Osinbajo swears-in new ministers without portfolios

Osinbajo swears-in new ministers without portfolios
July 26 14:22 2017

The long wait for the inauguration of two ministerial nominees cleared by the Senate three months ago has finally come to an end as they were sworn-in by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo before the commencement of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday.

The nominees are Stephen Ocheni and Suleiman Hassan from Kogi and Gombe states respectively.

Ocheni is replacing James Ocholi who was killed in a motor accident while Suleiman is to take the place of Hajia Amina Mohammed who resigned to take up an appointment as the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations (UN).

There may however be another long wait for the ministers to start work as Osinbajo failed to assign portfolios to them immediately even though he ordered them to join the day’s proceedings.

Speaking shortly after administering the oath of office on the new ministers, Osinbajo expressed the Federal Government’s commitment to implementing economic reform programmes to make a difference in the lives and livelihood of Nigerians.

He said he expected the new ministers to join in the “Herculean task” of turning the economy around, noting that government was focused on its cardinal programmes of reviving the economy, creating employment and fighting corruption.

The Acting President stressed that a lot of progress had been made in the area of security, observing however that there were still a lot of challenges.

According to him, those challenges however pale into insignificant “compared to where we are coming from”.

He stressed government’s commitment to continue to support the war against corruption.

While noting that the new FEC members were capable, Osinbajo congratulated them and their, families and friends present at the ceremony.

Osinbajo said, “We have focused our attention on key areas of that economic recovery plan and we believe those key areas are things that need to be done to make a difference in the Nigerian economy and in the lives of Nigerians.

“Time and time again we have continued to emphasise the need for ministers to pay particular attention to all the areas that we have highlighted in the economic plan.

“President Muhammadu Buhari decided to task ministers with specific functions and so we expect our new ministers to be part of this Herculean task in turning around the Nigerian economy and making life better for the citizens.

“Of course you know that aside from the economy we have two key areas highlighted by the President during the course of the campaigns and have become centre pieces of our administration programme – security and the anti-corruption fight.”

The Acting President said the government expected FEC members to focus on the key areas as well.

“We have of course made tremendous progress in security. We have issues and challenges here and there but they can’t be compared to where we are coming from; very minor indeed and we are tackling them on a day-by-day basis.

“On the anti corruption fight, we are focused and we believe that the primary thing is for those of us who have the privilege of serving to ensure that by our own point and actions we support the anti corruption fight and also that our conducts will be exemplary so that we will show by practice not just by words that we are determined to ensure that this country is run by a good government. And where there is honesty and integrity service will be delivered,” he added.

There was a bit of drama when, after taking his oath, Ocheni set about to shake all the ministers seated in the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa but had to be stopped by an official to enable to rest of the proceedings to go on.