Why I sacked youth minister –Jonathan

The Presidency yesterday explained why the Minister of Youth Development, Inuwa Abdulkadir, was fired on Monday. It said that the minister was relieved of his appointment because President Goodluck Jonathan was disappointed by his handling of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, NYCN, elections in Makurdi and Minna.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, said the involvement of the minister in the election resulted in the unfortunate fractionalisation of the council.
The statement said that President Jonathan had no preferred candidate in the election, contrary to speculations in the media.
It said that Jonathan regarded the Nigerian youth as his wards and constituents, adding that claims that he had a preferred candidate in the NYCN elections were baseless.

The statement reads in part: “President Jonathan remains sincerely and unwaveringly committed to doing all within his powers to promote the credibility and integrity of the electoral process at all levels in the country.
“He firmly believes that a culture of free, fair and credible election must be constantly nurtured and encouraged amongst Nigerian youth and all other sections of the country.

“In point of fact, it was Alhaji Abdulkadir’s regrettable deviation from this presidential commitment in the management of the NYCN elections that led to the decision to relieve him of his appointment as Minister of Youth Development.
“President Jonathan was very displeased with the mishandling of the NYCN elections in Makurdi and Minna by the Ministry of Youth Development which resulted in the unfortunate fractionalisation of the youth council.
“The President found the ministry’s failure to provide appropriate leadership towards open and transparent youth council elections unacceptable.

“President Jonathan is sincerely committed to doing everything possible to ensure that the Nigerian youth, on whom the country’s aspirations for a bright and prosperous future depend, are given the best possible upbringing and orientation.
“The President, therefore, expects all officials of his administration to exhibit greater rectitude and sensitivity on issues related to youth development, and comport themselves at all times in a manner worthy of emulation by Nigerian youth.”

Meanwhile, Niger State Governor Babangida Aliyu yesterday expressed support for the President’s decision to sack the minister and suspend the Chairman of the National Population Commission, NPC, Chief Festus Odumegwu.
The governor stated this while receiving the Executive Secretary, Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission, NCPC, Mr. Kennedy Okpara, in Minna.
He said: “The action of the President is what is expected of a national leader that does not want any of his officials to cause disharmony among the people.

“And I am happy that the President queried and suspended the National Chairman of the National Population Commission; please thank the President for me for what he did to the Minister of Youth Development.”
He noted that the role the minister played in the botched election showed that he lacked an understanding of his job and failed to present the actual facts of what transpired to President Jonathan.

He said: “While the Nigerian Youth Council did not hold election in the Makurdi gathering but rather set up a transition committee, the minister and his aides gave a forged list of new executive members of the council to the President.”
Aliyu said it was against this backdrop that the Niger State government accepted to host the election that returned Abdullahi Abdulmajeed as National President, adding that the transition committee solicited the support of the government and got a peaceful place where the election was conducted and supervised by some officials of the ministry and the Presidency.

He added that Chief Festus Odumegwu, failed to ‘census’ his utterances, saying it was important for people to watch their words so as not to cause crisis in the polity.

In a related development, the NYCN President, Mr. Yakubu Shendam, said the President had the right to relieve any appointee of his job and urged the public to stop making insinuations regarding the development. He, however, said the council was “still monitoring the situation of the removal of the minister.”

This is even as he cautioned politicians against “desperate” tendencies as the 2015 general elections approach.
Shendam, however, noted that he was not part of the Minna election.

He explained that he was in Abuja when the election was holding in Minna, pleading with political gladiators to halt perceived attempts at “breaking the ranks of the Nigerian youth”, which he said, constituted “80 per cent of the nation’s population.”

National Mirror
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