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President Olusegun Obasanjo has sworn in a new cabinet, in which a World Bank vice president has been named finance minister.
President Olusegun Obasanjo has sworn in a new cabinet, in which a World Bank vice president has been named finance minister. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was sworn in at the ceremony late Wednesday as the new finance minister while another woman, Esther Usman, is her deputy.
Oluyemi Adeniji, a career diplomat, had last week been sworn in as foreign minister. He accompanied Obasanjo to the African Union summit held in Maputo. His deputy in the foreign ministry is Samaila Saidu Sambawa. A former governor of northern Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, was assigned the defence portfolio while the former head of the nation's state-run privatisation agency, Nasir El-Rufai, was sworn in as minister of federal capital territory. Chukwuemeka Chikelu is the new information minister.
Speaking to 33 members of the cabinet after they had taken the oath of office, Obasanjo said his administration is ready to take "hard and tough" decisions in its bid to rebuild the nation. Nine other ministerial nominees who have either not been cleared by the senate or have not been assigned their portfolios will be sworn in later. Obasanjo nominated the ministers last month. "This administration has a daunting task before it. And I am determined in the next four years to turn around the fortunes of this great country for good," Obasanjo said.
Some of the challenges before the administration are the revival of the economy, strengthening of the educational sector, revival of social and economic infrastruture, provision of good health care, alleviation of poverty, generation of employment, provision of adequate security, fight against corruption and construction of a dynamic foreign policy, Obasanjo said. "Hard and tough decisions will have to be taken and implemented. You cannot have an omelet without breaking an egg. You just have to accept that if we are going to move this country. We cannot do things the way we are doing them before. Because if we continue to do them the way we were doing them before, we will remain the way we were before," he stated. "History will judge us harshly if we fail," he told the ministers. The previous 49-member cabinet was criticised as having under-performed.
List of 33 ministers sworn in by President Obasanjo
This is the list of the 33 ministers. Nine posts remain to be filled. Ministers who served in Obasanjo's first government (1999-2003) are marked "returns".
1. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala - Finance
2. Nenadi Esther Usman - deputy Finance
3. Idris Waziri - Commerce
4. Cornelius Adebayo - Communications
5. Franklin Ogbuagwu - Culture and Tourism
6. Rabiu Kwankwaso - Defence
7. Rowland Oritsejafor - deputy Defence
8. Fabian Osuji - Education
9. Bintu Ibrahim Musa - deputy Education
10. Broderick Bozimo - Police Affairs
11. Bala Mande - Environment
12. Nasir El-Rufai - Federal Capital Territory
13. Oluyemi Adeniji - Foreign Affairs
14. Saidu Balarabe Samaila - deputy Foreign Affairs
15. Olutayo Lambo - Health
16. Alice Mobolaji Osomo - Housing and Urban Development
17. Chukwuemeka Chikelu - Information
18. Iyorchia Ayu - Internal Affairs
19. Abubakar Tanko - deputy Internal Affairs
20. Husseini Akwanga - Labour
21. Lawan Gana Guba - African Affairs
22. Franklin Nweke - Special Duties
23. Turner Isoun - Science and Technology (returns)
24. Odion Ugbesia - Solid Minerals (returns)
25. Musa Mohammed - Sports and Social Development
26. Precious Sekibo - Transport
27. Mohammed Musa - deputy Transport
28. Muktar Shagari - Water Resources (returns)
29. Adamu Bello - Agriculture (returns)
30. Bamidele Dada - deputy Agriculture
31. Rita Akpan - Women Affairs and Youth
32. Adeseye Ogunlewe - Works
33. Saleh Shehu - deputy Works