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« You cannot try me over foreign account, Gov Kalu tells Code of Conduct Tribunal | Main | New role for monarchs underway, says Mr. President »

July 14, 2005

As Obasanjo Reshuffles Cabinet... Ministers Under Probe for Corruption

Olujimi, Chikelu, Yuguda, 7 others dropped

President Olusegun Oba-sanjo yesterday in Abuja disclosed that investigations are still going on the bribe-for-budget scandal to determine which other ministers apart from the sacked Minister of Education, Prof. Fabian Osuji, induced members of the National Assembly to jack up their ministry's budget.

From Josephine Lohor in Abuja and Hammed Shittu in Osogbo, 07.14.2005

Obasanjo made the disclosure while swearing-in 11 new ministers at the State House, Abuja, an occasion he used to fully unfold the new shape of his cabinet. The cabinet reshuffle swept away 10 ministers, brought in 11 new ones and saw six redeployed to new ministries.
The President while commenting on the bribe-for-budget scandal yesterday said he believes "very strongly that there are other (ministers) that are involved."

"The other time, I said look, after the then Minister of Education was exposed, I said was there anybody else? Nobody came out to say that he was also involved. So, I am still trying to find out because I believe that there are others who are involved who are not sure that they were involved. I believe that very strongly," he said.
He added that "what ever any minister is given in the budget that is what will be passed."

President Obasanjo, in his speech at the swearing-in, urged his new cabinet to redouble their efforts as they were now running the last race and there was still a lot to be done.

He said “earlier this morning, while I was characterising the stage we are now to a relay race, I said in a two-term of four years each, if you take two years as a lap, we are now on the last lap. And if you are running a relay race, the anchor man in the last lap is very important because you put the person who can run fastest and endure”.
He added that “we want to finish the race in top form and gear and we expect you to carry the baton to the finishing line. If you can get 25 hours out of a day, I will demand it from you. If you will work at the weekend, I will demand it from you. We are on the last lap and the baton is in your hand”.

While empasising that the Ministers must redouble their efforts as more would be demanded from them, the President stated that “on a serious note, we have a lot of work to do. The results have started to show, so you must feel encouraged that our labour has not been in vain. It normally takes efforts to get to a pinnacle, but it requires a lot of effort to remain at the pinnacle because when you are on the pinnacle, you are seen by everybody and whatever you do is in full glare of everybody. For that reason, you cannot be spectator because people are looking at you and the steps that you take must be right because any false step would be so glaring”.

The President did not however, forget to “commend those of you old hands for the contributions they have made to the success we have made so far. From the Vice President, down to Mrs. Obaji who is the newest. Those of you coming in, you have people to emulate."

He also asked friends, family and loved ones of the new ministers to help them by not making “impossible demands from them. If you ask them to give you money that they do not have, you would be asking them to go into corruption and if they do, they will pay for it."
"Please, help them, so that they can perform their work effectively and efficiently and the honour would be long-lasting and the glory would be for all of us," he said.

Also, shortly before mentioning the portfolios of the ministers, President Obasanjo stated that “for me, there is no inferior ministry or superior ministry. We have that, I do not know what to call it in this country. Every ministry is important."

Ministers that were dropped from the new cabinet are Chief Chukwuemeka Chikelu, information; Isa Yuguda, Aviation; Colonel Bala Mande (rtd), Environment; Obong Rita Akpan, Women Affairs; Alhaji Sale Shehu, Minister of State, Works; Ms. Funke Adedoyin, Minister of State, Health; Elder Odion Ugbesia, Solid Minerals; Engineer Mohammed Musa, Minister of State, Transport; Binti Ibrahim Musa, Minister of State, Education and Chief Akin Olujimi, Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation.

The special assistants who were relieved of their positions included Mr. Chris Mammah, Alhaji Lawal Batagarawa, Brig. Gen. Jafaru Isa (rtd), Barrister Beni Lar, Shima Ayanti, Chief Rochas Okorocha and Mr. Dako.

Ministers who were redeployed are Mr. Frank Nweke from the Ministry of Special Duties, Youth Development and Inter-Govern-mental Affairs to Information and National Orientation; Professor Babalola Borishade, Minister of State for Power and Steel to Aviation as Minister; Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, from Internal Affairs to Environment and Colonel Musa Mohammed (rtd), from Sports to Special Duties.

Others are Alhaji Saidu Sambawa from Minister of State Internal Affairs to Ministry of Sports and Social Development and Ambassador Magaji Abdullahi, from Industry to Internal Affairs.

The portfolios of the 11 new Ministers who took their oath of office yesterday are Mrs,. Helen U. Esuene, Minister of State for Health; Mrs. Obiageli Ezekwesili, Solid Minerals; Hajiya Maryam Ciroma, Women Affairs; Dr. Joseph Odidi Itotoh, Minister of State, Internal Affairs; Honourable Ahmed Abdulhamid, Minister of State, Power and Steel; Chief Bayo Ojo, Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation and Halima Tayo Alao, Minister of State for Education.
Others are Dr. Rahman Mimiko, Minister of Housing; Sir Fidelis Tapgun, Minister of Industry, Dr. Edmund M. Daukoru, Minister of State in the newly created Ministry of Petroleum and Mallam Yahaya Abdulkarim, Minister of State for Works.

Ministers who retain their portfolios are Dr. Okonjo Iweala (Finance), Mrs. Nenadi Usman (Minister of State, Finance), Senator Liyel Imoke (Power and Steel), Chief Cornelius Adebayo (Communications), Dr. Abiye Sekibo (Transport), Mallam Adamu Bello (Agriculture), Bamidele Dada (Minister of State, Agriculture), Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe (Works), Ambassador Idris Waziri (Commerce), Ambassador Franklin Ogbuewu (Culture and Tourism), Alhaji Muktar Shagari (Water Resour-ces), Alhaji Bashir Awotorebo (Minister of State, water resources), Professor Eyitayo Lambo (Health) and Ambassador Olu Adeniji (Foreign Affairs).

Others are Abubakar Tanko (minister of state, Foreign Affairs), Nasir el-Rufai (Federal Capital Territory), Broderick Bozimo (Police Affairs), Musa Rabiu Kwankwaso (Defence), Roland Oritsejafor (minister of state, Defence), Mrs. Chinwe Obaji (Education), Dr. Hassan Lawal (Labour and Productivity), Ambassador Lawal Guba Gana (Integration and Co’operation in Africa) and Prof. Turner Isoun (Science and Technology).

Meanwhile, facts yesterday emerged in Osun State on how Dr. Kingsley Kolapo Akinroye was dropped by the President from the newly constituted cabinet.

THISDAY reliably gathered in Osogbo on wednesday that the president acted on a petition written by some groups in the state.
The petitioners stated that the Senatorial district where Akinroye hails from, has gotten more than its fair share in the distribution of offices in the state.

Akinroye hails from Apomu, Osun West Senatorial District.
Apart from Akinroye, both PDP state chairman, Alhaji Ademola Rasaq, and the newly appointed PDP national deputy chairman (South West), Senator Yinka Omilani all hail from Osun West.

Posted by Publisher at July 14, 2005 10:53 AM


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