By Abu ‘Adnan
LAGOS Nigeria (AA) - Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday sworn in 43 ministers and other cabinet-rank officials.
Buhari also announced himself as the substantive Minister of Petroleum, a portfolio he held simultaneously as president in the first term.
Speaking to the ministers, Buhari admitted that Nigeria continues to “face tough challenges” and said the administration must now intensify efforts to “reduce internal security threats and eliminate corruption at all levels” -- reechoing his three-prong program of fight against corruption, economy and national security.
However, Buhari said the government has succeeded in getting the country on the path of growth and development, calling on the new ministers to build on the success and to commit to build a better nation for the citizens.
Owing to the rise of internal security threats and displacement of thousands of people, Buhari created a new portfolio of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development to be manned by Sa’adiya Umar Farouk from northwestern Zamfara state.
Farouk’s pick seems to be an attempt to get an individual with direct knowledge of the rising humanitarian crisis because she comes from a state that was under siege of bandits attacks for over one year amid heavy death tolls, mass displacement and hunger.
“We can only make meaningful progress in our national restoration efforts if we all commit ourselves to addressing the challenges confronting our nation in the best interest of our people and posterity,” he said.
- Mixed reactions
Patrick Agbambu, head of Security Watch Africa think tank, called the Cabinet a “very experienced one” which is expected to do well.
“I believe this is a well thought-out Cabinet. Most of them were ministers before under this administration and that means they are tested. You have new ones too. Going through their CVs, it is clear their portfolios largely match their areas of competence and exposure,” Agbambu told Anadolu Agency.
However, Rasheed Salman, a public affairs analyst, disagreed.
“You have too many politicians in the Cabinet and that’s a cause for worry. I see them playing the politics of the next power shift in 2023 rather than concentrating on governance,” he told Anadolu Agency.
Atiku Samuel, a famed policy analyst, said it might be too early to knock the president over some of his decisions regarding the new Cabinet.