Ministers on the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday stormed the courtroom as tribunal rules on the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate Atiku Abubakar.
They include Minister of Labour and Productivity, Senator Chris Ngige; Minister of Works and Housing, Raji Fashola, Minister of State for Niger Delta, Festus Keyamo; Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami.
Also present in court is President Buhari’s Chief Of Staff, Abba Kyari who was a witness for the president at the tribunal.
Some state governors were also in attendance. They include Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu; Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, among others.
The main opposition party Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is also represented as the Chairman, Uche Secondus is in attendance. Adam Oshiomhole, national chairman of the APC was also in the courtroom filled with many other top individuals.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday swore in 43 ministers into his cabinet and assigned their respective portfolios. Popular economist, Tilewa Adebajo in reaction says the cabinet is ‘heavily political.’
In an interview on Channels Television, Adebajo, who is also the CEO of CFG Advisory said the government needs to run with a clearly defined economic goal to revive the nation’s economy.
“This is a heavily political cabinet with ex-governors and ex-senators dominating. What is more important now is for the government to put together a clearly defined policy that will stimulate growth in the Nigerian economy,” he said.
Adebajo also stressed that economic indicators are negative and the nation’s economy might be heading for recession if the Federal Government does not go back to the drawing board.
“With the way Nigeria’s economy is going if caution is not taken, as the CBN has said we will be heading for a recession.
“The key economic indicators are not very positive. Right now, we are about over $70billion in debt. We are using 65% of our revenues to service debts, clearly, this is not sustainable.
“It is important that the government take a look at its economic recovery growth plan.”
The need to revamp Buhari’s administration’s economic plan is vital. Adebajo added that there is a need for the government to tell Nigerians their plan on how the economy will be handled.
He said, “What we need is a plan that can grow the economy.”
The National Chairman of the UDP and National Secretary Coalition for New Nigeria, Chief Godson Okoye has said that the ministers designate were not asked the right question during the ministerial screening.
Chief Okoye who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, stressed that, “The key question that anybody that should be a Minister of Nigeria should be asked was not asked! And that is, ‘where is your family?’ going by the wordings of the old book, ‘wherever a man’s treasure is, that’s where his heart is’ and of course I should believe every man’s treasure should be his family.”
Okoye stated that the only way the public institutions can be driven is to ensure that the drivers of those institutions have a personal feeling of what they are doing.
“We must make public institutions work. And the only way they can work is that the operators have a personal feeling of what they are doing. If they don’t have that personal touch and they are just like garbage in garbage out, none of them will move anywhere. There should be something that makes them believe that this can get to them,” Okoye stressed.
The UDP Chairman added that “There is need for massive improvement, there is need for massive expansion in a whole lot of places. Most of these things are driven from the home, everybody talks about discipline, when people are not disciplined from home, that’s how we create the problems that we are seeing”.
Okoye noted that the public institutions must work for the good of the masses.
“These public institutions must work, because any society that cannot protect and provide for the poor that are many, cannot provide for the rich that are few,”he said.
The President has directed the incoming ministers to channel all requests for meetings with him through his Chief of Staff, Mr Abba Kyari.
President Muhammadu Buhari gave the directive on Tuesday at the end of the Presidential Retreat for ministers-designate, presidential aides and other top government functionaries at the State House in Abuja.
“In terms of coordination, kindly ensure that all submissions for my attention or meeting requests be channelled through the Chief of Staff, while all Federal Executive Council matters be coordinated through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF),” he was quoted as saying in the speech published by his media adviser, Mr Femi Adesina.
The President reminded the appointees of the task ahead of them and urged the new ministers to engage and benefit from the experience of their colleagues who serve in his cabinet during his first tenure.
According to him, the service to the nation is not easy work and can be unappreciated at times.
President Buhari asked all the incoming members of his cabinet to see the opportunity to serve as an honour and give their best to deliver on the mandate.
He also stressed the need for working collaboratively and purposefully to achieve quicker results, adding that four years should not be seen as a very long time.
In a separate statement, Mr Adesina noted that the two-day retreat came to an end with a charge from the President to the ministers-designate to rise to the challenging responsibilities of the office.
The final day, according to him, kicked off with a presentation on Cabinet Processes and Procedures, by the SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha.
This was followed by a presentation by the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, on aligning government policies with the ideology, manifesto and campaign promises of the ruling party.
Subsequent presentations touched on budgeting, civil service reforms, public procurement, the relationships between ministers and permanent secretaries, and effective partnerships between executive, legislature and state governments.
In his remarks, Mr Mustapha announced the introduction of a new Cabinet Memorandum Review and Approval Process.
According to him, this is aimed at improving the quality and efficiency of government decision-making and policy implementation, as well as increasing coordination and coherence within the government.
The ministers-designate will be sworn in on Wednesday, August 21 at the State House, after which they will be allocated portfolios by the President.
Read the closing speech by the President at the event below:
CLOSING CHARGE BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AT THE PRESIDENTIAL RETREAT FOR MINISTERS – DESIGNATE, PRESIDENTIAL AIDES AND OTHER TOP GOVERNMENT FUNCTIONARIES, HELD AT THE STATE HOUSE, ABUJA, TUESDAY, 20TH AUGUST 2019
After two days, we have come to the end of a successful retreat. However, you will agree that our work is just beginning.
These last two days have been very instructive for me personally, because I have had the opportunity to know many of you new ministers-designate better. I was also pleased to see that you have all equally enjoyed debating and deliberating on the various challenges before us over the next four years.
Ladies and gentlemen, majority of our people are poor and are anxiously hoping for a better life. A Nigeria in which they do not have to worry about what they will eat, where they will live or if they can afford to pay for their children’s education or healthcare.
Our responsibility as leaders of this great country is to meet these basic needs for our people. As I mentioned yesterday, this Administration inherited many challenges from our predecessors to mention a few:
A country in which 18 local governments in the Northeast were under the control of Boko Haram;
Decayed infrastructure in which our rail lines and roads had severely deteriorated;
A rent-seeking economy that depended largely on oil revenues and imports;
Significant unpaid pensions, subsidy debts, legacy contractor debts. I can go on and on.
In our first term, we laid the foundation to rebuild our country. We recaptured those 18 Local Governments previously held by Boko Haram, whose activities are now limited to sporadic attacks against soft targets.
Our investments in road and rail infrastructure are without precedent, and many of you can attest to this. We also focused on diversifying the economy from oil towards agriculture and industrialisation.
Despite reduced revenues from oil and gas compared to past governments, we have broadly addressed many of the legacy debts they left behind.
Whilst we have obvious successes to celebrate, the challenges ahead are significant as you would have observed in detail over these two days.
Nevertheless, from the quality of the deliberations, it is clear that solutions to our problems are well researched and have been well articulated.
We have discussed solutions relating to addressing insecurity; macroeconomic stability; agriculture and food security; energy security for petroleum products and electricity; transportation and critical infrastructure; industrialisation and SME development; human capital development; social inclusion; anti-corruption; housing financing and consumer credit.
Public service is not easy work, and at times it can be thankless. I am, therefore, charging you all to see this opportunity to serve as an honour, to give your best to deliver on this mandate, for a more prosperous Nigeria, not for some, but for all Nigerians.
You will find that working collaboratively and purposefully will enable us to achieve quicker results, recognising that four years is not a very long time.
For the new ministers, make sure you engage and benefit from the experience of the older ministers and former governors in the cabinet.
In terms of coordination, kindly ensure that all submissions for my attention or meeting requests be channelled through the Chief of Staff, while all Federal Executive Council matters be coordinated through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
I would like to thank the Office of the SGF for coordinating this successful Presidential Retreat. I would also like to thank the National Assembly leadership, the party chairman, chairman of the Governors’ Forum, and resource firms, for the active engagements and contributions.
Once again, the challenges that lie ahead of us as a country are significant. But I have no doubt in your individual capacities and our collective patriotic commitment to deliver a better Nigeria for us, our children and a brighter future for all.
Thank you and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday challenged the ministers-designate to live up to the tasks ahead of them.
According to him, this is in line with the efforts of his administration in addressing the numerous problems facing the country.
The President believes Nigeria has the solution to challenges if the leaders at various levels pay attention to the opportunities in their environment.
He noted that the nation’s population has an estimate of close to 200 million and the United Nations has also projected Nigeria’s population by 2050 to be about 411 million, just behind India and China.
“These are frightening prospects, but only if we sit idly by and expect handout by so-called developing partners. The solution to our problem lies with us,” he said.
President Buhari urged the ministers-designate to grasp the opportunity they have with their hands and put in their best effort to support good governance.
He also asked them to brace up for the task ahead, saying his administration remains committed to the well-being of the citizens.
He added, “Nigeria, today, needs strong managers to handle our new numerous challenges. There will be long hours and you must be prepared to live laborious days if we are to serve our people optimally.”
The President spoke at the Presidential Retreat for Ministers-Designate in Abuja, ahead of the inauguration of members of his cabinet.
Earlier, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, gave the welcome address at the gathering.
The event had in attendance the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, and the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan.
Also present included the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, and other party leaders among others.
It would be preceded by an induction retreat to be presided by the President and would last two days.
Meanwhile, the ministers-designate have collected their study guide and other government documents at the office of the SGF.
They also did their documentation ahead of the retreat.
Shortly after the inauguration, President Buhari is expected to assign portfolios to them and over the first meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) since his inauguration for a second term.
Read the full statement below:
INDUCTION RETREAT AND SWEARING-IN PROGRAMME FOR MINISTERS-DESIGNATE
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, invites all Ministers-Designate, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, federal permanent secretaries and top government functionaries (specifically invited) to a 2-day induction retreat to be presided over by His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the retreat earlier publicised has been rescheduled as follows:
Date: Monday, 19th – Tuesday, 20th August 2019
Time: 9:00am daily
Venue: State House Conference Centre, Presidential Villa, Abuja
The objectives of the retreat include the following:
Build a strong platform for synergy and teamwork
Sensitise appointees on the status of the implementation of policies, programmes and projects of government from 2015-date
Acquaint the appointees with the roadmap for delivery of government’s priorities and Next Level agenda (2019-2023)
Deepen the understanding of participants on best practices in conducting government business
The swearing-in of all Ministers-Designate by the President shall hold as follows:
Date: Wednesday, 21st august 2019
Venue: Federal Executive Council Chambers
Attendance at both events is mandatory and strictly by invitation.
Permanent Secreatary, Cabinet Affairs Office
Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation
The screening of ministerial nominees by the Nigeria Senate has entered into Day two.
Senate President Ahmed Lawan commenced the screening by calling the first nominee to be screened today to the podium. He is Senator Tayo Alasoadura from Ondo State.
Senator Ope Bamidele, however, raised a point of order stressing that Alasoadura who is a Former Senator for Ondo Central District should not be exempted from enjoying the privilege of take a bow and go.
Bamidele said members of the public must take note that former legislators are entitled to this privilege.
Mustafa Baba Shehuri
The next nominee screened is Mustafa Baba Shehuri, the immediate past Minister of State for works. He was asked to take a bow and go after a few comments were made concerning him by some lawmakers.
Abubakar Aliyu, the immediate past deputy governor of Yobe State also took a bow and left after giving a little biography of himself.
Despite not being a former lawmaker, he enjoyed the privilege to take a bow and leave without being questioned.
This was after the Senate President pointed out that he is a competent nominee and should be allowed to take a bow and go.
Major General Bashir Salihi Magashi
Major General Bashir Salihi Magashi from Kano State was questioned by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege to tell the House what he will do differently if he finds himself to serve in the capacity of Defence Minister.
He was also asked how he will tackle the challenge of banditry and insecurity if he finds himself in the position of Defence Minister.
In response he told the House that if he is confirmed as Minster and he finds himself in the position of Defence Minister, he will ensure that rules are obeyed, procedures are followed and things are done in an appropriate manner.
Former Bayelsa State Governor, Timipre Sylva told the House about his exploits as a former governor and that he initiated the amnesty programme.
He was also asked to take a bow and go after the Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe said Sylva should be made to enjoy the privilege as a former governor and former member of Bayelsa House of Assembly.
Ramatu Tijani from Kogi State made a brief presentation telling the House about herself. She also spoke concerning the less privileged and that of the girl child. She promised not to let them down the womenfolk and the whole House generally if confirmed as Minister.
She was also asked to bow and go after the Minority Leader, Abaribe said she should be allowed to go because the House is gender-sensitive and supportive of women.
The next nominee is the former governor of Ekiti State, Niyi Adebayo. He was also asked to bow and go after reading his biography to the House. Some of the lawmakers in their remarks described Adebayo as reliable and competent.
Ambassador Zubair Dada from Niger State answered a question on how the NOA can be repositioned to make it a more effective agency. According to him, members of NOA staff needs to be given the motivation they need to make it a more effective agency.
He added that the activities of NAMSA need to be resuscitated so they can reach out to those at the grassroots.
Senator Chris Ngige from Anambra State briefly addressed the House. He said he didn’t have much to say but to express gratitude to the House for the accepting him to come back and be screened as a minister once again.
He also appreciated the House for passing the Minimum Wage Bill so that the lowest Nigerian worker will earn N30,000. He was later asked to bow and go.
Abdullahi Hassan from Nasarawa State in his address said public service is about sacrifice.
Senator Abdullahi Adamu while contributing to the discussion supported Hassan’s nomination describing him as the youngest ministerial nominee from the zone. he also described him as a competent and experienced candidate.
The next nominee is Sunday Dare from Oyo State. At the moment, he is the Executive Commissioner (Stakeholder Management) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). In his address, he thanked the Senate Committee for screening him for the position in 2016.
Reacting to how he would curb kidnapping using sim card should he be assigned the Minister of Communications, Dare noted that arresting the abduction menace requires collaborative efforts.
According to Dare, his ministry in collaboration with the NCC will fight kidnapping by tracking phone calls made, alongside the Sim Registration Database.
Mohammed Bello, a 60-year-old ministerial nominee from Adamawa State, is a Business Administration graduate from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He is the immediate past Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Shortly after his introduction, the Senator representing Adamawa North, Senator Ishaku Abbo, moved the motion for Bello to ‘take a bow and go.’ The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan thereafter adopted the motion and the nominee was asked to take a bow and go.
There was mild jubilation in the Senate when Sadiya Farouq, the Zamfara State ministerial nominee, in her opening remark said her political career started in the Fourth Senate with her office ‘upstairs.’
Having listened keenly, the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan called on the Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe to speak on the behalf of the lawmakers.
In a comic show, Abaribe who represents Abia Central asked Farouq to take a bow and go, having begun her career in the National Assembly.