In Nigeria, acting President Goodluck Jonathan’s newly reconstituted federal cabinet is expected to go before the Senate Monday for confirmation.
University of Abuja Political Science Professor Kabiru Mato said the confirmation is unlikely to produce any surprises because many members of the new cabinet are returning from ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua’s dissolved cabinet.
“I don’t think that Nigerians should expect anything extraordinary. I expect that most of the nominees are going to sail through because a quite a number of them were former members of the Senate and the House of Representatives,” he said.
But Mato said he expects some of the nominees to face serious questioning.
“Very prominent among them is Senator Sanusi Daggash who had been previously dropped in the last cabinet shake up of President Umaru Yar’Adua. The members of the National Assembly are very bitter about perhaps the role he played when he was minister for economic planning in the early days of President Umaru Yar’Adua,” Mato said.
He said former Information Minister Dora Akunyili could also face tough questioning from senators.
“I also expect Professor Akunyili may face some problems in getting cleared by the Senate as a result of the sensational manner she addressed in the issue of the ailing president soon before Goodluck Jonathan was made the acting president,” he said.
Mato said public opinion among Nigerians is divided about Akunyili’s in the days before Jonathan was made the acting president.
“Some groups say that Akunyili in fact acted a script that was supported by acting President Goodluck Jonathan. On the other hand people were saying she simply took the position because she expected that perhaps inevitably Jonathan was going to be made the acting president and so she could secure her position,” Mato said.
Some analysts have suggested that the new cabinet nominees represent acting President Jonathan’s outlook for the future of Nigeria.
Mato said Nigeria’s future does not lie between 2010 and 2011.
“The ruckus we find ourselves today in Nigeria which is of course anchored on the failure of legitimacy of those elected officers to really rally around the populace and say we are your representatives is fundamentally different,” Mato said.