia, even though his state governor, reportedly, recently visited Abuja to plead for him.

He was said to have become a marked man after the problem with the influential group.

A female minister reportedly became an automatic candidate on the list after a lacklustre performance in two ministries.

Non-performance is said to have been a major negative factor against other ministers said to be on the list, with the administration reportedly repackaging for a greater and better service delivery.