Nigerian cabinet: A mixture of old and new

Abuja - The new cabinet of 39 ministers announced on Thursday by Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua is made up of both technocrats and bureaucrats, some of whom already belonged to the previous government.

The new minister in charge of the Nigerian capital, Abuja, and those for environment and agriculture were redeployed from positions they held in the government of former president Olusegun Obasanjo.

Hassan Muhammad Lawal retains the labour portfolio he has occupied since 2004, while two former legislators who failed to get themselves re-elected are now cabinet members.

Mahmud Yayale Ahmed who was Head of Service throughout the eight years of Obasanjo's regime is now defence minister. He has no military experience.

Yar'Adua's economic programme could follow the same pattern as Obasanjo's as he has also appointed technocrats to manage the country's finances.

The new finance minister, Shamsudeen Usman, who has stepped down as deputy governor of the central bank, already was part of the monetary policy makers of the Obasanjo regime.

Also, Yar'Adua appears to have taken a cue from his predecessor who himself was in charge of the the oil ministry throughout the eight years of his tenure.

He named no overall minister for the sector, but appointed three junior ministers for petroleum, electricity and gas, respectively.

Observers said the appointment of petroleum minister Odein Ajumogobia, a lawyer with no oil background, was aimed at having the oil-rich Niger delta represented in the cabinet.

Speculation that a staff member of Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell might get the oil portfolio because of her relationship with oil majors turned out to be wrong.

Observers said the appointments point to no significant departure from past Nigerian oil policy.

Yar'Adua kept a pledge to co-opt the opposition into his cabinet. He gave two ministerial slots to the opposition All Nigeria's Peoples Party(ANPP), which is challenging the legitimacy of his government in the courts.

Full list of ministers:

Attorney-General and Justice Minister: Micheal Kaase Aondoakaa

Agriculture and Water Resources Minister: Abba Sayyadi Ruma

Junior Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources: Adamu Maina Waziri

Commerce and Industry Minister: Charles Ugwu

Junior Minister for Commerce and Industry:

Ahmed Garba Bichi

Culture and Tourism Minister: Adetokunbo Kayode

Junior minister for Culture and Tourism: Aliyu Idi Hong

Defence Minister: Mahmud Yayale Ahmed

Junior Minister of Defence: Fidelia Akuabata Njeze

Education Minister: Igwe Aja-Nwachukwu

Junior Minister of Education (1): Agada Anthony Jerry

Junior Minister of Education (2): Aishatu Jibril Dukku

Junior Minister of Energy (power): Fatima Balaraba Ibrahim

Junior Minister of Energy (petroleum): Odein Ajumogobia

Junior Minister of Energy (gas): Odusina Olatunde Emmanuel

Environment and Housing Minister: Halima Tayo Alao

Minister of Federal Capital Territory: Aliyu Modibbo Umar

Junior Minister of Federal Capital Territory: John James Akpanudoedehe

Finace Minister: Shamsudeen Usman

Junior Finance Minister: Aderemi Babalola

Foreign Affairs Minister: Ojo Maduekwe

Junior Foreign Minister (1): Tijani Yahaya Kaura

Junior Foreign Minister: Ambassador Bagudu Hirse; Health Minister: Adenike Grange

Junior Health Minister: Gabriel Yakubu Aduku

Information and Communication Minister: John Ogar Odey

Junior Information and Communication Minister: Ibrahim Dasuki Nakande

Interior Minister: Major General Godwin Abbe (rtd)

Junior Minister of Interior: Hassan Haruna

Labour Minister: Hassan Muhammad Lawal

Mines and Steel Development Minister: Sarafa Tunji Isola

Junior Minister of Mines and Steel Development: Ahmed Mohammed Gusau

Transportation Minister: Diezani Alison-Madueke

Junior Transportation Minister: John Okechukwu Emeka

Science and Technology Minister: Grace Ekpiwhre

Youth Development Minister: Akinlabi Olasunkanmi

Women Affairs Minister: Saudatu Usman Bungudu

National Planning Commission Minister: Muhammed Sanusi Daggash

National Sports Commission Minister: Abdulrahman Hassan Gimba. - Sapa-AFP

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