Nigeria president Muhammadu Buhari will soon appoint more ministers into his cabinet. He will also make board appointments, a demand by his party members over the months.
Buhari gave hints of the new appointments in a speech delivered on Tuesday to the National Executive of the All Progressives Congress at the national secretariat in Abuja.
At the moment he has 36 ministers, with 14 of them being ministers of state. He doubles as the full minister of petroleum.
He said he was having a trimmed cabinet to avoid waste.
Now faced by demands by his party for more inclusiveness and patronage, he said he would be shifting ground soon.
The “compressed Federal Executive Council,” he said, “will be expanded to bring in more supporters at federal level, with fresh ideas to be injected into the government.”
He did not indicate whether he will do a cabinet reshuffle.
Similarly, the president also hinted he will be appointing more people into the boards of government agencies and corporations.
“Last year I said we would re-constitute the boards of parastatals. I must regret the fact that we have not done so, for many reasons.
“Some of us in this meeting may know I had given instructions since October 2015 for this exercise to start. But there have been inordinate delays through several committees in an attempt to get the balance right and to make sure all parts of the country are equitably represented.
“On the other hand I am keenly aware that our supporters are very eager for these appointments to be announced. By the grace of God these appointments will be announced soon. Especially now that the economy is improving, we will have the resources to cater for the appointees,” he said.
Last week, the president stepped up consultations with the party bigwigs and supporters who brought him to power in 2015, indications that he was preparing grounds for a run in the 2019 election.
On Monday night, he hosted a caucus of the party and held another meeting with the leaders of the National Assembly, Speaker Yakubu Dogara and Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
The president, who survived a serious ill-health that took him away for about six months, thanked his party men and women for their good wishes, in the restoration of his health.
“I wish to thank you all party leaders for helping to keep the government running smoothly during my prolonged absence.
“I would like to start by commending our party leadership chaired by His Excellency, Chief John Oyegun. The Chairman and I worked harmoniously during 1984-85 in a previous government. Happily, circumstances have brought us again to positions of leadership in the country.
“I want to thank Chief Oyegun and his staff for steering the party in the last two and a half years. Sometimes it is easier to manage failure than to manage success – and a big success such as that we have achieved.
“I must also commend the leadership of the National Assembly led by Senate President His Excellency, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki and Rt Hon Speaker Mr Yakubu Dogara. I must place on record the cooperation and understanding of the National Assembly including some non-APC members who rose above petty party interests and acted in the national interest.
“My deep thanks also go to our state governors who faced stiff challenges, especially their determination to maintain unity and tolerance among our communities. This is in the face of unnecessary politically motivated strife and violence. Credit should go to APC governors for extending their hand of fellowship to their colleagues from other parties.”
He also used the opportunity to review the progress made so far by his administration.
“We can be proud of our achievements in the last two years, Boko Haram, Niger Delta, regular fuel, improved power, TSA, agriculture and fertilizer, above all, the knowledge that corruption will not be tolerated in this government. We all know there is change.
“Nigeria’s prestige has gone up, Nigeria is now credit–worthy, a clear testimony of which was the over-subscription of the Euro-Bond by four times.
“Nevertheless, we are not resting on our achievements. I am quite aware of the challenges before us.
“Let me thank you all again for the commitment and dedicated service to our party and to remind you that much more will be required of you in the coming months. I hope we can continue to depend on you.
“If we keep united and rise above petty or personal quarrels we will surely achieve the desired change in the country,” Buhari stated.