By Yusuf Alli:

• Ministers battle for juicy portfolios • Corrupt FEC members to go

As the Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, settles down to work, there are indications that he is moving to reshuffle the cabinet.

In the planned reshuffle, ministers are to swap positions.

To this end, the ministers are said to have started lobbying for visible portfolios.

Investigation by The Nation revealed that some ministers may be redeployed to some sensitive ministries to increase the pace of projects’ delivery nationwide.

It was learnt that the ministries Jonathan might pay attention to are Power, Works, Petroleum Resources, Niger Delta Affairs, Aviation, Agriculture and Water Resources. Others are FCT, Finance, Health, Police, Defence and Education.

It was gathered that the need to take stock before swapping ministers accounted for the inauguration of the 18-man Presidential Project Assessment Committee.

Although some loyalists of President Umaru Yar’Adua holding juicy portfolios are alleging that the Project Assessment exercise has political undertone, a highly-placed source added that the Acting President meant well to ensure judicious use of resources.

A source, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent, said: “Jonathan is really after projects’ delivery, not politics. I think ministers might swap portfolios for optimal efficiency and to meet targeted goals.

“And where there is glaring case of corruption, any minister involved might be asked to leave the cabinet.

“But it is obvious that we cannot continue to operate at the present pace because the 2011 poll is just around the corner.

“We have between now and February 2011 to fix decaying infrastructure and lay the foundation for the next administration to build upon.”

Asked how soon the Acting President might effect changes, the source said: “Very soon. Already, he has a mandate from the Presidential Advisory Council to act now.

“But Jonathan is being careful to avoid any ill-motive being read into the impending changes.

“Until the Acting President read the Riot Act to ministers on Wednesday, the cabinet had split into pro-Yar’Adua and pro-Jonathan camps. So, any pronouncement and change by Jonathan could be misinterpreted.

“But there will be a few changes to meet the desired targets.”

But at press time, it was learnt that the battle in the cabinet had shifted to the struggle for portfolios.

Another source in the Presidency added: “I am aware that while some ministers are lobbying for new portfolios, a few others are desperate to retain their portfolios.

“The battle this time around is about portfolios and ministers are also playing the survival game.”

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