Cabinet reshuffle likely as Osinbajo inaugurates ministers today

Acting president Yemi Osinbajo

The Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, will on Wednesday (today) inaugurate the two ministers-designate that were screened by the Senate in May.

The PUNCH learnt on Tuesday that arrangements were at an advanced stage to inaugurate the two ministers, Stephen Ocheni (Kogi) and Suleiman Hassan (Gombe), who were confirmed by the Senate on May 3.

“It is very likely that the inauguration will hold tomorrow (Wednesday) but there are still some confirmations to be made on the matter,” a Presidency source told our correspondent.

The inauguration will take place inside the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja at the commencement of the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council to be presided over by Osinbajo.

The Presidency, however, refused to give a specific date that the new ministers would be inaugurated when asked on Tuesday.

When asked during a press conference on Tuesday, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, simply said the inauguration would be “done sooner than you expect.”

There are reports that with the inauguration of the new ministers, Osinbajo may effect minor cabinet reshuffle to accommodate them.

The  House of Representatives had on July 11 handed down a seven-day ultimatum to Osinbajo to inaugurate the ministers whose names were forwarded to the Senate by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Osinbajo had failed to inaugurate the ministers since Buhari left the country for London, United Kingdom where he is currently receiving medical attention.

The slots of Kogi and Gombe states in the federal cabinet had been vacant following the death of the Minister of State for Labour, Mr. James Ocholi (SAN), in an accident on March 6, 2016; and the appointment of former Minister of the Environment, Amina Mohammed, as the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.

The Acting President had also told State House correspondents two weeks ago shortly after returning from London where he visited Buhari that the two ministers-designate would soon be inaugurated.

He, however, said he had no date in mind.

“No. We didn’t discuss inauguration (of ministers) or anything like that. We didn’t. I’m not in a position to say anything. I don’t have a date in mind but I’m sure very very soon, we will do that,” he had said.Punch

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