Buhari asks Nigeria to be patient about cabinet

President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari said yesteray he that had submitted a cabinet list to parliament for approval but asked Nigerians to be patient with his four-month search for a government to tackle the country’s worst economic crisis for decades.

Foreign investors and Nigerian firms have criticised Buhari, a 72-year-old former military ruler, for waiting until late September to nominate cabinet members when Africa’s largest economy is taking a hammering from a plunge in oil revenues.

Companies have laid off thousands of staff because the central bank has limited access to dollars for imports to prevent a currency collapse, filling a vacuum in the absence of a finance minister. Many public servants have not been paid for months.

“Impatience is not a virtue,” Buhari, who took office on May 29, said in a televised speech on Independence Day. “The first set of names for ministerial nominees has been sent to the Senate. Subsequent lists will be forwarded in due course.”

Buhari, who told Reuters on Tuesday he would keep the key oil ministry, gave no names or time frame after promising earlier that Africa’s most populous nation would have a government in place by September 30. “Careful and deliberate decisions after consultations get far better results,” he said.

Political sources said that some of the names thought to be on the cabinet list included former Lagos state governor Babatunde Fashola and the head of the state oil firm NNPC, Emmanuel Kachikwu.

Buhari had told Reuters while controlling the oil ministry a state minister would oversee daily operations of a sector that provides 70 percent of government revenues.

Others mentioned included erstwhile governor of oil-rich Rivers state Rotimi Amaechi, who was among the first to defect from the People’s Democratic Party of Buhari’s predecessor Jonathan Goodluck to his All Progressives Congress.

–Reuters

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