Following President Muhammadu Buhari hint of a possible cabinet expansion when he addressed party members at the All Progressives Congress (APC) meeting recently, we gathered that the President may present a list of his new cabinet members for approval to the Senate this week.
Buhari had recently agreed that there was need to have additional hands to support his government as part of moves to close ranks and consolidate ahead of the 2019 elections. He realized that if the APC government continue in their current trend, which is frustrating Nigerians, the APC would not survive past the end of their first term.
Buhari is said to have finalised the list of about eight new ministers and some of the current ministries he plans to split like Transportation and Power, Works and Housing.
Recall that in his address on Tuesday, October 31, the President promised the APC leadership that he would expand his cabinet above the current 36-member structure to accommodate “fresh ideas and fresh blood.”
This latest development is a clear departure from his pre-election promise. Recall that Buhari promised to run a relatively lean government in order to reduce the cost of governance, the president said the new Federal Executive Council (FEC) would be expanded to bring in more supporters at the federal level. He also promised to re-constitute the boards of parastatals as pledged in 2016.
Describing the current FEC structure as compact, Buhari reiterated, “The compressed federal executive council will be expanded to bring in more supporters at federal level, with fresh ideas to be injected into the government. Last year, I said we would re-constitute the boards of parastatals. I must regret the fact that we have not done so, for many reasons.
“Some of us in this meeting may know I had given instructions since October 2015 for this exercise to start. But there have been inordinate delays through several committees in an attempt to get the balance right and to make sure all parts of the country are equitably represented. On the other hand, I am keenly aware that our supporters are very eager for these appointments to be announced. By the grace of God, these appointments will be announced soon. Especially now that the economy is improving, we will have the resources to cater to the appointees.”