Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan is making major changes to his cabinet. He won the election two years ago; however, this is the first massive overhaul during his leadership. Ministers in the following areas have been removed from their positions: foreign affairs, education, science and technology, housing and urban development, national planning, and environment. The ministers of state for the departments of power, agriculture, and defense, who operate as junior ministers, have also been removed from their positions. The ministers in both finance and petroleum will not be replaced.
According to a spokesman on behalf of Goodluck Jonathan speaking about the potential to fill the newly vacant positions, “They will be replaced but not immediately.”
Though the exact reason behind these changes has not been made clear, there have been discussions of candidate opposition for representation of The People’s Democratic Party during the 2015 election. Internal conflict within The People’s Democratic Party regarding Goodluck Jonathan’s supposed intentions to run in the 2015 election may be a contributing factor in the decision to change minister positions.
Since The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has won every national election from 1999 to the present, and served as the dominant force since the end of the military rule, whoever receives the backing of the party will have considerable influence during election time. Barely two weeks ago, opposing forces included a former presidential candidate who formed a separate group in anticipation of the 2015 election process. This becomes even more curious when one questions the loyalty of the newly-released ministers. Former Education Minister Ruqayyah Ahmed Rufai received the nomination for minister from an opposing governor.
Mr. Jonathan assumed the role of president in 2010 when he was serving as the vice-president, yet became promoted after the president died in office.
The following video is a clip from the keynote address Goodluck Jonathan gave in August at The Rockefeller Foundation.