President Buhari and his golden cabinet

After weeks of suspense and intrigue, the Senate completed the screening and confirmation of 36 ministerial candidates on October 29, 2015.

President Muhammadu Buhari

After five months of waiting, President Muhammadu Buhari has finally presented Nigerians with his cabinet.

Buhari submitted a first list of nominees, containing 21 names, to the Senate on September 30, 2015, and a second with 16 names on October 12.

After more weeks of suspense and intrigue, the Senate completed the screening and confirmation of 36 ministerial candidates on October 29.

Buhari’s cabinet, or rather the absence of one, has been an endless source of controversy in Nigeria and abroad.

The president had been under immense pressure to choose ministers since his inauguration on May 29 but he refused to bend and at one point expressed his confusion saying “I don't know why people are so anxious to have ministers.”

Further outcry on the subject led Buhari to describe ministers as ‘noisemakers just like politicians’ in a bid to explain his delay in forming a cabinet.

“The ministers are there, I think, to make a lot of noise; for the politicians to make a lot of noise. But the work is being done by the technocrats,” Buhari said on September 16, 2015, during an interview on French television station, France 24.

“So I think this question of ministers is political. People from different constituencies want to see their people directly in government, and see what they can get out of it,” he added.

Despite the outrage this comment attracted, Buhari was very correct about the position of ministers in the country and his nominees buttress this point.

A large number of Nigeria’s ministers-in-waiting are politicians who will probably not have much working experience in the areas they are sent to.

They will be forced to lean on their permanent secretaries and other civil servants, the technocrats Buhari referred to during his interview, to make the ministries work.

The disadvantage of this arrangement is that if a minister refuses to accept his inadequacies, he could become a clog in the wheel of his ministry’s affairs and eventually stall its growth.

Nevertheless, Nigerians have their ministers now and all we can do is wait and see if Buhari’s golden cabinet will perform the miracles that are expected by the citizens who eagerly awaited its arrival.


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