A NEW set of 11 ministers appointed by President Goodluck Jonathan were inaugurated on Wednesday, March 5. The ministers had earlier been cleared by the National Assembly. By the appointment of Aliyu Mohammed Gusau, a retired army general and former security adviser, as minister of defence, analysts say the nation’s war against Boko Haram, Islamic fundamentalist group, would be more vigorous. Jonathan had, similarly replaced the service chiefs in January and appointed a new chief of Defence Staff to step up the anti-insurgency war in the North-East states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, which have been under emergency rule since last year.
Apart from Gusau, the president swore in Tamuno Danagogo, a medical doctor, to replace Bolaji Abdullahi, whom he sacked the same day, as minister of sports. Other ministers being inaugurated were Aminu Wali, a career ambassador is the new minister of foreign affairs; Mohammed Wakil, minister of state for power, and Abduljelili Oyewale Adesiyan, minister of police affairs. The rest were Akon Etim Eyakenyi, minister of land and environment; Laurencia Labaran Mallam, minister of environment; Asabe Asmau Ahmed, minister of state for agriculture; Boni Haruna, former governor of Adamawa State, minister of youth development and Khaliru Alhassan, minister of state for health.
After the swearing-in, Jonathan urged the ministers to see their appointments as a public trust and truly serve the people. “”We are to serve the people, so we must listen to the people. I want you to see yourselves as servants to add value to whatever you have been asked to do and of course, you know that this government is emphasising the issues of transformation… At the end, if you cannot say that you have brought innovations to your ministry, then you have failed. If you are not able to detect errors in the ministry, then you have failed. It is your responsibility to make positive changes,” he said.
HIS sack was long expected, but when Bolaji Abdullahi was sacked as minister of sports on Wednesday, March 5, a lot of people including his colleagues at the Federal Executive Council, FEC, were surprised. President Goodluck Jonathan did not announce Abdullahi’s removal immediately, he simply sworn-in Tamuno Danagogo, a medical doctor, as his replacement. Abdullahi was absent at the FEC meeting chaired by President Jonathan who swore in new 11 ministers, including the person that replaced him without announcing sack. But when tongues started to wag about him, it was now down to Reuben Abati, senior special adviser to the president on media and publicity, to confirm his removal to State House correspondents.
That Abdullahi lost his cabinet post did not surprise many because he is the political godson of Bukola Saraki, a serving senator and former governor of Kwara State. Saraki who appointed Abdullahi for the ministerial position, fell out with the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and moved to the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, last year. This was said to have created some suspicion that Abdullahi, although a very hard working minister, might not be loyal to the president. Besides, Abdullahi was said to have shot himself in the foot because of tepid behaviour when the president visited Kwara State on Monday, March 3. He allegedly made a remark to suggest that he was happy to have been in company of the PDP during the visit. President Jonathan on had paid a one-day visit to the state where he received some defectors from the APC, including Gbemisola Saraki, a younger sister to the former governor. Abdullahi’s comment was said to have angered many others in the bus who told him point blank that he would cease to be a minister.
Governors Beg Boko Haram
IRKED by incessant attacks by Boko Haram insurgents, governors in the North-East zone of the country, on Wednesday, March 5, declared that they have had enough. To end the orgy of violence that characterised the zone, the governors said they were ready for a dialogue with the terrorists. Governors Isa Yuguda, Ibrahim Dankwambo and Garba Umar of Bauchi, Taraba and Gombe, met for several hours in Gombe to map out measures aimed at appeasing the Boko Haram sect members to lay down their arms and embrace peace.
The governors said they were ready and willing to do everything possible to reach out to the sect members and explore the possibility of convincing them to come to the negotiation table. The meeting resolved that it would be better to dialogue with the terrorists than using force.
The governors said the terrorists were so set in their ways that they could not easily be dislodged with force. They also reasoned that as governors, who were elected to protect lives and property, it was incumbent on them to take whatever measures possible to end the cycle of violence that is fast destroying the economy of the North and its environs.
In particular, the governors resolved that the incessant killings being orchestrated by insurgents especially in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa must stop so that peace could be restored to the region.
Yuguda, who initiated the meeting, said: “As leaders, who have sworn to protect the lives and property of our citizens, we owe it a duty to take necessary measures to save our people in times of threat such as we have been witnessing in recent times. We have resolved to come up with strategies that would rebuild the destroyed areas and give hope and succour to our people over time.”
Yuguda appealed to members of the sect to stop the carnage and reminded the sect that no religion no religion preached violence or killing of one another. “For Allah’s sake, we are appealing to whoever is behind the wanton killings and destruction of property in the region to stop, and let us sit down and chart the way forward to ensure that peace and unity return to the North-East in particular and Nigeria as a whole,” the governor said.
We Shall Win Against Boko Haram — Badeh
DESPITE anxiety caused by recent incessant attacks by Boko Haram sect in the North-East, Alex Badeh, air marshal and chief of defence staff, has assured the country that the Nigerian armed forces would do everything possible to end the menace in the area. Badeh made the promise when the caucus of House of Representatives members from Adamawa State led by Anthony Madwatte paid him a solidarity visit in his office on Thursday, March 6. “What I can guarantee you is that we will do our best to bring an end to this insurgency but we solicit your assistance to ensure that this war is over. We look forward for your protection and you must give us the legal backing for us to do our job”.
He told the lawmakers from his state, that “If you want your son to succeed then you must assist him because if the armed forces succeed, it means your son has succeeded.” Badeh also assured the members that the military would do everything possible to ensure that they go back home to carry out their campaign freely.
While thanking members of National Assembly for the support they had been giving to the armed forces to carry out their duties effectively, Badeh called on Nigerians with information that would assist the on-going war against terrorists to do so adding that the military would use it without disclosing the source of the information.
Madwatte earlier said they were at Defence Headquarters to congratulate the CDS on his appointment and that they were happy that a brother of theirs had been elevated to such a position of responsibility. “On behalf of all of us and our constituency, we have come to say congratulations and we wish you the best of luck as you steer the affairs of the military. For other senior officers who had been recently promoted we also congratulate you all and we wish you the best in your under takings,” Madwatte said.
— Mar. 17, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT