The presidency has reached out to the Senate informing it of its intention to carry out a cabinet shake up that may affect no fewer than 10 ministers in the federal cabinet early next year, ThisDay reports.
An impeccable source disclosed that the presidency had decided to give the Senate the heads up on the imminent sack of some ministers and their replacement with new nominees in the spirit of the recent rapprochement reached between the Senate leadership and the presidency.
The objective on the part of the presidency is to avert a volatile screening process.
It was learnt that other than the changes to the cabinet, it has become compelling for Buhari to fill the two existing vacancies created by the demise of James Ocholi, former Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, who died in March this year and the imminent exit of the Minister of Environment, Mrs. Amina Mohammed, following her appointment as the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN).
A source close to the presidency, said the president was disturbed by the series of conflicts between it and the Senate in recent times, resulting in the rejection of various presidential requests.
The source who disclosed that some of the 10 ministers to be affected by the exercise would be dropped while others would swap portfolios, added that having worked with the ministers for 14 months, Buhari now has the opportunity to put things in order in his cabinet.
“There is an understanding that in the new year, one of the key assignments the Senate will undertake, aside from the consideration of the 2017 budget, is the screening of new ministerial nominees who will be replacing some of the ministers that will soon be asked to leave the cabinet,” the source said.
It was gathered further that the Buhari administration was prepared to effect changes, following the criticism that it had put round pegs in square holes. So he wants to ensure that come next year, ministers are rightly placed while those considered to be under-performing are shown the exit.
The exercise would affect appointees from the various geopolitical zones, just as it was learnt that both the presidency and the Senate had rubbed minds on the issue in their renewed resolve to work together in the interest of the nation.
The presidency was said to have opted to carry the Senate along in its subsequent plans because it was said to have been taken aback by some of the parliament’s recent decisions.
For instance, only last Thursday, the Senate rejected the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu.
Earlier, it had rejected the president’s request for approval of a $30 billion external borrowing plan. It also returned the non-career ambassadorial list and dropped some nominees of National Communications Commission (NCC).
In addition, it returned the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) before re-considering it stance.
A source said in the Senate that despite the presidency’s search, the forthcoming screening of ministerial nominees would not be a walkover for anyone.
“The senate will set a high standard. Security reports will be taken seriously. There will be thorough screening. It will not be a tea party,” he added.