Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu on Thursday forwarded 28 ministerial nominees to federal legislators for confirmation as he seeks to finally set up his Cabinet to lead Africa’s most populous country.
The long-awaited list featuring six women was presented to the Nigerian Senate by Tinubu’s chief of staff Femi Gbajabiamila, a day before the deadline and nearly two months after the Nigerian leader took office.
On the list with no assigned portfolios are four former governors and three presidential aides. It also features prominent professionals such as Muhammed Ali Pate, a former Nigerian health minister and former director at the World Bank who recently turned down an appointment to lead the global vaccine alliance Gavi.
Tinubu on May 29 took the reins of Africa’s largest economy, a nation of more than 210 million people, after promising to build on the achievements of his successor and end chronic bad governance that has stifled development.
In addition to his pledge to end the deadly violence in the hard-hit northern region, the 71-year-old also promised to revive the economy, which has been struggling with surging inflation, high debt, and job losses since the pandemic. But he has had a rough start in office with continued extrajudicial killings and economic hardship worsened by some of his policies. These include putting an end to gas subsidies that have been in place for decades but without social welfare programs in place to cushion the effect.
The list of ministerial nominees included several party loyalists who helped mobilize support for Tinubu during his presidential campaign.
Idayat Hassan, who leads the West Africa-focused Center for Democracy and Development, said the Nigerian president should discontinue the long tradition of rewarding loyalists with ministerial positions. “He must ensure that their appointments are fit to what their expertise really is,” Hassan said.
She also urged the president to focus on Nigeria’s most pressing challenges in the security and economic sectors. “There can’t be prosperity without peace and stability, so prioritizing security and the economy should go hand in hand,” Hassan said.
The date for the confirmation of the ministerial nominees has not been set by legislators. The process usually takes a few days and the current nominees are expected to be confirmed because Tinubu’s party has a majority in the Senate.