ABUJA, Aug 11 (Reuters) - President Goodluck Jonathan
announced a minor cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday, appointing two
female opposition politicians from Nigeria's north as junior
ministers before a presidential election due in January.
Jonathan, who is from the Niger Delta in the south, has not
yet declared whether he intends to run in the election, but he
would need the support of the north if he were to do so.
Jonathan named Yabawa Wabi, a member of the opposition All
Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), as his new minister of state for
finance, replacing former junior finance minister Remi Babalola,
who was made minister of special duties.
Babalola had been under fire after saying last month that
state oil firm NNPC was insolvent, a statement which was
publicly shot down by three cabinet colleagues.
Salamatu Suleiman, another ANPP member and former women's
affairs minister, was appointed minister of state for foreign
affairs. A third new addition was Kenneth Gbagi, a lawyer and
senior member of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP), who
was made minister of state for education.
Other ministers were unaffected by the changes.
"I want to make it clear that redeployment especially at the
ministerial level is a part of our service. (For) a minister to
be redeployed is not an indictment," Jonathan told reporters as
he announced the reshuffle.
Some northerners have indicated they would support a
Jonathan candidacy, but governors of northern states -- who form
a strong caucus in the ruling party -- have stopped short of
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(Reporting by Felix Onuah; Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing
by Mark Heinrich)