Anxiety as cabinet reshuffle looms in Kwara

By Mumini AbdulKareem

Kwara State Governor, Alhaji  Abdulfatah Ahmed is reportedly planning to reshuffle his cabinet, National Pilot learnt last night.

Highly placed sources who pleaded anonymity over the matter due to its sensitivity confided in this medium, yesterday, about the alleged plan of the governor to commence the exercise “anytime from now”.

Those that would be majorly affected, it was gathered, are commissioners in the state whose tenure would be two years in November this year.

The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media and Communications, Dr Muideen Akorede was however diplomatic on the issue when this medium sought his reaction.

The Governor’s Media Aide neither denied nor confirmed the report but added that he was yet to be briefed by his principal.

“I haven’t been briefed to that effect,” Akorede stated.

But some of the Commissioners who confided in National Pilot in a telephone chat last night said they were not losing sleep over the issue.

The reported mid-term exercise is coming on the heels of Governor Ahmed’s “resolve to weed out some of the non performing commissioners of his 19-man cabinet,” according to impeccable sources.

It was gathered that the issue has become a major discourse and heightened anxiety among government officials.

A source who spoke on the matter said the governor had reportedly planned to rejig his cabinet after his trip from Umrah (lesser hajj) earlier this month.

“The issue of cabinet reshuffle has been a topic for discussion among government officials.

“What we heard was that the governor is planning to reshuffle his cabinet to reinvigorate the executive for the remaining two years of his administration and to add more impetus to governance.

“There are some commissioners that are considered “surplus to requirement already” and the governor does not want all in the name of patronage to keep such people in his cabinet especially at the last lap of his administration where everybody must think outside the box for solutions to land the boat safely,” the source who is an aide in the cabinet submitted.

According to another source that is also very conversant with state matters, the issue of cabinet reshuffle should not be strange to the Commissioners because they have been aware of it before now.

“The issue is that they (Commissioners) have been told shortly after their inauguration two years ago that they will spend two years and depending on their performance they may continue with the government or be dropped.

“So by November, that template would have been exhausted and going by the cabinet rejig in some neighbouring state, such apprehension is expected to dominate the discourse here. Ordinarily, they are suppose to be reshuffled by November but this is a government that needs to take some exciting and impactful decisions, so anything can happen,” the source added.

Four Commissioners who spoke last night told National Pilot in separate interviews that they are not entertaining any fear over the issue.

One of the Commissioners from Kwara Central who corroborated that they have been told before now that they will spend two years said, “Such exercise is routine in government and the next phase will be to review performance and look at those that are needed for the next phase and those that will be shipped out. There is no big deal about that and such development will not make me lose focus.

Another Commissioner from the southern part of the state told this medium that: “Yes, we have also heard about the imminent cabinet reshuffle. To me however, it’s a normal thing in government and I don’t let that bother me. I continue to carry out my job and let my work speak for me whether I am in the cabinet or not.

Other Commissioners who spoke on the issue also held similar position with their colleagues.

Also, it was gathered that the party had embarked on what a source described as “very secretive exercise” on submission of names from areas in each local government that were yet to get political appointment and patronage from the present administration.

It could not be established last night whether there is any connection between the alleged secret submission of names by the leadership of the party and the cabinet reshuffle.

According to the source, “a fortnight ago, the party embarked on a very discreet exercise of submission of names from local governments to be considered for appointments. No post was mentioned and it was not routed through party chairmen in each local government”.

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