Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari finally inaugurated 36 new ministers on 11 November 2015, after the country spent the last five months with no cabinet.
The former military ruler beat former president Goodluck Jonathan at the polls in March, and pledged to fight entrenched corruption that is seen as one of the biggest challenges to the largest economy in Africa. However, he has been criticised for waiting until September to name his ministers at a time when the Nigerian economy has taken a beating amid plummeting oil prices.
As expected, Buhari streamlined his government, slashing the number of ministries from 36 to 24 and making some nominees only junior ministers. This makes Buhari’s cabinet significantly smaller than Jonathan’s 42 ministers.
The new cabinet, containing just seven women, comprises technocrats and political appointees from each of Nigeria’s 36 states, according to Nigerian constitutional rules.
Noteworthy appointments include former investment banker and accountant Kemi Adeosun as Finance Minister, and retired Brigadier-General Muhammad Mansur Dani as Defence Minister.
Buhari will remain petroleum minister with Dr Ibe Kachikwu named as State Minister for Petroleum Resources. This means Buhari has stuck to his plan to personally take over the Oil Ministry, which accounts for nearly 70% of all Nigerian government revenue but which has long been riddled by graft.
The reduced cabinet reflects the expressed intent of Buhari’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party to cut the costs of governing and manage the crisis-hit economy more tightly.