Youngest ministers in Tinubu’s cabinet

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Since the inauguration of the ministers in President Bola Tinubu’s cabinet, all eyes have been on them to see what unique innovations they will bring to the polity. Though a lot of attention has been on their sheer number, considering that it is highest for any President since the inception of this current democratic dispensation; FAITH AJAYI takes a look at the youngest ministers in the cabinet, who are below the age of 45

Betta Edu

A medical doctor and politician, Betta Edu, is currently serving as the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation. She is also said to be the first female minister from Cross River State, and the youngest minister in the country.

According to her Wikipedia page, she will be 37 on October 27, 2023.

She began her political career in 2015, when she was said to be the youngest Special Adviser to the then Governor of Cross River State, Benedict Ayade. She was assigned the portfolio of Community and Primary Healthcare. In 2019, she went on to become the Commissioner for Health in the state.

A woman of many firsts, in March 2022, she also became the youngest National Women Leader of the All Progressives Congress, In 2020, Edu was appointed as the Chairman, Cross River State COVID-19 Taskforce; and in August of that same year, she was appointed as the National Chairman of the Nigeria Health Commissioners Forum.

As a result of her passion for women and children health, she built, renovated and equipped many primary health facilities in Cross River.

Edu holds a Bachelor’s degree in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Calabar, Cross River; a Post Graduate Diploma in Public Health for Developing Countries from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom; a Master’s degree in Public Health in Developing Countries from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; and a Doctorate of Public Health from Texila American University in Georgetown, Guyana.

Edu is a Fellow of the Royal School of Public Health, and the African Institute of Public Health Professionals. She was also the recipient of the Award of Excellence in Leadership for Gender Inclusion and Women Empowerment given by the Federal Government through the Maryam Babangida National Centre for Women Development, in collaboration with the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, in July 2023.

Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo

Forty one-year-old Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo is the Minister of Interior. An engineer, entrepreneur and politician, she represented Akoko North East/Akoko North West Federal Constituency of Ondo State in the House of Representatives between 2019 and 2023.

According to his Wikipedia page, he was born on May 1, 1982.

BTO, as he is fondly called, was the Chairman of the House Committee on the Niger Delta Development Commission. Apparently loved by members of her constituency, he was re-elected for a second term into National Assembly, but he resign after his appointment by President Bola Tinubu on August 16, 2023.

During his time in office at the House of Representatives, Tunji-Ojo was said to have brought a lot of infrastructural development and empowerment programmes to his constituency. Tunji-Ojo led the House of Representatives’ probe into the alleged mismanagement of over N80bn in the NDDC, making it the first time a probe of that nature would be launched into the financial activities of the commission in its over 20 years of existence.

A goal-getter from a young age, he became the Chief Executive Officer of an ICT company in Nigeria, Matrix IT Solutions Limited, at 24, and has consulted for the World Bank and several government agencies, including various committees of the Senate and House of Representatives. He has also worked in different capacities with the Nigeria Gas Company, National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education, among others.

Tunji-Ojo has a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from the University of North London, England, United Kingdom (now known as London Metropolitan University) and graduated in 2005. He also holds a Master’s degree in Digital Communication and Networking from the same institution. This is in addition to 18 professional certifications in ICT, including being one of the first set of certified ethical hackers from Royal Britannia IT Training Academy, United Kingdom, before the age of 24.

Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim

The first female Minister of State, Police Affairs, Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim, is a businesswoman and a politician, who has held few political appointments, which she was said to have handled creditably well.

Her Wikipedia page states that she was born on April 19, 1980.

In September 2019, she was appointed as a special adviser on strategic communication to the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba. She was also appointed as a member of the Nasarawa State Economic Advisory Council by the Governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Sule.

Not a stranger to public office, she was appointed the Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons for six months between December 1, 2020 and May 2021, by former President Muhammadu Buhari. She was later named the Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, on June 4, 2021.

During her time as the DG of NAPTIP, she expanded the agency’s coverage from three to six regional directorates, with each headed by a regional director and an assistant regional director. Also, during her brief stint with the agency, she investigated 383 cases, arrested 264 suspects, rescued 429 victims, and convicted 21, among other achievements.

At NCFRMI, Sulaiman-Ibrahim spearheaded policies, programmes and projects that strengthened national response in areas of her mandate. One of her initiatives was the ‘Project Educate All’, which was conceived in line with the commission’s aim to address the growing challenge and learning needs of displaced persons, as well as to ensure accelerated learning in emergency settings, in line with global practices. The launch of the project complements the transitional learning centres that would further enhance reading and fast-track learning for pupils in IDP camps and host communities.

Speaking at the launch of the project, she said, “This engagement has not only provided the much-needed employment in these communities, but also allowed us to prioritise the localisation of our interventions, and promote the sustainability of the programme.”

Another of her initiatives is the ‘Project Skill Up’, which entails the provision of durable solutions for all persons of concern. It allows a concerted, coordinated and collaborative effort towards capacity-building programmes for internally displaced persons, Refugees, and migrants in all sectors.

Other projects include Project Total Health, Project Zero Hunger, Project Light Up and Project Resettlement Cities, among others. These programmes ensure the total reintegration, rehabilitation and resettlement of persons of concern into society, while ensuring durable and sustainable solutions, and breeding self-reliance.

Imaan studied Sociology at the University of Abuja. She also has a Master of Business Administration, and a Master of Art in Management degrees, both from Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America.

She was also a participant at the Executive Management Intelligence Course 14, which earned her the status of Fellow of Security Institute. This is even as she is completing her Doctoral Security and Strategic Studies programme at the Nigeria Defence Academy, Kaduna State.

Imaan is also the Co-Founder and President of The Beehive Initiative (now known as the BumbleeBee Civic Initiative), a platform focused on nurturing and mentoring politically inclined women, and creating grassroots civic awareness.

She also worked as a Senior Sales Director at the cosmetics and skincare company, Mary Kay.

She is married with three children.

Hannatu Musawa

The Minister of Art, Culture and Creative Economy, Hannatu Musawa, was the secretary of the screening committee for presidential aspirants of the All Progressives Congress in the run-up to the 2023 presidential election. She was subsequently the deputy spokesperson, and deputy director of public affairs of the APC Presidential Campaign Council. That was in addition to being the Secretary General of the Katsina Campaign Council.

Shortly after the new administration was sworn in, President Tinubu appointed Musawa as his Special Adviser on Culture and Entertainment Economy, in June 2023.

Musawa holds a degree in Law from the University of Buckingham, UK, and a Master’s degree in Legal Aspects of Marine Affairs from the University of Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom. She has another Master’s degree in Oil and Gas Law from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.

She has a varied and rich working experience, both in Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

Musawa is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, and has worked as a litigation lawyer and legal advisor to several private companies. As a junior lawyer, she worked with the law firm of a former Attorney General of the Federation, the late Clement Akpamgbo. She also worked briefly with Barrister Bala Na Allah during the Human Rights Violation Investigation Commission of Nigeria, popularly called Oputa Panel.

She went on establish the firm, Hanney Musawa and Associates, where she is presently the principal partner.

She was fully involved in political activities during the 2003 and 2007 general elections. She was also one of the lawyers on the team that worked on the 2003 Presidential Election Petition between Muhammadu Buhari and Olusegun Obasanjo.

In 2011, she contested a seat in the House of Representatives.

Musawa, who is from Katsina State, is the daughter of the late politician, Musa Musawa.

Shuaibu Audu

An investment banker and politician, Shuaibu Audu, who is the Minister of Steel Development, is the son of the first civilian governor of Kogi State, the late Abubakar Audu, who first governed the state between 1992 and 1993. Before his appointment, Shuaibu was a gubernatorial aspirant in the state, but lost the ticket to Ahmed Ododo at the primary elections in April 2023.

According to his Wikipedia page, he was born on November 6, 1980.

Before going into politics, he was the CEO of Stanbic IBTC Investment, and worked in the banking industry for 20 years.

He attended the University of Leicester, United Kingdom, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Economics in 2001. He also bagged a Master’s degree in International Securities, Investment and Banking from Henley Business School, University of Reading, and obtained another Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Oxford, UK, in 2013.

He is married with children.

Joseph Utsev

Forty-three-year-old Joseph Utsev is the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation.

An academic, politician, philanthropist, entrepreneur and administrator, he was appointed Deputy Director and later, a Director in the Centre for Entrepreneurship Development, Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi. While there, he supported the setting up of seven workshops that are currently used to train students in entrepreneurship, and is also a source of internally generated revenue for the institution.

In 2017, Utsev was appointed as the Benue State Commissioner for Water Resources and Environment, where he contributed to the design of the Idye Basin Phase II (Police Zone 4 – Mobile Barracks) drainage and also contributed to its construction through the Federal Government.

In 2020, former President Muhammadu Buhari appointed him as the Executive Director of Engineering, Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority Makurdi. He oversaw the construction of numerous dams, bridges, roads, boreholes, drainages, and other engineering projects during his brief tenure.

Utsev graduated from the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, where he earned his Bachelor of Engineering degree in Civil Engineering in 2004. He also earned a Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering; and a Doctorate in Water Resources from the University of Nigeria Nsukka, Enugu State.

Doris Uzoka-Anite

Born on October 16, 1981, according to Wikipedia, Doris Uzoka-Anite, who is a medical doctor, financial expert and politician, is the Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment.  Before this appointment, she worked as the Commissioner for Finance and Co-ordinating Economy in Imo State, making her the youngest commissioner in the cabinet of the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma.

She transitioned from medicine into the banking sector by working with Zenith Bank as an assistant banking officer (corporate banking), and went on to become the bank’s Group Head/Treasurer.

As the Group Treasurer at Zenith Bank, she managed foreign exchange trades worth over $4bn, and supervised N10tn worth of transactions. Her performances earned her several novel awards for her efficiency and dedication to the bank’s vision and mission, as she played significant roles in successfully ensuring an increase in the company’s profits by over 200 per cent within two years, and that ultimately contributed to the bank’s growth in the financial market.

During her time as Commissioner of Finance in Imo State, she played a pivotal role in enhancing the state’s revenue generation by implementing comprehensive tax administration systems, and leveraging technology to drive efficiency and transparency. Meanwhile, her contributions extended to various areas, including education, talent management, and technology sector, where she has championed the use of educational technology in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. This is in addition to spearheading successful World Bank-funded projects.

Uzoka-Anite studied Medicine and Surgery at the University of Benin. She went on to bag a double MBA from the London School of Economics and the New York University Stern School of Business. She also acquired certifications in Fintech, Algorithmic Trading and Advanced Risk, and Portfolio Management from the University of Oxford, United Kingdom.

She also underwent high-level training programmes in finance at Goldman Sachs, Citibank and the London Academy of Trading, building her capacity in Advanced Financial Engineering and Data Science for Finance. It also bears nothing that she is a certified financial analyst.

She is a member of CFA Society Global, the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, and is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Banking. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Credit Administration; Fellow, Corporate Administration of Nigeria; Member, Federal Accountability and Allocation; and Member, Financial Market Dealers Association of Nigerian Banks.

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