As the handover date between the Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari governments, May 29th, 2015 approaches, there are a lot of behind the scenes lobbying and consultations within and outside Nigeria on who will be what in Buhari’s Federal Executive Council.
If some Nigerians are asking questions and are waiting for answers on who will be assigned into various ministries, others are equally asking if the new President will retain the existing ministries and/or appoint ministers of state (junior ministers) into his cabinet.
Many of those asking if Buhar will retain the existing ministries believe that in order to cut excessive spending and block wastage, we do not need all 26 ministries. They argue that during the Gen. Buhari’s military rule in 1983, there was only 15 ministries headed by 15 ministers. There was no minister of state at that time. Each of these ministers were charged to perform creditably well and report to the then Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters.
It must be pointed out though that appointing a minister of state did not start with the Goodluck Jonathan administration. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo introduced the office when he caused a split in the petroleum industry, which he then passed on to the Late Yar Adua’ administration inherited by the Jonathan’s government.
It is also important to note that Obasanjo, in his defence, did that because he was constitutionally mandated to have a minister from each one of the 36 states of the federation, a requirement that Buhari himself must fulfil.
Experts have contributed that for Gen. Buhari to succeed in running the government of transparency and accountability, he needs a few hands to come to the party. It will be ideal for him to fine tune the 15- ministry theory thereby fussing the existing ones into a 15 solid, rock-steady ministries as we wait.
How he achieves that if he ever will should perhaps be one of his sternest test ever. But for now we can reminisce about how his cabinet was back in 1983 and what if any lessons can be replicated post May 29.
Buhari’s Cabinet Ministers OFFICE NAME TERM
Head of State – Muhammadu Buhari 1984–1985
Chief of Staff – Tunde Idiagbon 1984–1985
Defense Domkat – Bali 1984–1985
Agriculture – Bukar Shuaib 1984–1985
Trade – Mahmud Tukur 1984–1985
Communications – A Abdullahi, Lt Col 1984–1985
Education – Yarima Ibrahim 1984–1985
Finance – Onaolapo Soleye 1984–1985
Abuja – Mamman Jiya Vatsa 1984–1985
Health – Emmanuel Nsan 1984–1985
Internal Affairs – Mohammed Magoro 1984–1985
Foreign Affairs – Ibrahim Gambari 1984–1985
Minister of Information – Sam Omeruah 1984–1985
Transportation – Abdullahi Ibrahim 1984–1985
Energy – Tam David-West 1984–1985
Justice – Chike Offodile 1984–1985
Works – Patrick Koshoni 1984–1985