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Cablegate: Nigeria: New Ministers Sworn in and Portfolios

VZCZCXRO8727
OO RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHUJA #2466/01 3521752
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 171752Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4745
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 1579
RUEHYD/AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE 0565
RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS 0479
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 SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 002466

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/W, INR/AA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV ECON EPET PINR NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: NEW MINISTERS SWORN IN AND PORTFOLIOS
ASSIGNED, OTHERS NOMINATED

REF: ABUJA 2376

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On December 17, President Umaru Musa
Yar'Adua swore in 16 new cabinet ministers and reassigned
portfolios among both new and old Cabinet ministers. The
newly announced positions included former OPEC Secretary
General Rilwan Lukman as Energy Minister, Sam Egwu as
Education Minister, Shettima Mustafa as Defense Minister, and
Godsday Orubebe as Minister for the Niger Delta (we are
confirming if Orubebe will be Minister or Minister of State).
Also, ministers from the previous Cabinet who remained
included Chief Ojo Maduekwe for Foreign Affairs, Godwin Abbe
for Interior, and Michael Aondoakaa as Minister of Justice
and Attorney General. In addition, on December 12, Obong
Ufot Ekaette, Chief Achike Udenwa, and Rilwan Babalola were
all nominated by Yar'Adua to fill some of the remaining
positions in his Cabinet. Full analysis of these actions to
follow septel. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) On December 17, President Yar'Adua swore in 16 new
cabinet members during the weekly Federal Executive Council
meeting, and readministered the oath of office to those
remaining on from the previous Cabinet. The new cabinet
assignments (as heard) include:

-- Chief Ojo Maduekwe to remain as Minister of Foreign Affairs
-- Michael Aondoakaa to remain as Minister of
Justice/Attorney General
-- Shettima Mustapha as Minister of Defense
-- Sam Egwu as Minister of Education
-- Rilwan Lukman as senior Minister of Petroleum
-- Dora Akunyili as Minister of Information and Communications
-- Godwin Abbe to remain as Minister of Interior
-- Godsday Orubebe as Minister for the Niger Delta (a new
position)
-- John Odey as Minister of Environment
-- Ibrahim Isa Bio as Minister of Transport
-- Babatunde Oshotimehin as Minister of Health
-- Adetokunbo Kayode as Minister of Labor
-- Muhammed Aliero as Minister for the Federal Capital
Territory
-- Salamatu Suleiman as Minister for Women's Affairs
-- Hassan Lawal as Minister of Housing (a new position)
-- Ibrahim Yakubu Lame as Minister of Police (a new position)
-- Alhassan Bako Zaku as Minister of Science and Technology
-- Deziani Alison-Madueke as Minister of Mines and Steel
Development
-- Sayyadi Abba Ruma to remain as Minister of Agriculture and
Water Resources
-- Sani Mohammed Ndanusa as Minister of Sports
-- Ibrahim Kazaure as Minister of Special Duties
-- Fidelia Njeze as Minister of State for Agriculture and
Water Resources
-- Bagudu Hirse remained as Minister of State for Foreign
Affairs
-- Jibril Maigari as Minister of State for Foreign Affairs
(2)
-- Grace Ekpiwhre as Minister of State for Housing
-- Ikara Aliyu Bilbis as Minister of State for Information
and Communication
-- Ademola Rasaq Seriki as Minister of State for Defense
-- Odein Ajumgobia remained as Minister of State for Petroleum
-- Aliyu Idi Hong as Minister of State for Health
-- Aishatu Jibril Dukku remained as Minister of State for
Education
-- Aderemi Babalola remained as Minister of State for Finance
-- Shamsudeen Usman as Minister/Deputy Chairman of the
National Planning Commission
-- Chuka Odom as Minister of State for the Federal Capital
Territory
-- Nuhu Somo Way as Minister of State for Energy (Power)

The Ministers of Finance, Culture, and Commerce and Industry,
among others, were not announced. (Comment: we expect one
or more additional tranches of names to be sent to the Senate
for vetting in the near future. Only once they have been
confirmed and assigned portfolios will this reshuffle, first
announced by the President last May, be completed. End

ABUJA 00002466 002 OF 002


comment.)

3. (SBU) On December 12, Yar'Adua forwarded to the Senate the
names of Obong Ufot Ekaette, Chief Achike Udenwa, and Rilwan
Babaloa as new nominees. Information about the new nominees
is as follows:

-- Obong Ufot Ekaette was Former President Obasanjo's
Secretary to the Government of the Federation from 1999-2007,
and was one of his closest and most trusted aides. He also
served as Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom state in 1990. While
some view his nomination as an effort to bring in experienced
hands, others see it as recycling those who carry baggage
from previous, undistinguished government service.

-- Chief Achike Udenwa is a member of the People's Democratic
Party and former Governor of Imo State.

-- We have not yet developed information about Rilwan
Babalola.

4. (U) Septel with full analysis and next steps to follow.
Sanders

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