More than four months after he was inaugurated, and more than six months after President Buhari was elected, a partial list of his cabinet nominees has been made public. The senate president read aloud the twenty-one names on October 6. Nigeria’s cabinet consists of up to seventy-two ministers and ministers of state. It is not clear how many nominations Buhari will submit to the Senate. In the past he has said that the cabinet is too big, and that he would like to consolidate some ministries.
The list of twenty-one has no real surprises to Nigeria watchers. They include the spokesman for Buhari’s party, the All progressives Congress (APC), Lai Mohammed, and four former state governors (Rotimi Amaechi, Babatunde Fashiola, Chris Ngige, and Kayode Fayemi). Also on the list is Emmanuel Kachikwu, the Buhari-appointed managing director of the state oil company. Among others on the list is the well-regarded Abdulrahman Dambazzau, former chief of defense staff, who has been at Harvard University and the University of Massachusetts Boston. The four former governors are all regarded as having had successful tenures.
The list does not indicate to which ministry the nominees would be assigned. Thus, there is no indication as to who will make up Buhari’s financial and economic team.
Buhari has said that he will be his own petroleum minister, as was former President Olusegun Obasanjo. He also said that a minister of state would oversee the ministry’s day-to-day activities. There is speculation that Kachikwu might be tapped for that position.
The cabinet nominations were made public against the backdrop of the arraignment in a British court for corruption of the former minister of petroleum, Diezani Alison-Maduekwe. Though she has not yet had her day in court, many Nigerians regard her as the face of the extravagant corruption that Buhari campaigned against in his run for the presidency.
The international investor community is impatient over Buhari’s slowness in putting into place his financial and economic team. It will have to wait. Senate consideration of the twenty-one will start only next week, and Buhari still has to submit additional lists of nominees.