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Obasanjo drops Defence Minister…Aguiyi-Ironsi’s son takes over

Posted by From LUCKY NWANKWERE and MOLLY KILETE. Abuja on 2006/08/31 | Views: 4753 |

Obasanjo drops Defence Minister…Aguiyi-Ironsi’s son takes over


President Olusegun Obasanjo on Wednesday dropped the Minister for State for Defence, Dr. Roland Oritsejafor. In his place, Ambassador Thomas Aguiyi-Ironsi, son of former Head of State, Major-General J.T.U. Aguiyi-Ironsi, was sworn in.

President Olusegun Obasanjo on Wednesday dropped the Minister for State for Defence, Dr. Roland Oritsejafor. In his place, Ambassador Thomas Aguiyi-Ironsi, son of former Head of State, Major-General J.T.U. Aguiyi-Ironsi, was sworn in.


Also sworn in was the former Director-General of the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Prof. Joy Ogwu as Foreign Affairs Minister.


Although no reason was given for Dr. Oritsejafor’s sack, Daily Sun gathered that the incessant crisis rocking the Niger-Delta region, where the former minister hails from, as well as the increase of militia groups in the area may have accounted for his removal.


Daily Sun also gathered at the Ministry of Defence in Abuja that the disagreement between the Minister of Defence, Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwanso and Oritsejafor may also have caused the sudden removal of the latter from office. Other sources, however, said that his removal may have been long overdue following petitions to the presidency by some of his kinsmen.


When Daily Sun visited the Ministry of Defence on Wednesday, staffers were seen in groups discussing the development.


The former minister, who was still in office up till 4.30 when Daily Sun visited, was said to be removing his personal belongings assisted by some of his aides, close associates and family members.
Oritsejafor, a medical doctor and pediatrician, may not have been aware of plan to remove him from office. He had come to the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday oblivious of what awaited him. It was gathered that few minutes before Ambassador Aguiyi-Ironsi was sworn in, presidential aides had called Dr. Oritsejafor aside and quietly informed him of his sack. He was subsequently advised to leave the council chambers.


Completely bewildered, the sacked minister shook a few hands and left, clutching his files and documents he had brought to the meeting.


On Tuesday, in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, Oritsejafor had flagged off the training workshop for selected health personnel on the rudiments of managing the HIV/AIDS scourge in the armed forces, a programme sponsored by the United States President, George W. Bush.


Speaking on Oritsejafor’s removal, Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mr. Frank Nweke, said that the president needed not make a public announcement of his decision to drop any of his ministers. He said it was at the president’s discretion to effect some level of balance in the representation of states in the federal cabinet.


Oritsejafor hails from Delta State as Prof. Ogwu. Retaining him as minister would have meant that Delta occupies three ministerial slots as the current Minister of Police Affairs, Chief Broderick Bozimo also hails from Delta State.


 

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