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Cabinet reshuffle: Yar’Adua shops for technocrats

Posted by By Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja on 2008/09/20 | Views: 1562 |

Cabinet reshuffle: Yar’Adua shops for technocrats

Facts emerged on Friday as to why President Umaru Yar’Adua has been delaying the much-expected cabinet reshuffle.

Facts emerged on Friday as to why President Umaru Yar’Adua has been delaying the much-expected cabinet reshuffle.

A source in the Presidency told our correspondent that Yar’Adua was shopping for seasoned technocrats to take up positions in his cabinet, which has been described as lacklustre. It was gathered that the President had manadated his kitchen cabinet and some associates outside government to submit the names of credible technocrats and administrators who could help in charting a new direction for the government.

The source, who spoke to our correspondent on anonymity, said, “The President wants to take professionals in the areas of the economy, power and engineering. The task for them is to make sure that the economy, which seems to be grounded is giving a new boost. He wants his government to have an identity; he wants a focus; he wants people who can deliver on his seven-point agenda. That is why he wants professionals who are going to be mixed up with politicians. You should, therefore, not be surprised if notable Nigerians who have made their marks in their chosen fields are appointed to man key ministries.”

The source said that although the President had compiled a list of the ministers that would constitute the new cabinet, he could yet replace them with some of the technocrats expected to join the cabinet.

The source said the President was equally awaiting the submission of the reports of the technical committee set up to harmonise the unbundling of ministries. The unbundling of the ministries has increased their number from 20 to 28.

The technical committee, which was set up on September 11 by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, is headed by the Permanent Secretary, General Service Office in the SGF’office, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed. The six-member committee, which a director in the Office of the Head of Service, Dr. Yahaya Abdullahi, will serve as secretary is saddled with the responsibility of “determining the implication of the restructuring of existing parastatals under the supervision of each ministry and to suggest any other change or initiative that would give each ministry the required coherence and capacity in attaining the objectives of its mandate.”

The committee is also expected to determine the corporate mandate of each ministry and the cost-effective structure that will deliver the mandate in line with the seven-point agenda of the President. The source said, “You can see that the President has to wait until this committee finishes its work and submits to the SGF, who will in turn brief the President. That means that the present crop of ministers is likely going to remain until Wednesday next week when they are to attend the Federal Executive Council for the last time before the dissolution.

“By that time, the committee would have finished its work and the President would have been able to identity those technocrats who are going to work with him; because he is going to be judged by the performance of the ministers at the end of the day.” The source said that of particular interest to the President was the person to man the newly created Ministry of Niger Delta.

He said the President was taking his time and had held consultations with Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan on the best person for the job. He said Yar’Adua was being careful to avoid sparking off another controversy, which might affect the idea behind its creation. He said, “You know that it was the same controversy that trailed the announcement of the aborted submit on the Niger Delta. Now, the President wants to consult widely to avoid taking a decision that he will rescind shortly after announcing the minister fin charge of the ministry.” Saturday Punch could not confirm how many ministers would be dropped but another Presidency source said they might be 10.

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