Written by Suleiman M. Bisalla
There is tension in President Goodluck Jonathan’s cabinet as he sets in motion the machinery to relieve at least 10 serving ministers of their jobs before May 29.
Already, reports indicate that the president has sent 10 nominees to the State Security Service (SSS) for screening. The names include former Special Adviser to the President on the Niger Delta, Mr. Timi Alaibe (Bayelsa State), former Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund, Hamisu Mai Rago (Kaduna State) and the immediate past acting National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Kawu Baraje (Kwara State).
Others are the former Deputy Governor of Imo State, Ada Okwuonu, former National Chairman, the PDP, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo (Enugu State); ex-Governor Chukwuemeka Ezeife (Anambra State); former PDP National Organising Secretary, Uche Secondus (Rivers State); former PDP National Publicity Secretary, Prof. Rufai Alkali (Gombe State); former PDP National Legal Adviser, Olusola Oke (Ondo State) and Senator Abba Aji (Borno State).
The president is said to be concerned about the need to remove some of the ministers with controversies hanging on them or whose performances have not impressed him on the one hand and to compensate some former party leaders on the other.
Some of the nominees are also being considered for withdrawing from the race for the national chairmanship of the PDP in March in agreement with the consensus arrangement by the Presidency to elect Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.
Daily Trust learnt that the SSS will soon commence the screening of the nominees, who would thereafter be forwarded to the Senate for confirmation.
The constitution provides that the President appoints a minister from each state, which gives a total of 36 ministers. But it has been the practice since the regime of former President Olusegun Obasanjo for the president to appoint additional six ministers, one each from the six geo-political zones, bringing the number of federal ministers in the cabinet to 42.
Among the most anxious by the impending cabinet shakeup are ministers representing the six geo-political zones, and those who are already aware that there is a nominee from their states.
They include Diezani Alison Maduekwe, Minister of Petroleum, who hails from Bayelsa State as Timi Alaibe; Hadiza Mailafiya who hails from Kaduna State as Hamisu Mairago; Prof. Berth Nnaji, Minister of Power (Enugu State), Bolaji Abdullahi, Minister of Youths, (Kwara State), Alhaji Tijjani Bukar (Borno State) and Erelu Olusola Abada, Minister of State for Defence (Osun State). Others are Nurudeen Mohammed (Jigawa State) and the FCT Minister Bala Mohammed (Bauchi State), Amal Pepple and Nyesom Wike both from Rivers State.
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