New Ministers To Be Unveiled Before 24 September
It was expected that the new ministers would be unveiled on 24 September, during the next Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja. A statement, yesterday, by the Special Adviser to the President on Communications, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, lends credence to this.
The statement announced the creation of the Ministry of Niger Delta and the creation of some parastals under some of the existing ministries.
According to Adeniyi, “As part of efforts to fast-track and effectively co-ordinate the implementation of the Seven-Point Agenda of his administration, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua has approved the rationalisation and restructuring of Federal Ministries.
“A Ministry of Niger Delta has been created to lead and co-ordinate environmental and youth empowerment policy initiatives as well as reinforce the administration’s commitment to the overall development of the region.”
Following the restructuring, ministers were directed to liaise with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and the Head of Service (HOS) to “re-articulate the mandates of their ministries, departments in line with the requirements of the Seven-Point Agenda…”
See full text of the statement on the ministerial restructuring on this page.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Action Congress has applauded the creation of the Ministry of Niger Delta.
In a statement issued, today, by the party’s scribe, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, the party said: “We received the news of the creation of the Ministry of Niger Delta with great gratitude and appreciation to president Yar’Ad and members of the Federal Executive Council. Without any political bias, Mr. president needs to be commended and congratulated for being bold and magnanimous enough to borrow a good programme not minding if it is coming from a highly critical opposition party like Action Congress.
“The major campaign tool of Action Congress during the last presidential election to emancipate the Niger Delta people were the pledge to create a Ministry to handle the affairs of the region if elected into power. With this action by Mr. president, we can now agree that Niger Delta is truly part of his 7-point agenda. The importance of establishing a Ministry for Niger Delta at this time to tackle the deteriorating state, chronic underdevelopment and environmental degradation of the region need not be over-emphasised.
This Ministry will be a more reliable agency for articulating subsequent issues, but more importantly in helping to fast-track the development of the region.”
The party advised that “in order to achieve the result for the creation of this Ministry, we wish to suggest that it should not be guided and bogged down by red tape and other bureaucratic ills. We will recommend that the Ministry be located in the Niger Delta region with liaison offices in the Federal Capital Territory and in the states that make up the Niger Delta. The Ministry should have a special budget, which in our view should be a fixed percentage derived from the total allocation to the Federal Government. Sound son or daughters of the region should be appointed to oversee the Ministry.
“The Ministry should act as the Coordinator of the various interventionist schemes designed for the region and necessary amendments to the NDDC Act and any other interventionist programs in the region should be sent to the National Assembly immediately for necessary action by the Presidency.
“To us this Ministry should concern itself with major task of modernising the region to the standard comparable to any other region of the world where oil is exported; through massive Infrastructural and Human Development; Employment creation; and Restoration of Human Dignity and reclamation of wasted and devastated land. Most importantly the Ministry apart from seeing to the immediate implementation and execution of the Niger Delta Master Plan should start developing four new towns as follows - One in Ijawland – Bayelsa State; One in Ogoniland – Rivers State; One seaport town at Ibaka – Akwa Ibom State; the redevelopment of Warri into a new town – Delta State. These new towns represent sustainable development with the added beauty of providing all the desired elements; roads, power, water, good communications, schools, hospitals, recreational and other amenities and in particular security.
“We believe once these steps are taken all manner of militancy and restiveness in Niger Delta will become a thing of the past and President Yar’Adua will become a hero in the hearts of every Niger Deltan. With this development, we plead for the cessation of all forms of militancy and criminalities in the region, this is the only way we can demonstrate that we are truly appreciative for this bold step to ameliorate all the past neglects the region has suffered in the hands of the Federal Government. We do hope also that professional critics of this administration from the region will give the FG a little respite to fully articulate and implement its laudable programme for the region.
Finally, as we commend the Federal Government for the setting up of the Niger Delta Technical Committee we wish to disagree with the ten days allocated to the Committee to do its work. This time frame to us is not feasible and advisable if the Committee is to do a thorough, sound and acceptable job. In this regard, we are suggesting that the Committee be allowed to do justice to the assiduous task before them by granting it two months to articulate all the reports and come out with something sound and rationale.”
Also reacting to this development, the Rivers State AC Leader and member of the Niger Delta Technical Committee, Prince Tonye Princewill, stated that, “The creation of a Ministry of the Niger Delta was of course a cardinal manifesto commitment of AC in the last presidential election and is therefore a most welcome development.