By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
On May 29, President Muhammadu Buhari will begin the Next Level journey which is his second and final tenure as prescribed by the Constitution of the country.
Before the end of the first tenure, it is expected that the President would have carried out an x-ray of his ministers’ performance in the past three years to determine if they have really keyed into his agenda.
For quite some time, President Buhari had been inundated with calls to change his cabinet as some of his ministers were said to have performed below average, but in his characteristic manner, the President kept to his cool, perhaps to avoid creating bad blood as elections were around the corner.
Despite the alleged abysmal performance of some ministers in carrying out their responsibilities, the President retained them. But some have also performed fairly well and could join the Next Level train.
President Buhari is known not to discard his followers, friends and associates very easily and some of the ministers who have followed him for many years may continue in the next administration.
However, there are speculations that some of the ministers who though may not have performed below average but were unable to deliver the All Progressives Congress, APC especially during the presidential election could be shown the exit door.
Some of the ministers who may likely be retained in the Next Level include the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed. Though, he is an associate of the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, he contributed immensely to ensuring that Kwara State was ‘captured’ by the APC in the last election.
Besides, Moham-med’s excellent performance especially as the APC publicity secretary when the party was in the opposition has always counted for him. Till date, he enjoys accolades for that.
However, there are speculations that the information and culture ministry may be split into two and the current Senior Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora Matters, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa may be considered to be in charge of one of the portfolios.
Chief Audu Ogbe
Chief Ogbe has been with President Buhari since he was removed as the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, during Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration. He is said to have convinced the President that he has introduced a lot of reforms in the Agriculture ministry and has contributed in cutting down importation of rice into the country.
The Benue State elder statesman has also told Nigerians that the country now exports yams to other countries, though this claim is being challenged in some quarters. However, many states of the federation have started producing rice. However, some have alleged that the Agriculture minister has not been telling the President the real situation in the ministry while age is no longer on his side for the job.
Mallam Adamu Adamu
Mallam Adamu Adamu, the Education Minister is one of the ministers who may likely be retained in the cabinet. The Bauchi State born politician was a columnist before he joined the cabinet and has been a close associate of the President right from the Petroleum Task Fund, PTF, days when President Buhari was chairman of the Fund. Like earlier pointed out, the President rarely abandons his close friends.
Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu
Dr. Onu who is the current Minister of Science and Technology is one of the ministers not popular but who has 50-50 percent chance of being retained. He is not only seen as a man of integrity like the President, he is also of the President’s generation. Some political analysts say that Dr. Onu has a fifty-fifty chance. But the relationship between the President and the Ebonyi state governor, Engineer Dave Umahi may likely affect the chances of the minister to join the Next Level cabinet. Ebonyi state is one of the states in the South east where the President got a reasonable number of votes in the zone during the Presidential election.
Fashola who is a former governor of Lagos State is the Minister of Power, Works and Housing. He has been a backbone of the government. In fact, the President has so much confidence in him and that was why three grade ‘A’ ministries were merged into one and assigned to him. Though there has been lamentation that not much has been done on the power sector of the ministry, the President appears to be at home with the “Lagos home boy”.
However, with the denial of second term ticket to the outgoing governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, there are talks that the President may ask Fashola to split the ministry to accommodate Ambode who was said to be one of the best performing governors in the country and is expected that he would do more at the center.
Rotimi Amaechi is the minister of Transportation and Director General of the APC Presidential Campaign Organi-zation. The former governor of Rivers state is one of the stalwarts of the APC in the South-South. In fact, he is the leader of the party in the zone and played a prominent role in the emergence of President Buhari at the party’s presidential primaries in 2014. He has been having serious battle with the Rivers State governor, Chief Nyesom Wike and leaving him outside the corridors of power might spell doom for APC in Rivers. Besides, he is expected to continue with the rail project of the administration.
Hadi Sirika is the Minister of State for Aviation. He has received commen-dations for some remarkable achieve-ments in the aviation ministry. However, there is the fear that Senator Abu Ibrahim may take his slot in the Next Level government.
Abubakar Malami is the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice. He has played significant role in the present administration, but there is the insinuation that President Buhari may drop any cabinet member.
Dr. Ibe Kachikwu
Dr. Kachikwu is the minister of State for Petroleum Resources. The Delta state born politician has done well in the ministry in which President Buhari is the substantive minister. Some analysts have said that he is not in charge of affairs of the ministry. His issues with the Group Managing Director of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mekanti Baru in 2017 may affect his movement to the Next Level.
Senator Udoma Udo Udoma
Senator Udoma is the minister of Budget and Economic Planning. He has served the government well but there is the insinuation in some quarters that the former governor of the state, Senator Godswill Akpabio may be the possible replacement. However, some circumstances against Akpabio may spoil his chance .
The Minister of Interior, General Abdulrahman Danbazzau and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, may be lucky to make the next cabinet.
Although some other ministers may scale the hurdle to the Next Level, it is yet unclear whether the Minister of State for Education, Minister of Niger Delta Ministry, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, Minister of State for Agriculture among others will be part of next cabinet.