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Buhari axes minister of power in reshuffle

The ministers of power and agriculture in Nigeria were removed from their positions earlier this week in a cabinet reshuffle in that country.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari removed the ministers from their positions, citing the need to improve economic management and the delivery of public services.

Abubakar Aliyu, the minister of state for works and housing, has replaced Saleh Mamman power minister while Mohammad Abubakar, the environment minister replaced Mohammed Sabo Nanono as agriculture minister.

Engr. Abubakar D. Aliyu, FNSE (@EngrAbkrD_Aliyu) | Twitter
Abubakar Aliyu, Nigeria’s new minister of power

“These significant review steps have helped to identify and strengthen weak areas, close gaps, build cohesion and synergy in governance, manage the economy and improve the delivery of public goods to Nigerians,” Buhari said, continuing that they were the result of a process of “independent and critical self-review”.

Speaking on behalf of the president, Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina said: “These significant review steps have helped to identify and strengthen weak areas, close gaps.”

Electricity supply in Nigeria remains erratic, and the country has been hit with a number of total blackouts in recent months. Daily power cuts are a fact of life even in the most developed urban areas.

In a statement, President Buhari said:

“On Wednesday, August 21, 2019, the current Federal Executive Council, FEC, was sworn-in after a rigorous retreat to bring returning and new members up to speed on the accomplishments, challenges and lessons drawn from my first term in office and to emphasise the nine priority areas of government for the second term.

“Two years and some months into the second term, the tradition of subjecting our projects and programmes implementation to independent and critical self-review has taken firm roots through sector reporting during cabinet meetings and at retreats.

“These significant review steps have helped to identify and strengthen weak areas, close gaps, build cohesion and synergy in governance, manage the economy and improve the delivery of public good to Nigerians.

“I must commend this cabinet for demonstrating unparalleled resilience that helped the government to navigate the disruption to global systems and governance occasioned by the emergence of COVID-19 shortly after inauguration. The weekly Federal Executive Council meeting was not spared because the traditional mode was altered.

“As we are all aware, change is the only factor that is constant in every human endeavour and as this administration approaches its critical phase in the second term, I have found it essential to reinvigorate this cabinet in a manner that will deepen its capacity to consolidate legacy achievements.

“Accordingly, a few cabinet changes, marking the beginning of a continuous process, have been approved.

“In due course, substantive nominations will be made to fill the consequential vacancies in accordance with the requirements of the constitution.

“I have personally met with the departing members to thank them for their contributions to discussions in cabinet and the invaluable services rendered to the nation.

‘’Today effectively marks their last participation in the Federal Executive Council deliberations and I wish them the best in all future endeavours. Finally, I wish to reiterate once more, that this process shall be continuous.”

According to local media, Sale Mamman was a controversial minister and was said to have been involved in the removal of the former managing director of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Damilola Ogunbiyi, over internal issues in December 2019. Ogunbiyi is now chief executive officer of Sustainable Energy for All, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All, and Co-Chair of UN-Energy.

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Other controversies included the firing of the managing director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Usman Gur Mohammed in May 2020, the MD of Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET), Marilyn Amobi and James Momoh, Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), in November 2020.

While power reliability increased under the minister, he was heavily criticised for tariff hikes by organised labour.

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