President Swears in New Ministers

Deji Elumoye, Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja, Fidelis David in Akure and Sylvester Idowu in Warri

President Muhammadu Buhari has charged the seven newly appointed Ministers to serve Nigeria with all diligence and maintain unalloyed loyalty to the country and office of the president.

He also warned all Ministers to stay clear of corrupt practices in their official dealings while rejigging his cabinet by moving four Ministers around. He said the redeployment was aimed at reinvigorating certain sectors where the government desired to accomplish improved results.

Speaking yesterday at the swearing-in ceremony, which preceded the virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the State House, Abuja, the President said as his administration was now on the home-stretch of its second term, more work still needed to be done in diverse areas of the economy and national life.

The newly appointed Ministers and their portfolios were: Ikechukwu Ikoh, Minister of State, Science and Technology; Umana Umana, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs; Udi Odum, Minister of State, Environment; Ademola Adegoroye, Minister of State, Transport; Umar Ibrahim El-Yakub, Minister of State, Works and Housing; Goodluck Opiah, Minister of State, Education and Nkama Ekumankama, Minister of State, Health. 

However, the following ministers were re-assigned: Senator Adeleke Mamora, Minister of Science and Technology (formerly Minister of State, Health); Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, Minister of Transportation (formerly Minister of State, Works and Housing); Sharon Ikeazor, Minister of State, Niger Delta (formerly Minister of State, Environment) and Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development (formerly Minister of State, Transportation).

Before the swearing in of the new Ministers, a minute silence was observed in honour of the outgoing Secretary-General of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Mohammed Barkindo, who died Tuesday night at the age of 63.

Buhari urged the new members of his cabinet to consult and collaborate with older cabinet colleagues and focus on driving key programmes already initiated by this administration.

He also warned all members of the cabinet against corrupt practices, reiterating that public officers must be above board and those caught in corrupt practices would face the full wrath of the law.

He explained: “I begin this address by welcoming on board, all newly sworn-in members of the Federal Executive Council. I also congratulate you because the process that you all passed through to reach this stage has been rigorous and meticulous.

‘‘The appointment of these new Ministers is in line with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which prescribes that the Federal Executive Council shall be made up of members from every state of the Federation.

‘‘I therefore urge you to consider your emergence out of millions of equally qualified Nigerians within the purview of selection from your state, as a call to duty which imposes the obligation to serve the nation diligently and presents to you the unique opportunity to work hard in service to the government and the country.

“At the valedictory session for the six former Ministers that departed to pursue other political careers, I promised that their replacement shall be a matter of priority so that the business of governance would not experience delays or setbacks.

‘‘This administration has been in the saddle since 2015 and is now on the home-stretch of its second term, as the nation prepares for the 2023 general elections. All through, it has vigorously pursued the three main electoral objectives namely: securing the nation; diversifying and growing the economy as well as fighting corruption.”

The president added: “You are all coming on-board at this time with new energy, ideas, experiences and vigour, to join the existing team so that the implementation of policies, programs and projects associated with these electoral objectives would be escalated and accelerated.

‘‘There is still so much to be done for our country in the areas of infrastructure development, energy, access to finance, access to justice, technology and innovation, trade, agriculture, education and security. The list is inexhaustible.”

Buhari urged the newly appointed ministers to be conscious that time was of the essence as they assumed office.

According to him: ‘‘As I assign you portfolios, therefore, I expect you to carefully study your sectors, take wise counsel, reach out to key stakeholders, consult and collaborate with older cabinet colleagues and focus on driving key programs already initiated by this administration. Above all, be loyal to your president and your country.’’

Underscoring the need for the old and new members of his cabinet to work with common objectives of leaving indelible legacies for Nigerians and ending strongly with verifiable accomplishments, the president warned:

“You must resist bad counsel, resist temptation and be circumspect in your utterances and conduct. You must totally eschew corruption and be above board because if caught there will be no sacred cows.”

Opiah has assured Nigerians that he would deploy all needed resources to join Buhari in delivering democracy dividends to Nigerians.

Speaking with newsmen shortly after being sworn-in, Opiah said having sworn an oath to serve the country as Minister, he would join other colleagues to build on the existing standards as well as established modalities for growth in the system.

The Minister said he would move to work immediately to key areas of importance in the Ministry, adding that the president had given them charge to contribute their quota to nation building.

“President Buhari has informed us that we have much to do, hence I am prepared to move into action quickly.

“There are key areas that will be of importance in line with the desired of President Buhari administration aimed at improving on the quality of education Nigerians get.

“I promise to deliver in my job using all resources available. I am delighted to be given the opportunity to serve our country under the administration of our dear President Buhari,” he added.

On his part, Umana promised to be result-oriented and impactful within the short time he would be spending in the Ministry.

He made the assertion during a reception ceremony held on his behalf in the ministry in Abuja.

According to him, “Though the time is short, we can hit the ground running by making the necessary impact. We will be driven by results.”

A statement issued by the Director, Press and Public Relations, Patricia Deworitshe, said while stating that it was time to work to achieve the ministry’s target in line with its mandate, Umana urged the staff to be at their best to ensure that a remarkable difference was made in the lives of Nigerians, especially people in the Niger Delta region.

“This tenure would ensure that a lasting impression is attained, that will make President Muhammadu Buhari and Nigerians proud,” he said.

Earlier in his welcome speech, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr. Olufunso Olusesan Adebiyi, assured the minister of the unalloyed commitment of the ministry’s management and staff to work as a team in ensuring that his target and set objectives were achieved.

In the same vein, the South South Reawakening Group (SSRG) yesterday commended the appointment of Umana as Minister of Niger Delta Affairs.

The group, in a statement signed by its Convener, Joseph Ambakederimo, said the appointment of Umana would bring fresh air and respite to the Niger Delta region.

“The deployment of Mr. Obong Umana Okon Umana has brought a breath of fresh air and respite to the beleaguered Niger Delta region, the deployment has brought with it the euphoria of eldorado and a new lease of life for our people,” it stated.

SSRG thanked Buhari for giving a listening ear to the appeal by the people of the region and expressed confidence that Umana would not disappoint giving his background as an astute administrator.

Meanwhile, Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu yesterday assured the president that the confirmation of Adegoroye as Minister would add value to his government and impact positively on the people of the state.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Richard Olatunde, Akeredolu congratulated Adegoroye,  charging the new Minister to exploit the opportunities of his new office to help the Sunshine State in its quest for development, particularly the establishment of the Port Ondo.

“I congratulate Prince Ademola Adegoroye on his inauguration as Minister of State for Transportation. Adegoroye has been a long-standing member of this progressive family. His appointment as Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is gratifying.

“Having transcended the various phases of this progressive fold, from the Action Congress (AC) to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and now the All Progressives Congress(APC), Prince Adegoroye, no doubt, is equipped with the political experience and the knowledge to galvanise the needed support for the development of the State and the progress of the APC in the sunshine state.

“We thank President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing Prince Adegoroye into the Federal Ministry of Transportation. Mr. President must be aware of our dire need for a Port Declaration in light of the promise we made to our people that Ondo State will have its own Deep Seaport.

“Undoubtedly, Prince Adegoroye will add value to the government of President Buhari and impact positively on the people of the State as a Minister. He’s a round peg in a round hole,” he said.

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