President Goodluck Jonathan named Brigadier-General Jones O. Arogbofa as his new Chief of Staff late Tuesday. The appointment, and Arogbofa’s duties, will take effect immediately. With this latest appointment, the Brigadier General becomes the face of the Jonathan administration, and his public duties will include facing the media for presidential announcements ranging from policy statements, to new initiatives.
The Jonathan appointment of the Brig-General had been rumored, and speculated by government insiders, including Nigerian political watchers for some time, as reported by Sahara Reporters in recent days. Four cabinet ministers were sacked late last week, and they include the Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Capt. Caleb Olubolade (Rtd.); Yerima Ngama, the Deputy Finance Minister, and Minister of the Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe. Perhaps the most surprising of the four removed from their posts was Stella Oduah, the Nigerian Aviation Minister, who was a close friend and political ally of the president.
The remaining ministers are expected to take over their portfolios.
It had been speculated that the government shake-up may have been caused by rumors that the four were seeking other political posts, either within the Jonathan administration, or a new administration. There is a bitter divide within the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) that comes over an assumption the president may run for another term in the 2015 elections. President Jonathan has not announced his intentions for 2015.
Clement Nwanko, a political analyst based at the Policy and Legal Advocacy Center in Abuja, had talked about a political ‘re-positioning’ by the Jonathan camp. “Some of these changes could reflect positively on the perception that (Jonathan) is willing to bring about change,” he said.
Arogbofa replaces Mike Oghiadome, Jonathan’s former Chief of Staff who held the post prior to this latest cabinet shake-up.
Correction: An earlier version of the story incorrectly stated that Nigerian Information Minister Labaran Maku was one of the four sacked. The minister was actually Minister of the Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe.