Meet those in charge now as former Minister sheds tears


MONTHS of speculations about a cabinet shake-up ended yesterday, with the sacking of nine ministers.
Minister of Information and Supervising Minister of Defence – he was so named yesterday after the shake-up – Labaran Maku, broke the news to State House correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Among those who got the boot are Foreign Affairs Minister Olugbenga Ashiru, Ruqqayatu Rufai (Education) and Shamsudeen Usman (National Planning).
Others include Land and Urban Development Minister Amal Pepple, Environment’s Hadiza Mailafia Science and Technology’s Ita Ewa.
Three Ministers of State were also sacked. They are Defence, Olusola Obada, Power, Zainab Kuchi and Agriculture, Tijani Bukar.
Some ministers are to supervise the ministries in order not to create a vacuum.
The ministries will be supervised by Minister of State 1 Foreign Affairs, Prof Viola Onwuliri for Foreign Affairs ministry, Minister of State for Education Mr. Nyesom Wike (Education) and Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Darius Ishaku (Environment).
Lands, Housing and Urban Development Ministry will be supervised by the Minister of Solid Mineral Development, Mr. Musa Sada.
Minister of Communication Technology Mrs. Omobola Johnson will supervise the Ministry of Science and Technology. The Ministry of National Planning will be overseen by the Minister of State for Works, Ambassador Bashir Yuguda.
Minister of Power Prof Chinedu Nebo is to take charge of the Power Ministry.
Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Dr. Akinwumi Adesina will take charge of the Ministry.
Maku maintained that the action was taken to inject fresh blood in to the system to deliver more dividends of democracy to Nigerians. No political undertone, he said.

He said: “These ministers have been affected in the cabinet reshuffle and the President in Council expressed his satisfaction and happiness over their commitment to government since they were appointed. He also thanked them for their service to their fatherland and said he will continue to engage them in one way or the other in the implementation of the transformation agenda and, of course, in the various challenges that government faces around the country and in terms of efforts to transform our country.

“He was indeed pleased to say because of what they have done in serving this country, he reassured them that this government will continue to use their services in the development of the country and thanked them for their services to this administration and to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Also following this, a list will be sent to the Senate for the confirmation of new ministers and once that is ready and sent, I am sure the Presidency will announce the list of the new ministers that will replace the ministers that were affected in the reshuffle.

Ruling out political undertone in the termination of the appointments, Maku said: “You know, even the press has been speculating cabinet reshuffle for a long time. I can’t remember how many times in the last one year that the press has been speculating that there would be cabinet reshuffle. In fact, some have been writing almost openly saying they want cabinet reshuffle.

“There is no government in the world where the leaders do not reshuffle their cabinets; there is none. And cabinet reshuffle is part of a systematic public administration and I believe what the President has done is simply to address the issues of re-tooling his government to achieve service delivery.”
Maku said the President set targets for the next two years and he is adjusting his cabinet to realise the objectives of his transformation agenda.
Speaking with State House correspondents, Mailafia said the reshuffle did not shock her as it was expected to come at anytime.
In tears, she said: “If you are wise enough, life is a cycle where from the day you come in you should know there is an exit. Isn’t it?
And every Wednesday I come in here hoping one day there will be a cabinet reshuffle. I’m grateful to all of you; I have enjoyed working with all of you. And please support government programmes, the Great Green Wall in particular, new map and so on.”
She went on: “I have been part of the government; I owe a lot to it.

We have been honoured to serve and we are moving out honourably and I think that is important. Many have come and gone without honour.”
On whether she will miss her colleagues, she said: “Oh yes and no. No because of technology, we will still be in touch; there will be phone calls and contacts and emails and so on.”


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