Petroleum slot for Buhari as new ministers get portfolios

Ngige-and-BuhariTRUE to his pronouncements in New York late September, President Muhammadu Buhari named himself the substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources in the long-awaited cabinet he unveiled yesterday.

He also confirmed, as he had long-indicated, that ministries have been rationalised and pruned to 24.

As predicted, the immediate past Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Ibe Kachikwu was named the Minister of State Petroleum Resources.

The immediate past Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fasola (SAN) is the Minister of Power, Works and Housing with Mustapha Baba Shehuri as Minister of State.

Immediate past Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi was named Minister of Transportation, while Senator Hadi Sirka becomes Minister of State, Aviation.

Former Anambra State Governor, Senator Chris Ngige was named Minister of Labour and Productivity with Mr. James Enojo Ocholi (SAN) as Minister of State; former Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi is new Minister of Solid Minerals with Abubakar Bawa Bwari as Minister of State.

Lt. Gen. Abdulrahaman Bello Danbazzau (rtd) was named Minister of Interior; Brig-Gen. Mohammed Mansur Dan Ali (rtd) new Defence Minister, erstwhile governor of Abia State and immediate past National Chairman of the defunct All Nigerian People’s Party (ANPP), Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu the new Minister of Science and Technology with a former Chairman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Audu Ogbe becoming the new Minister of Agriculture, while Senator Heineken Lokpobiri is the Minister of State.

Immediate past Finance Commissioner in Ogun State, Mrs. Keri Adeosun was named the new Finance Minister; Senator Aisha Jummai Alhassan, recently declared winner of the 2015 gubernatorial election in Taraba State by the Governorship Elections Tribunal was named Minister of Women Affairs; Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN) was named the new Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Suleiman Adamu, Minister of Water Resources, and Minister of Youths and Sports, Solomon Dalong.

Senator Udoma Udo Udoma was named new Minister of Budget and National Planning, with Mrs. Zainab Ahmed as Minister of State, while immediate past spokesman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Alhaji Lai Mohammed was named Minister of Information.

A former Adviser to the United Nations Secretary General on Millennium Development Goals, Hajia Amina Mohammed, was named Minister of Environment with Malam Ibrahim Usman Jibril as Minister of State.

Renowned columnist, Adamu Adamu was named Minister of Education, with Prof. Anthony Onwuka as Minister of State; immediate past Chairman of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Muhammad Musa Bello is the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister while Okechukwu Enelamah was named the Minister of Industry Trade and Investment with Aisha Abubakar as Minister of State.

Immediate past Vice Chancellor of University of Ibadan, Prof. Isaac Adewole Folorunsho was named the new Health Minister, with Dr. Osagie Ehanire named as Minister State for Health.

Pastor Usan Usani Uguru was named Minister of Niger Delta Affairs with Prof. Claudius Daramola as Minister of State, Niger Delta Affairs.

Geoffrey Onyeama was named the new Foreign Affairs Minister with Hon. Khadijat Bukar Abba Ibrahim as Minister of State while Adebayo Shittu was named new Minister of Communication.

Addressing the ministers shortly after their oath taking and pledge of allegiance before he presided over the maiden Federal Executive Council (FEC ) meeting of this administration, Buhari said the government would continue more decisively to implement its policies in respect of the economy and in other areas, saying: “While working hard to maximise revenue from oil in the face of a sharp decline in the price for the commodity, we are determined to diversify the economy in agriculture to enhance employment and explore solid minerals as a major revenue earner.”

The President also said he had been conscious of the need not to repeat mistakes of the past where the right people were allocated the wrong portfolios, which translated into their performing poorly “to our collective detriment despite their obvious capabilities. Also, I have responded to the counsel to consult as widely as possible, given the need to build a stable and all-inclusive government by reaching across our various ethnic and political divides.

“The primary aim is to achieve self-sufficiency in the production of such staples as rice and wheat and to become a major consumer and exporter of both items as well as solid minerals. We intend to pursue policies that will generate massive employment for millions of our youth.”

The President noted that the adoption of the Treasury Single Account, (TSA) has resulted in the blocking of financial leakages in the public sector, making more funds available for the business of governance and ensuring the welfare of Nigerians, adding that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had also assisted more than 30 states of the federation with concessionary loans to offset salary arrears for their workers.”

In his maiden briefing of State House correspondents after the FEC meeting, the Information Minister, Mohammed said: “The President once again re-iterated his charge to all of us to see our appointments as a call to duty, and for us to also understand the precarious nature of Nigeria today, and we should double our efforts to justify the confidence Nigerians had in and he had in us.

“Again, against the backdrop that we don’t just have new ministers, we also have our new Permanent Secretaries, we were all asked to go back to our ministries and get familiarised with our ministries, get aquatinted with our officers and that we should we should remember, that we should not go into the ministries with any closed minds or prejudice or bias, rather we should go there with open minds and look at the bureaucracy also a very potent partner in the arduous task of governance.”

The event was witnessed by the Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, National Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, governors Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar of Zamfara State, Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi State and Samuel Ortom of Benue State among others.

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