Usman, Odey, Madueke moved in Yar’Adua’s team
The exercise in which President Umaru Yar’Adua moved some of the old ministers around, ended months of speculations about the shape of the cabinet.
There were no surprises, except for the appointment of NAFDAC boss Prof. Dora Akunyili as Information and Communications minister. The Ministry of Health, which she was tipped to head, went to Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin.
For the first time in the last eight years, a substantive Minister of Petroleum was named. He is Dr. Rilwan Lukman.
Seven ministers retained their positions; one was uplifted and 10 were moved to other ministries.
Former Governor of Kebbi State Adamu Aliero, a Senator, is to head the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Ministry of Defence went to Dr. Shettima Mustafa, Police Affairs, Dr. Ibrahim Y. Lame, Education, Dr. Sam Egwu, Special Duties, Senator Ibrahim Kazaure and Minister of State (Power), Mr. Nuhu Way.
The Ministry of Transport is to be run by Mr. Ibrahim Isa Bio, Sports, Mr. Sani Mohammed Ndanusa, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Senator Bello Jibril Gada, Foreign Affairs 1, Alhaji Jibril Maigari, Minister of State, Information and Communications, Alhaji Ikra Aliyu Bilbis, Ministry of Aviation, Mr. Babatunde Omotoba and Ministry of Women Affairs, Mrs. Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman.
Those who retained their positions are the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Michael Andoakaa, Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources Abba Ruma, Minister of State, Finance, Remi Babalola, Minister of Interior, Godwin Abbe, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ojo Maduekwue, Minister of State 11, Foreign Affairs, Bagudu Hirse, Minister of Petroleum, State, Odein Ajumogobia and Minister of Youth Development, Senator Akinlami Olasukunmi and Minister of State, Education, Hajia Aishatu Dukku.
A.B Zaku, who until yesterday was Minister of State for Science and Technology, is now the substantive minister.
Felicia Njeze and Demola Seriki swapped positions from Ministry Defence to Agriculture and Water Resources.
Other Ministers moved are: Adetokunbo Kayode from Culture and Tourism to Labour, Mrs. Deziani Allison- Madueke from Transport to Mines, Steel Development, Lawal Hassan from Labour to Works and Housing and Shamusideen Usman from Finance to National Planning. Grace Ekpewere is moved from Science and Technology to minister of state, Works and Housing, I and Hong from Culture and Tourism to Health in the same position.
President Yar’Adua urged the new ministers to see their appointments as a call to service and not an opportunity for self-enrichment.
While enjoining the old ministers to establish definitive performance benchmark, President Yar’Adua also warned that the administration’s policy on corruption remains zero tolerance.
He said: "Nineteen months into the life of our administration, it is with a deep sense of appreciation of the challenges that lie ahead that I welcome onboard the newly sworn-in members of the Federal Executive Council this morning.
"In the same breadth, I welcome the old Executive Council members to a new dispensation – one which scrupulously demands pro-action, establishes definitive performance benchmarks, and insists on effective service delivery, strict adherence to due process, and unwavering focus on the policy objectives of this Administration as encapsulated in the Seven-Point Agenda.
"These are the minimal standards that will guarantee continued membership of the Executive Council of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
"While congratulating you all, I would like to admonish that you see your appointment at all times as a sacred call to national service and not an opportunity for self-aggrandizement or the pursuit of narrow, selfish interests. The task of nation building and national transformation calls for honesty of purpose, sincerity, consummate diligence, and unmediated commitment to the national cause. The people of this nation demand no less from each and every one of us. Our every act must be guided by the highest standards of integrity and the fear of God.
"I must reiterate our Administration’s total abhorrence of corruption in all its ramifications and our insistence on absolute compliance with established rules, regulations and procedures in the conduct of all government business. Any proven case of corrupt practices or non-conformity with the rule of law and constitutionality will be visited with the strictest sanctions.
"In this period of stark economic realities at home and unprecedented global economic challenges, we all must begin to think out of the box, recommit to the ideal of prudent and judicious application of resources, and stay faithful to the principles of value for money, transparency, accountability, and the rule of law.
"As you honestly and diligently discharge of your respective duties as Honourable Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, you can be assured of my full confidence, unstinting support, and guidance at all times. In the days ahead, you shall be fully acquainted with the detailed mandate which each of you will be expected to meet as dictated by your portfolio. Ultimately, I expect that this Council will function as a compact, effective, efficient, and focused team of patriots committed to the repositioning and transformation of our nation."