Nigerian Cabinet Approved Without Oil Minister
Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo announced the composition of his new cabinet on February 8th, again without appointing a minister to head the key oil portfolio.
The Nigerian senate on February 8th endorsed Obasanjo’s nominees to replace ministers sacked in a cabinet reshuffle on January 24th.
Obasanjo had fired 10 of his 49 ministers amid widespread criticism of the quality of the cabinet and the performance of the West African country’s economy.
Obasanjo’s first cabinet after taking office in May 1999 had also been without an oil minister and he had appointed Rilwanu Lukman, then OPEC secretary general, in June 1999 as presidential advisor on petroleum and energy.
Government officials indicated that the oil portfolio will remain under the direct supervision of the president, with Lukman retaining his position as presidential advisor.
The new cabinet members had been assessed by the upper house of Nigeria’s parliament on February 7th after two postponements and will be sworn in on February 8th.
Analysts suggest that the relative ease in approving the new appointments signals improving relations between Obasanjo’s government and the legislature. Obasanjo was quick to warn his new cabinet to perform up to his expectations.
The president was quoted as saying that: “The administration’s fight against corruption is a matter of life and death. If any of you think that our fight against corruption is a joke, let him try it, he or she shall face the repercussions.”
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)