The Acting, president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, Tuesday April 6 inaugurated the newly reconstituted Federal Executive Council after the confirmation of the ministerial nominees by the Senate.
The new ministers took charge at a period Nigerians considered as very critical to the progress, advancement and socio political transformation of the country.
The ministers include Shekh Ahmed Abdullah – Agriculture, Awodele Najeem Adewale – (state) Agriculture, Mrs. Fidelia Njeze – Aviation, Jibril Martins Kuye – Commerce & Industry, Josephine Tapgun – state Commerce & Industry, Prof. Rugayatu Rufai – Education, Abubakar Mohammed Culture & Tourism, Bala Mohammed – FCT, Olusegun Aganga – Finance, Odein Ajumogobia SAN – Foreign Affairs, Suleiman Bello – state Health, Prof. Dora Akunyili – Information & Communications, Labaran Maku – (state) Information & Communications.
Others are Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN) – Justice, Emmanuel Iheanacho – Interior, Humphrey Abah (state) Interior, Chukwuemeka Wogu – Labour & Productivity, Musa Mohammed Sada – Mines & Steel Dev; Elder Peter Orubebe – Niger Delta Affairs, Mrs. Deziani Allison – Madueke – Petroleum Resources, Adetokunbo Kayode – Defence, Murtala Shehu Yar’Adua – (state) Defence, Nuhu Somo Wya – state Power, Adamu Waziri – Police Affairs, Muhammed Abubakar – Science & Tech, Ernest Olulabode – Special Duties, Yusuf Sulaiman – Transport, Senator Akinlabi Olasunkanmi – Youth Dev. Josephine Anenih – Women Affairs, Shamsudeen Usman – National Planning Ibrahim Isa Bio – Nat. Sports Comm. Sanusi M. Dagash – Works, Chris Ogiemwinyi – (state) Works, Nduese Essien – Lands, Housing & Urban Dev., John Odey – Environment, while the Acting President heads the Power ministry considered very critical towards achieving the administration’s goal of increase power supply generation in the country. For Nigerians, the new ministers have a lot of challenges to tackle before the 2011 general election.
However, the challenges before the Acting President and the Federal Executive Council are quite daunting and require patriotism, commitment, transparency and courage to deliver the much-needed goals of the administration within the short period left for this administration.
Perhaps the Acting President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan captured the concern of Nigerians when he told the new ministers to see their assignment as a sacred commitment to serve the nation without fear or favour.
He further charged the ministers to be transparent, accountable and act at all times with good faith in the interest of the nation and Nigerians.
But the Rivers State Chairman, Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), N.N. Naazigha-Lue has spoken of the need for the Acting President and members of the Federal Executive Council to courageously face the monumental problems facing Nigeria and proffer solutions to them.
Such challenges as the Niger Delta problem, power generation, rising crime rate, unemployment, religious crisis, electoral reforms including the war against corruption are considered crucial issues to be addressed.
Comrade Naazigha said that “if the Acting President and the Federal Executive Council can sincerely address these myriad challenges, then Nigerians can be better off in terms of better standard of living.”
Already, Jonathan has designed a performance benchmark agreement for the ministers to evaluate their performance and goals delivering in accordance with the policy thrust of his administration.
Barrister Cornelius Dibia says the respect for the rule of law is being abused by the federal government.
According to him, agencies of government like the EFCC should be given the necessary support to intensify the war against corruption and prosecute cases pending in court with all seriousness by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice.
Meanwhile, Dickson Effiong of the University of Port Harcourt, tasks the new foreign minister, Odein Ajumogobia to positively project the image of the country within the comity of nations.
Dickson also reflected on the recent comment by the Libyan’s leader, Muhammed Gaddafi that Nigeria should be split along religious lines, saying it is a direct interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation and therefore violates the necessary African Union charter protocol. Going by the seriousness of Gaddafi’s comment, Dickson said the federal government should intensify efforts at ensuring the political stability of the nation even as it works towards restoring confidence of Nigerians in the administration and the Nigeria project.
Nigerians are also expecting the ministers of Petroleum Resources, Police Affairs, Works, and Information and Communications to play critical role in the development of the nation. According to Ben Nwakama Osa, senior lecturer at the Abia State University (Port Harcourt Study Centre), the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke should rise to the challenge of making petroleum products available through the collaborative efforts of the independent marketers.
The university don said that the incessant petroleum scarcity leading to long quenes at the various filling stations should not be the order of the day in Jonathan administration.
Osa stated that the nation’s refineries must be resuscitated to a functional capacity by the minister.
Also speaking, Dr. Suany Obilor of the Mercy’s Clinic, Port Harcourt advised the Minister of Police Affairs to immediately address the deteriorating security situation in the country, adding that “a situation where armed men and kidnappers have taken over does not augur well for the security of Nigerians”.
The medical practitioner told the minister to face the challenge of his new assignment with determination to stem the tide of insecurity prevailing in the nation.
Nigeria’s deplorable road conditions across the nation need to be fixed. According to Engr Saka Tetenwu, the roads are now death traps to travellers, and Nigeria can not afford to waste her citizens.
The Minister of information and communication has the onerous tasks of adequately publicising and informing Nigerians on government programme and polices.
Certainly, uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. Time is not on the ministers’ side. They have the onerous task of making the remaining part of this administration a transformatory period. They must fulfil the social and moral contract with the people.
Tough national assignment, no doubt! All the ministers must stand on the side of history to give a new meaning to good governance. Nigerians do not expect anything less than a functional road network, improved agricultural production, addressing some of the major challenges in the oil and gas industry to boost national economy and fast-tracking rural development.
By and large, the size of the portfolio is not important to deliver quality services. What matters most is the contribution of each of the ministers in moving the nation forward. The ministers have the opportunity within the little period left to see what positive impact they can bring into the system or be messed up at the end of the day.
CAN Accuses El-Rufai Of Hidden Agenda
The Kaduna State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has accused Governor Nasir El-Rufai of engaging in politics with civil servants and residents of the state.
This was contained in a statement issued on Tuesday by the state chairman of CAN, Rev. John Joseph Hayab, in the aftermath of the pronouncement of a four-day work week by the governor.
El-Rufai had said the state government would begin implementing the transitional arrangement in the public service starting from December 1, 2021.
However, the CAN Chairman urged caution, stating that the citizens of the state had been subjected to pains by this government through some of its unpopular policies.
He advised civil servants in the state not to celebrate the policy yet until they were convinced that there was no hidden agenda behind it.
“Workers must be sure that the policy is not aimed at reducing their salaries.
“They must be convinced that the government will not wake up one day with another shocking news of salary reduction since the five working days have been reduced to four.”
“How can a state that is not secured talk about giving workers time for agriculture and be with family when bandits move about freely, terrorising people in their homes, on the farms, and on the highways!
“How can one spend time with family when you have nothing to feed them or provide for their basic needs?” he said.
Meagre Allocation Stalls Adamawa LG Polls
The Adamawa State Independent Electoral Commission (ADSIEC) has postponed the December 4 local government council polls indefinitely due to lack of funds.
ADSIEC Information Officer, Innocent Daniel, said on Monday that the commission was awaiting funds from the government to conduct a free, fair and transparent election.
“Among the major challenges that led to the postponement of the election was the meagre allocation to the commission in the state’s 2021 budget.
“The allocation is too meagre for the commission to organise and conduct the election.
“Also, the re-usable election materials such as ballot boxes, duty vests, bags and kits were completely vandalised during the #Endsars protest,” he said.
The Information officer said that the commission was also faced with the problem of handling the new polling units that were converted from voting points by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He said that the conversion had raised the polling units in the state from 2,609 to 4,104.
“This development will lead to an increase in facilities and ad hoc staff. The ongoing registration of new voters will also have a resultant increase in ballot paper requirements.
“It is in this regard that the preparations for the local government council election for December 4, is hereby suspended to give the government time to source for funds,” Mr Daniel said.
2023: Northern Youths Urge Old Politicians To Steer Clear
Politicians above 60 years of age have been urged to stay away from the presidential race come 2023.
The appeal was made by the leadership of the Concerned Northern Youth Forum (CNYF) in Kaduna yesterday.
They argued that in developed nations, people of that age and experience were mostly engaged in charitable activities, free consultancy services and other forms of selfless services.
The spokesman of the group, Comrade Abdulsalam Moh’d Kazeem, called on youths to take advantage of the “not too young to rule” to participate actively in the political arena.
Also, a north-based group has tasked Nigerian youths to join politics to free the country of bad governance.
Coordinator of the group, National Youth Movement for Good Governance, Nasiru Aliyu, who disclosed this at a news briefing in Kaduna, said Nigeria requires young hands that can work assiduously to address its developmental challenges.
Meanwhile, some stakeholders in the North Central zone and bigwigs of the PDP in the region, have thrown their weight behind the candidature of Bukola Saraki in the 2023 presidency.
The group, led by Professor Iyorwuese Hagher, stated this on Monday during the advocacy committee meeting for Saraki with party members and delegations from across the zone at the Nasarawa State party secretariat in Lafia.
An associate of Saraki, Alhaji Kawu Baraje, urged the party to consider Saraki as its presidential candidate for 2023 to salvage the country from total collapse.
Also, the campaign team of a former presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Monday met with the party’s officials and stakeholders from the three senatorial districts of Benue State over the 2023 general elections.
The leader of the team, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, said they were in Benue as forerunners of Atiku to consult with the elders of the PDP in the state and ask them for support for their principal who will be contesting the presidential poll in 2023.
Similarly, a support group, Tinubu Legacy Forum (TLF), has said the national leader of the ruling APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is not too old to contest the presidency.
While 69-year-old Tinubu has not formally declared his presidential interest, his recent visitations and series of support groups, rooting for him, show his interest in contesting the 2023 presidency, probably under the APC.
Addressing newsmen on Monday in Abuja, the Coordinator, TLF, FCT Chapter, Barrister Abdullahi Awwal Muhammad, said Tinubu was not too old to contest for the presidency.
In Lagos, a Yoruba group yesterday endorsed the former Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha as the next president. The group, under the aegis of Oduduwa Sons and Daughters for Equity and Justice, declared that the Yoruba people have decided to support a South-Easterner as successor to President Muhammadu Buhari.
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