Following Wednesday's sack of nine ministers by President Goodluck Jonathan, an intense lobby has begun in the Presidential Villa, Abuja by both serving ministers, who want to clinch better portfolios, members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and cronies of the presidency.
The sack of the nine ministers brings to 12 the total number of seats that are currently vacant.
Former Minister of Youths Affairs, Mr. Inuwa Abdulkadir, was dropped from the cabinet on August 27, while former Minister of State for Health, Prof. Ali Muhammad Pate, voluntarily resigned to take up a professorial job in the United States.
Equally, the position of Minister of Defence has remained vacant since the middle of last year, when its former occupant, Muhammad Bello Haliru, was ousted along with the erstwhile National Security Adviser (NSA), the late Gen. Andrew Owoye Azazi.
Although Bello's state, Kebbi got a replacement in the cabinet in the person of the incumbent Minister of Special Duties, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, the defence portfolio had only one minister up to the time Mrs Olusola Obada, was removed alongside eight others on Wednesday.
A source in the presidency told THISDAY that from the moment the sack of the ministers became public knowledge yesterday, "many party members and other Nigerians have been inundating us with calls seeking to be part of those who will replace those who lost their jobs."
"I can also tell you that even some of the serving ministers are also lobbying to get better positions, particularly in the Ministries of Defence, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Education, Foreign Affairs and Environment," the source added.
He listed politicians and others lobbying for the ministerial positions as some serving governors, businessmen, retired military officers, former top legislators, technocrats, serving and disengaged aides to high political office holders.
So far, nine states do not have representation in the Federal Executive Council (FEC), following the recent caninet shake up.
These vacant slots are those of Jigawa, Kano, Kaduna and Akwa Ibom. Others are Osun, Borno, Niger, Sokoto and Bauchi States.
Meanwhile, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, has said he was leaving the ministry a fulfilled man owing to his lists of achievements as the country's Chief Diplomat in the last two years.
Top on the list, according to Ashiru, was Nigeria's success in securing 22 positions in regional and international organisations out of 24 identified at the beginning of his appointment.
Some of the positions include; Commissioner for Political Affairs in the African Union, Commissioner for Peace and Security at the ECOWAS Commission.
Ashiru, who handed over to the Foreign Affairs Minister of State 1, Prof. Viola Onwuliri, in Abuja Thursday, also noted that Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) to the country hit $8 billion in 2012 while Foreign Direct Remittance from Nigerians in the Diaspora was put at about $22 billion.
Other achievements he listed included; signing of diplomatic instruments of Bi-national and Joint commissions, collaboration and engagements with neighbours, joint border security arrangements, resuscitation of regional seminars for heads of mission, among several others.
He added that one of his main missions was to see to the appointments of career diplomat as Nigeria's envoys to other countries.
He added that just early this week, he and the other Ministers of Foreign Affairs had submitted the names of all Foreign Ministry officers from level 17 to be appointed as ambassadors.
"I am leaving the Foreign Ministry as a fulfilled man considering my achievements in just two years," he said.
The Minister appealed to the staff and management of the ministry to work to support Onwuliri who is now acting Minister of Foreign Affairs while he expressed appreciation to President Goodluck Jonathan for the opportunity to serve and contribute his quota to national development.
Onwuliri, lauded the efforts of Ashiru which she said changed the fortunes of the ministry staff and Nigeria's face in the international limelight.
She added that she would not be surprised to see him appointed to serve Nigeria in another capacity in the next coming days.
The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Ambassador Martin Uhomoibhi, noted that Ashiru as a career diplomat is one of the five career diplomats who got the chance to also serve as Ministers of Foreign Affairs.
He described his working experience with the former minister as rewarding.