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Cabinet shakeup looms in Buhari’s government


Members of the Nigerian Senate at a plenary

Members of the Nigerian Senate at a plenary

Senate may cut short holiday for fresh nominees

Presidency has put the Senate on alert about the likelihood of fresh ministerial screening.

Senate sources hinted yesterday that no fewer than 10 cabinet ministers might be replaced in a reshuffle very early in the year.

The Senate had last Thursday proceeded on its Christmas and New Year holiday to return January 10, 2017.

It was gathered that the Presidency has lobbied leaders of the Senate to secure prompt and less rancorous screening process.

Already, two vacancies are existing in the Ministerial portfolio, following the death of Barrister James Ocholi, the late Minister of State for Labour and Productivity in March this year and the exit last week of the Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed.

The Environment Minister had left the cabinet to take up the post of Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations(UN).
Sources close to the Presidency and the National Assembly said on Sunday in Abuja that the Presidency was wary of a continuation of recent bashings from the Senate, a situation that has seen a number of nominees dropped during the confirmation process.

It was learnt that at least 10 Ministers would be dropped from the cabinet while some others would be asked to swap portfolios.

“There is an understanding that in the new year, one of the key assignments the Senate will undertake aside the consideration of the 2017 Budget is the screening of some ministerial nominees who will be replacing some of the Ministers who are soon to be asked to leave the cabinet,” a source said.

It was also said that the Ministers soon to leave the cabinet are to cut across the geopolitical zones, an indication that the new names soon to make their ways into the senate will also come from the different zones.

A source said that the Presidency and the Senate had ‘rubbed minds’ regarding the issue and that they had pledged to work for the interest of the nation.

In recent weeks, some of the decisions of the Senate were said to have taken the Presidency by surprise, a situation that was said to have forced the rapprochement.

Also yesterday, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, denied speculations that he had struck a deal with the Ali Modu Sheriff faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with the intention of defecting to that camp from the APC.

Saraki had attended the wedding ceremony of a daughter of Modu Sheriff in Abuja on Sunday evening.

Special Assistant to the Senate President on Print Media, Chuks Okocha, said there was no truth in the story of a likely political alliance between Saraki and Modu Sheriff.

According to Okocha, Saraki attended the wedding because he and Modu Sheriff had been family friends.

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