Nigeria's long-awaited revelation of potential ministers raises questions about reforms implementation

By bne IntelliNews October 6, 2015

Nigeria’s Senate unveiled on October 5 the names of 21 ministerial nominees, which need to be approved by the upper house, but did not specify their portfolios. Senate President, Bukola Saraki, made public the letter, sent by President Muhammadu Buhari on September 30, in which Buhari says that this is a partial list of potential ministers, while the list of the remaining unspecified number of nominees will follow shortly.

Appointment of a cabinet has been dragging out more than four months now, as General Buhari, who took office on May 29 following end-March’s peaceful elections, has preferred to focus on fighting corruption and the extremist Boko Haram group. Meanwhile, Africa’s largest economy has been agonising under the burden of weak oil prices, which led to slowing economic activity and forex market volatility that boosted uncertainty and triggered disputed capital controls imposed by the central bank in the absence of a finance minister.

The screening of the nominees will commence on October 13, and the Senate will have to approve each of the ministers. Buhari has already appointed himself as minister of petroleum resources.

The other nominees, including three women, are mostly well known party activists at an average age of 56, all of them above 40. This compares to a median age of Nigeria's population of around 18, with over 60% of the country’s population below 40, and has thus raised questions about how the much needed comprehensive reforms can be pushed through by the same old politicians.

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