Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Cabinet Shake-Up - Orubebe, Three Other Ministers to Go

Abuja — Indications emerged, last night, that President Goodluck Jonathan might have concluded plans to offload four ministers from his cabinet in a reshuffle that is about to take place this month.

The four ministers; Elder Godsday Orubebe, Mr. Bala Muhammad, Stella Odua and Labaran Maku, are said to have indicated interest in the 2015 election and had obtained the tacit approval of the President to proceed with the process of contesting the gubernatorial elections in their respective states.

Minister of State for Education, Mr Nyesom Wike is also believed to be leaving the Federal cabinet to actualise his political ambition.

A competent source told Vanguard that the cabinet reshuffle, the first major one to be undertaken by President Jonathan since coming into office after the 2011 election, is planned to mark the second anniversary of his administration and to pave the way for those with higher political ambition to actualise their plans.

2015: More ministers warm up for guber posts

The source said that there might be more ministers who are interested in taking over from the current set of governors across the country but that the picture would emerge in the next few days as the President was set to unfold the shape of his cabinet that would enable him to deliver dividends of democracy to the nation and win re-election in 2015.

The source hinted that it was as a result of the subtle blessing given the Niger Delta Minister by Jonathan to begin the process of taking over from Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State that made Orubebe publicly announce his gubernatorial ambition to the people of the state during a recent visit.

Although, the declaration of his political interest to rule Delta State has pitted him against his godfather, a source close to the Presidency said that the apparent difference would be resolved in Orubebe's favour since Clark could not disagree with Jonathan's interest.

"The most important development in the Delta situation is that Orubebe has got the endorsement of both President Jonathan and Governor Uduaghan. At the appropriate time, Clark who brought Orubebe into the ministerial seat, will calm down," the source explained.

It was also learnt that the Federal Capital Territory Minister, Mr. Bala Muhammad, had also pleaded with the President to allow him contest as the gubernatorial candidate of the PDP in Bauchi State so as to take over from his former boss, Mallam Isa Yuguda.

The major snag in Muhammad's case, however, is that an influential female player in the administration of Jonathan described as Bala's godmother might not be favourably disposed to allowing him to leave the crucial FCT ministerial post for the murky water of politics.

The woman, it was gathered, was instrumental to Bala's choice in 2010 and re-appointment in 2011 and would therefore grudgingly acquiesce to his 'untimely' exit from the cabinet.

Maku, Odua eye Nasarawa, Anambra govt houses

In the case of Labaran Maku and Stella Odua, the source explained that political strategists believe that they have what it takes to wrestle power from the opposition governors in Nasarawa and Anambra states and give the PDP an edge in the next election.

Maku, an Eggon, the largest tribe in Nasarawa State, may, however, have to contest against Solomon Ewuga, another strong politician, who recently won a court victory to represent the area in the Senate.

Odua, a strong campaigner for Jonathan, is also said to have the ears of Governor Peter Obi, who is enjoying his second term in office and is seen as the arrow head of support for President Jonathan in the South-East.

A cabinet member, who spoke in confidence to Vanguard confirmed that there were permutations around 2015 and that the President being a democrat would not stand in the way of any member with political ambition.

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