Nigeria's President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua is reportedly waiting for the senate to resume before naming his much anticipated new cabinet. At the same time the country's Supreme Court begins preliminary hearings Thursday about the last disputed presidential election. The hearing could either force President Yar'Adua from office or strengthen his presidency.
Some political analysts say President Yar'Adua's decision to reshuffle his cabinet is likely to remove a layer of political uncertainty expressed by some Nigerians who claim his government has been docile. Kabiru Mato is a political science professor at Nigeria's University of Abuja. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from the capital, some Nigerians are skeptical about the president's governing style.
"There has been a lot of apprehension throughout Nigeria on the proposed cabinet reshuffle that the president is likely to engage in. one fundamental thing that I think a lot of people are taking for granted is that I cannot remember at any point in time that President Yar'Adua himself coming out to say he is going to make fundamental changes in his cabinet. And like I keep saying if antecedent is anything to go by Nigerians should not expect any radical transformation of the cabinet. That is to say we should not expect that we are going to have some major changes in the cabinet," Mato said.
He said the announcement from the president's office was aimed at reassuring Nigerians that the government is on their side.
"Of course the statement by Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi (president's spokesman) or from the presidency simply clears the air on expectations of Nigerians. Apparently it's no longer news that things are not moving here that the government is not being felt much by Nigerians. So, there is this assumption that perhaps the failure of government to meet the aspirations of the people is anchored on the inability of members of cabinet to really put to practical terms the agenda of government," he said.
Mato said Nigerians are unsure how the president is running the affairs of the country.
"You see people have different strategies of governance. I think it is his own strategy is that strategy that he has probably adopted in his native Kaduna at the first eight years as a governor. Obviously, he is not someone you can push around, he is not always in a hurry and he takes his time and perhaps a lot of Nigerians are not finding that strategy as an effective method of addressing the problems of Nigerians. Some say the government seems not to be making any headway in its drive to providing basic social, political and economic amenities that are glaringly lacking in Nigeria nine years after the nation has netted billions and billions of dollars from the search that are being recorded in the international oil market," Mato pointed out.
He said Nigerians give the current administration in a more positive light than the previous government headed by President Olusegun Obasanjo.
"One fact that every Nigerian will tell you is that there is a lot of humility in President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua. Nobody doubts that aspiration nobody doubts that reality. Nigerians will also tell you that this is the first time in several years that we have a leader who is serious, serious in the sense that he seems to have some measure of respect for the opinion of Nigerians. I mean you cannot have democracy in an atmosphere rancor and confusion where the rule of law is completely debased. President Yar'Adua has tried as much as possible to respect court orders as much as possible to show Nigerians that you can still be the president of Nigeria and remain a very humble personality without all those exotic ways typical of Nigerian presidents," he said.