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Cablegate: Nigeria: Niger Delta Ministry Created, Other

VZCZCXRO0488
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHUJA #1842 2550949
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 110949Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3942
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHYD/AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE 0364
RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS 9930
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS ABUJA 001842

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/W, INR/AA
DOE FOR GEORGE PERSON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: NIGER DELTA MINISTRY CREATED, OTHER
MINISTRIES REVAMPED

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On September 9, the the GON announced a
restructuring of federal ministries, establishing Aviation,
Transport, Works, Housing and Urban Development, Water
Resources, Agriculture and Rural Development, and Police
Affairs as substantive ministries, and creating a Ministry of
the Niger Delta, which will focus on development and youth
empowerment. While ministers have not yet been named to the
new positions and other long-rumored changes in cabinet
personnel are still expected to occur, this new development
creates an opening for some needed reform, especially in how
the GON approaches the Niger Delta crisis. It also points to
the continued consolidation of Yar'Adua's power and, at least
according to some press speculation, may presage further
medical treatment for the President in the near future. END
SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) The September 10 announcement of a revamping of
federal ministries elevated Aviation, Transport, Works,
Housing and Urban Development, Water Resources, Agriculture
and Rural Development, and Police Affairs to substantive
ministries and created a Ministry of the Niger Delta. The
Minstry of Energy has been split into the Ministry of Power
and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources. It also reduced the
number of ministers in the Ministries of Education, Mines and
Steel Development, and Science and Technology by one each.
There will now be 28 ministries total, with 42 ministers and
ministers of state eventually appointed to head them.
Presidential spokesman Olusegun Adeniyi said the changes were
designed to "fast-track and effectively coordinate the
implementation of (President Yar'Adua's) Seven-Point Agenda."
A committee to determine the mandates of the new ministries
is expected to be inaugurated today, and produce its
recommendations within one week.

3. (SBU) The Ministry of the Niger Delta's portfolio will
consist of development and youth empowerment, with a separate
minister for each. According to new Secretary to the
Government of the Federation, Mahmud Yayale Ahmed, overlap
with the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) will be
avoided by folding the NDDC into the new ministry as a
parastatal. The new Ministry has been hailed in press
reports as a positive sign of Yar'Adua's intent to make
headway in solving the protracted Niger Delta crisis,
especially in light of GON missteps and failings in recent
months.

4. (SBU) COMMENT: Yar'Adua's reshaping of the Government
continues to be slow and incremental rather than
revolutionary. The next Federal Executive Council meeting
will be postponed one week until September 24, purportedly to
give the GON time to implement the changes, but prompting
some papers to speculate that we may see another
medically-related Presidential absence in the interim. The
current changes in personnel and structure are also widely
viewed in part as efforts to further reduce former President
Obasanjo's influence, who in the course of his administration
merged 50 ministries into 19. Post will monitor further
developments carefully, especially in regard to the Ministry
of the Niger Delta. End comment.
PFLAUMER

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