Ministerial portfolio: Major talking points as Northwest gets five junior ministers

The release of the ministerial portfolio by President Bola Tinubu has dominated discourse on social media.

President Tinubu settled for 33 main ministers and 12 ministers of state; however, the distribution of the powerful portfolios has been the main talking point.

A careful analysis of the list shows that just like former President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr Tinubu also opted to have security, justice and other sectors in the North but left the economy in the South.

The Ministries of Defence, Interior, Justice and Police are spread in the North, while the entire economic sector, ditto the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, are in the South.

But beyond this, the regional spread of the portfolios has been the main talking point. The Northwest, despite having the highest slot of 10, five of the portfolio are junior ministers, whereas the Southwest which has nine slots has seven ministers and two junior ministers.

The Southwest has communications, Finance, transportation, marine, power, solid mineral and tourism.

On X (formerly known as Twitter), @Elbonga said the assigning of two junior ministers to Kano State appears to be the first time in history that the state would get such.

“They fought Maryam Shetty’s nomination because they believe Kano deserves better portfolios and now Kano has been given two state ministerial positions. Two junior ministers for a state like Kano. I don’t think it has ever happened since 1999,” he said.

It is, however, worth stating that the Northwest currently has the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Deputy Senate President and the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

In terms of the portfolio, the Northeast, the region of vice president Kashim Shettima, got six ministers and one junior minister. The region got education, health, police, interior, agriculture and foreign affairs.

Similarly, Mr Tinubu has also broken the dominance of the North over the Ministry of FCT with the appointment of the former Governor of the Rivers, Nyesom Wike as the Minister of the FCT.

Mr Wike is now the first minister of the FCT from the South since the return of democracy in 1999. Prior to the fourth republic, Ajose Adeogun served as FCT minister in 1976 and Emeka Okoye occupied the same position in 1981.

With the composition of the cabinet, the former Lagos State Governor risks getting the tag “nepotism”, a tag that former President Buhari was tagged by critics.

Last week, a member of the opposition from Southwest, Segun Sowunmi, already accused the president of filling the government with people from the southwest.

“I have looked at the people he (President Tinubu) is putting together. I am a little bit uncomfortable with the fact that, if I’ll be honest with you, we are both Yoruba men, it is beginning to seem that our people are going to get the best of the cherries. I can tell you the things we have gotten already and the things we are likely to get,” Mr Sowunmi said during an interview with Seun Okinbaloye of Channels TV.

He added that “We are in charge of Customs, Police, Army, CBN, IRS, Taxation, Appropriation. Have we become such a people that we can only be fair when we are talking of other people?”

Meanwhile, the President appears not willing to appoint a Minister of Niger Delta Affairs. The government has not stated a reason for the omission, perhaps due to the existence of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

In 2019, former President Buhari moved the NDDC from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.

With the omission of the Ministry of Niger Delta from the ministerial list, perhaps, NDDC may return to the SGF office.

Also, President Tinubu appears to reserve the ministries of petroleum resources and gas for himself with the appointment of two junior ministers for the two ministries.

It would be recalled that President Buhari equally appointed himself as the Minister of Petroleum Resources.

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