AHEAD of Wednesday’s (today) inauguration of 36 ministers-designate, there were indications on Tuesday that President Muhammadu Buhari, had reduced the number of federal ministries to 25 from about 29.
Under the new dispensation, the ministries of police affairs, aviation and special duties appear to have been scrapped while ministries of Lands, Housing, Urban Development and Works have been merged to become Ministry of Works and Housing. Also, the information, culture, national orientation and tourism ministries have been collapsed into one Ministry of Information and Culture.
The Ministry of Aviation is now under the Ministry of Transportation, among other mergers.
The development came even as the President on Tuesday retired 17 permanent secretaries and announced the appointment of 18 new ones.
In fact, indication that the President had settled for just 25 ministries was contained in the announcement of the appointment and deployment of permanent secretaries by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina.
The permanent secretaries and their ministries, according to the list released by Adesina, are Dr. Shehu Ahmad (Agriculture and Rural Development); Mr. Sunday Echono (Communications); Alhaji Sabiu Zakari (Transportation); Mrs. Ayotunde Adesugba (Information and Culture); Ambassador Danjuma Sheni (Defence); Dr. Shade Yemi-Esan (Education); Mrs. Fatima Mede (Budget and National Planning); Alhaji Mahmoud Isa Dutse (Finance); Ambassador Bulus Lolo (Foreign Affairs); and Dr. Amina Shamaki (Health).
Others are Mr. Aliyu Bisalla (Industry, Trade and Investment); Mr. Bassey Akpanyung (Internal Affairs); Mr. Taiwo Abidogun (Justice); Dr. Habiba Lawal (Science and Technology); Dr. Clement Illoh (Labour and Productivity); Dr. Jamila Shu’ara (Petroleum Resources); Mrs. Binta Bello (Women Affairs); Dr. Babatope Ajakaiye (Federal Capital Territory); Mrs. Rabi Jimeta (Water Resources); Dr. Bukar Hassan (Environment); Mrs. Wakama B. Asifieka (Niger Delta Affairs) and Mr. Istifanus Fuktur (Solid Minerals).
The remaining ones are Mr. Christian Ohaa (Youth and Sports); Engr. A.G. Magaji (Works and Housing); Mr. Louis Edozien (Power); Mr. Jalal Arabi (State House); Mr. Mohammed Bukar (General Services Office, OSGF); Mr. Abbas Mohammed (Ecological Fund Office, OSGF); Dr. Ugo Roy (Council Secretariat); Mr. Aminu Nabegu (Special Services Office, OSGF); Ambassador Bamgbose Akindele (Political Affairs Office, OSGF); Mr. Alo Williams Nwankwo (Economic Affairs Office, OSGF); Mrs. Obiageli Nwokedi (Special Duties Office, OSGF); Mr. Innocent Ogbonnaya (Career Management Office, OHCSF); Mr. S.K.Y. Adelakun (Common Services Office, OHCSF) and Mrs. N. Batagarawa (Service Policy and Strategies Office, OHCSF).
The newly-appointed permanent secretaries are Mrs. Ayotunde Adesugba; Alhaji Mahmoud Isa-Dutse; Mr. Taiwo Abidogun; Dr. Bukar Hassan; Mrs. Wakama Belema Asifieka; Mr. Jalal Ahmad Arabi; Mr. Sabiu Zakari; Mrs. Obiageli Phyllis Nwokedi; Mr. Aminu Nabegu and Mr. Bamgbose Olukunle Oladele.
Others are Mr. Alo Williams Nwankwo; Dr. Shehu Ahmed; Mr. Ogbonnaya Innocent Kalu; Mrs. Nuratu Jimoh Batagarawa; Mr. Christian Chinyeaka Ohaa; Mr. Bassey Apkanyung; Mr. Louis Edozien and Dr. Ugo Roy.
Adesina said the appointments took effect from Monday, two days ago.
A top government official told our correspondent on Tuesday that “the pattern of the list you see in the statement may be a sign of what to come as far as the number of ministries to be maintained by the President are concerned.”
Buhari on Tuesday afternoon held a closed-door meeting with federal permanent secretaries at the Presidential Villa and reportedly told the affected officials about their retirement at the meeting.
The permanent secretaries were led to the closed-door meeting with the President by the acting Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita.
A Presidency source told our correspondent that most of the affected permanent secretaries were those who had been seniors to Oyo-Ita in the civil service.
Buhari had appointed Oyo-Ita in acting capacity recently following the exit of Mr. Danladi Kifasi.
One of the affected permanent secretaries told our correspondent that Oyo-Ita broke down in tears when the President made his intention known during the meeting.
Another source told The PUNCH that the Presidency would not make any formal pronouncement on the sackings until when the affected officials might have received their letters.
The permanent secretaries who attended the Tuesday’s meeting with the President included Dr. Godknows Igali (Power); Mr. Taiye Haruna (Petroleum Resources); Mrs. Anastacia Nwaobia (Finance); Mr. John Chukwu (Federal Capital Territory); Aliyu Ismaila (Defence); Nebolisa Emordi (State House); Ibukun Odusote (Office of the SGF); Mr. Linus Awute (Health) and Abdullahi Yola (Justice), among others.