Nigeria’s Acting President Goodluck Jonathan swore-in his new cabinet Tuesday, handing the powerful oil ministry to a woman for the first time and putting a Goldman Sachs banker in charge of finance.
Jonathan sacked the entire cabinet on March 17 as he moved to assert his authority in the African oil giant after replacing ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua, but nevertheless said the new team will continue the policies of the ex-government.
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“Permit me to emphasise the policy continuum of governance and to insist on the imperative of this team to roll up its sleeves, and to redouble the effort so as to meet the expectation of our people who are yearning for good governance,” he said.
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Jonathan, who has slightly over a year before the next elections, told the new cabinet members “you must hit the ground running.”
“Time is of fundamental essence and no distraction in our mission will be tolerated,” he said.
The new oil minister, Diezani Allison-Madueke from Jonathan’s Bayelsa state in the southern oil-producingNiger Delta, was in charge of the mines and steel ministry in the cabinet dissolved last month.
A graduate of Howard and Cambridge universities, she was an external affairs director for the Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell before joining the government in 2007.
Shortly after appointing his cabinet, Jonathan sacked, with no explanation, the boss of the loss-making and corruption-ridden state oil firm Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Jonathan, who replaced Yar’Adua two months ago through a parliamentary vote, retained less than half of the former cabinet in his new line-up.
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