According to ThisDay, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo wednesday assigned portfolios to Professor Stephen Ocheni and Mr. Suleiman Hassan, three weeks after swearing them in as ministers.
While Ocheni from Kogi State was made the Minister of State for Labour, Hassan who hails from Gombe State became the Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, leaving the Ministry of Environment without a senior minister and the power and works ministry with two ministers of state.
Ocheni replaced the former Minister of State for Labour, Mr. James Ocholi, who lost his life in a ghastly motor accident along the Abuja-Kaduna road on March 16, 2016, while Hassan replaced Ms. Amina Mohammed who until her appointment as the United Nations (UN) Deputy Secretary-General, was the Minister of Environment.
The assignment of portfolios to the ministers was deferred when they were sworn in on July 26, following the instruction from President Muhammadu Buhari that the acting president should only swear them in and suspend assignment of portfolios to them until his return from London where he has been receiving medical treatment since May 7.
The president had hoped that the pace of his recovery last month would enable him to return home soon to reshuffle the cabinet during which he hoped to assign the new ministers portfolios.
But at the weekend, the president told his media team led by the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, in London that though he considered himself fit to return home, his doctors had advised against it. The president said he was left with no option than to obey his doctors’ orders.
It is believed that the uncertainty over when Buhari would return might have prompted the change in the earlier instruction asking Osinbajo to suspend the assignment of portfolios to the two ministers.
Osinbajo also swore in 15 of the 21 permanent secretaries who were appointed last week, in the council chamber of the Presidential Villa.