Ahead of the swearing in of ministers on Wednesday, President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday reorganised the Federal Civil Service with the retirement and subsequent appointments of new permanent secretaries.
Buhari, earlier in the day, summoned the permanent secretaries to a meeting at the State House where he broke the news of their retirement to them.
At least no fewer than 17 of them were affected in the shake-up. Shortly after the meeting, presidential spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, announced the appointments of 18 permanent secretaries and their redeployment along with those not retired.
Although no reason was given for the retirement of the permanent secretaries, those affected were those senior to the Acting Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita, who was appointed last month.
Besides, their retirement was to pave the way for the reorganisation of the ministries, which might be reduced through merger in line with the recommendations of the Ahmed Joda-led transition committee.
The Joda committee had recommended that Buhari should prune the number of federal ministries from 28 to 19. It also recommended that the president should appoint only 19 senior ministers with 17 others being ministers of state to fulfill the constitutional requirement that each of the 36 states of the federation must have a minister in the cabinet.
But it was gathered that the President, who will unveil the number of ministries at the inauguration of ministers today in Abuja, may retain a fewer number of ministries.
Already, the President has said that some of the ministers to be inaugurated today will not be assigned portfolios in keeping with his avowed commitment to reduce the cost of governance.
However, the presidency in a statement, which was silent on the identities of the retired permanent secretaries, named the new ones as Mrs. Ayotunde Adesugba, Alhaji Mahmoud Isa-Dutse, Mr. Taiwo Abidogun, Dr. Bukar Hassan, Mrs. Wakama Belema Asifieka, Mr. Jalal Ahmad Arabi, Mr. Sabiu Zakari, Mrs. Obiageli Phyllis Nwokedi, Mr. Aminu Nabegu and Mr. Bamgbose Olukunle Oladele. Others are Mr. Alo Williams Nwankwo, Dr. Shehu Ahmed, Mr. Ogbonnaya Innocent Kalu, Mrs. Nuratu Jimoh Batagarawa, Mr. Christian Chinyeaka Ohaa, Mr. Bassey Apkanyung, Mr. Louis Edozien and Dr. Ugo Roy.
The statement said the president had approved the immediate deployment of the permanent secretaries.