Ministers take charge, unveil agenda

The 43 new ministers, who were sworn-in by President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, have taken charge of their respective ministries, with some of them expressing optimism on delivering on their mandates.

Among the new ministers, who reported at their duty posts immediately after they were sworn-in include Godswill Akpabio (Niger Delta), Zainab Ahmed (Finance), Lai Mohammed (Information and Culture), Ogbonnaya Onu (Science and Technology), Suleiman Adamu (Water Resources), Sunday Dare (Youth and Sports Development) and Sabo Nanono (Agriculture).

Others are Adamu Adamu (Education), Emeka Nwajiuba (Minister of State for Eductaion), Timipre Sylva (Minister of State for Petroleum), Paulen Tallen (Women Affairs), Muhammed Abubakar (Environment), Hadi Sirika (Aviation), Clement Agba (Budget and National Planning) and Niyi Adebayo (Industry, Trade and Investment).

Education: Excitement as Adamu, Nwajiuba resume

At the Ministry of Education, it was excitement, following the reappointment of Mallam Adamu. Members of staff, who were clustered around television sets, jumped and screamed with joy when President Muhammadu Buhari mentioned Adamu’s portfolio.

Adamu resumed after his inauguration with the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajuiba at about 2:45pm. The duo were received by the excited staff led by the Permanent Secretary, Sonny Echono and some directors in the ministry.

Adamu who applauded Echono and directors of the ministry for their support during his first stint in office, noted that he and the former Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Anwuka, had worked hard to put together the Ministerial Strategic Plan (MSP 2016-2019) to the point of implementation before their tenure ended on May 2019.

Adamu noted that Nwajiuba who until his appointment as minister was Chairman, Board of the Tertiary Education Trustfund (TETFund), had abandoned his doctorate programme to serve in the cabinet of President Buhari as minister.

Nwajiuba, who also spoke, said he was at home at the ministry. “I am comfortable that I do not have to go to another ministry, but here with my elder brother at the Ministry of Education, so that I can be tutored and well directed.”

Industry, Trade and Investment: Adebayo, Katagum tasks staff on commitment

At the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, the minister, Otunba Niyi Adebayo and his Minister of State counterpart, Mariam Katagum, pledged to work as partners in order to realize President Buhari administration’s Next Level agenda.

Adebayo, who particularly tasked staff of the ministry to be committed to their duties, said: “We are in the ministry to achieve result and we will work out work plan to move the ministry forward in terms of economic growth and job creation.”

Earlier, Katagum commended President Buhari for finding them worthy for the appointment and promised to work vigorously to achieve her mandate.

Budget and National Planning: Agba sets target for 2020 budget

Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mr. Clement Agba, who also assumed duty, yesterday, said getting 2020 fiscal budget ready before the National Assembly next month (September) is his top priority.

To realise his dream, he called for the cooperation of the ministry’s staff, pleading that they all join forces with him in realising the target.

He said: “Meetings are already scheduled. It is quite understandable reading the mood of Mr. President. He had made it very clear to us. There is a whole lot of work to be done and he needs the budget to be before the National Assembly in September.

“That means for this ministry, in particular, we do have a lot of work to do. And I can say that we have a lot of capable hands to do the work. The only way we can succeed is for us to work together. I believe in the power of team. For me, the word ‘team’ means together everybody achieves much.”

Women Affairs: Tallen promises better days ahead for women

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Newly-appointed Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Paulen Tallen, has assured of moving the ministry to the next level, saying that President Buhari has reasons for sending her to the ministry.

Tallen, who gave the assurance at the ministry’s headquarters, noted that President Buhari is aware of complains by women of not being carried along by his administration. She, however, stated that the President has better plans for women and all citizens.

“This is a holistic ministry as the woman takes care of the home, children and husband. I’m giving you all a charge that things will be done different henceforth, but we must set out targets and work towards achieving them. We must make history and make indelible marks on the sands of history.

“You have severally bombarded Mr. President about the role women played in his political career. He is not unmindful of that and I want to assure you that he has a very good reason of sending me to this ministry,” she said.

Petroleum Resources: Sylva promises to move ministry forward

Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, who also resumed work yesterday, pledged to work with experts at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), departments and agencies under the Ministry to move the sector forward

Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Folashade Yemi-Esan and other heads of parastatals and agencies under the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, received the minister on his assumption of office.

Other heads of agencies present to receive the minister, who was accompanied by his wife, were Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Training Development Fund (PTDF), Dr. Bello Aliyu Gusau and Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF), Alhaji Ahmed Bobboi.

Niger Delta Affairs: Akpabio assures on laudable programmes 

Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, assured the readiness and determination of the ministry under his leadership to bring to fruition, the dreams of President Buhari for the people of the Niger Delta.

Akpabio who stated this during a meeting with the management of the ministry, shortly after his inauguration, specifically thanked the President for deeming he and Barr. Festus Keyamo fit to be part of the Next Level agenda of his administration.

“Let me, on behalf of my brother Mr. Keyamo and the people of Niger Delta region, thank Mr. President for the confidence reposed in us to deliver on his laudable programmes for the people of the region. Mr. President by this appointment has handed over the destiny of our people into our hands and by the special grace of God we will not fail.

“We have a very big task before us. The task is not insurmountable and we will surely deliver. We will put in our best to make you and Nigerians proud,” he stressed.

Finance: Ahmed says expansion of portfolio double task

The fusion of Budget and National planning as part of the Ministry Finance has doubled the task of ministry, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning stated yesterday on assumption of duty.

She said the expansion of the portfolio to include budget and national planning was attestation of a good work by entire members of the ministry, who toiled hard to save the nation from slip into fiscal crisis.

“The President has just doubled our assignment. We got this assignment because of the quality of work that we have produced. Ministry of finance has one of the best cerebral civil servants that we have today.

“That we have been re-matched with the ministry of budget and national planning, is also a very weighty responsibility that has been given to us. As you know our nation is facing a near fiscal crisis, and it is up to us to make sure that it is arrested and ensure that we don’t slip into a crisis.”

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“We have been growing in eight consecutive quarters, but it is a growth that is still fragile. Our revenues have grown, but they are still 55 per cent from what we have budgeted. We still have to pay salaries and other statutory obligations. We have to pay debts and we also need to operate on a day-to-day basis, and we need to do capital projects for the sustained growth of our economy,” she said.

Information and Culture: Mohammed calls for cooperation among staff

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has charged staff of the ministry to cooperate and work together to achieve greater things.

Mohammed gave the charge during his maiden meeting with staff of the ministry on assumption shortly after his inauguration by President Buhari.

His words: “First of all, we need to give thanks and gratitude to Almighty Allah that made it possible for me to be re-appointed and also posted back to this ministry.

“My charge to all of us is to collaborate, redouble our efforts and work together so that we can justify the confidence that the President has reposed in us. We need to cooperate and work hard.

“Our goal is to leave a lasting legacy at the ministry. At the retreat, the President reiterated the need for ministers to work amicably with their permanent secretaries and chief executive officers of all the parastatals,” he said.

Science and Technology: Onu directs workers to begin 2020 budget preparation

The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, has directed workers in the ministry to begin the 2020 budget preparation, to attain January- December budgetary cycle.

Onu, who gave the directive at a meeting with the permanent secretary, Ddirectors and heads of parastatals and agencies under the ministry, also charged the workers to align with the vision of the Federal Government to return budget to normal cycle.

Onu who occupied the same position in the immediate past administration said the President expected them to put into proper use, any money allocated to the ministry. “We must work together as a team to achieve our mandate,’’ he said

The minister pledged to operate open door policy and urged the workers to work with the newly inaugurated Minister of State, Mohammed Abdullahi.

Also speaking, Abdullahi called for the support from the workers to advance the development of science and technology in the country. He said he was assigned to work with Onu to achieve the transformation agenda of the government.

Water Resources: Adamu pledges to reposition ministry’s roadmap

Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, has pledged to re-position the ministry’s roadmap, geared towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) six for quality water and sanitation in the country.

Adamu gave the pledge when addressing member of staff as he resumed office at the ministry. He said repositioning was critical as the roadmap was expected to give direction to water quality in the country.

“I want to assure you that I will put the Federal Ministry of Water Resources back on the roadmap. We are going to reposition the ministry on the roadmap through our collective efforts.

”I am result oriented and I just want to see results, so I will urge you all to put more efforts in your duties. I also want to assure you that every department in the ministry will be given a fair hearing. I will maintain an open door policy,” he said.

Environment: Abubakar assures good working relations

Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abubakar, yesterday, assured Nigerians and staff of the ministry of good working relations and effective protection of the nation’s environment.

Abubakar gave the assurance while addressing staff of the ministry as he assumed duty. He said that environment generally was a sensitive area because it was all about people and their behaviours, adding that it must be protected to prevent spreading of diseases.

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“Most people don’t know the importance of environment, I want to let them know that everything about environment is about people and when the environment is not healthy, nothing else is healthy.

“I know much about the ministry even before the name was changed; I already have good relationship with the ministry. So, we should all know and believe that everything about environment is life and that particular life must be protected,’’ he said.

He also welcomed Mrs. Sharon Ikeazor, who was also appointed as a Minister of State for the ministry. He said that the Ikeazor had been a committed person, adding that cordial working relationship would help the ministry achieve it mandates and objectives.

Ikeazor, while appreciating the minister and the staff, she said that she would put all her best to achieve the goals of the ministry. She said that she would ensure that all the agencies and departments of the ministry would bring out the best for the betterment of the ministry and the country at large.

Aviation: Sirika promises to tackle emerging challenges

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has promised to work with aviation unions to advance the sector and position it to meet emerging challenges. .

The minister commended the unions and staff for welcoming him warmly into office, declaring their support and solidarity as “amazing.”

“I promise that there will be good understanding between you and me to drive the activities 0f our industry towards enhancing national development. I will do everything possible to make the ministry grow up.

“This task, I think, is for you as well; not for me alone. It is for all of us. We will continue to hold stakeholders meetings with the unions, staff and the management. We will make what you are doing better. The roadmap is there; we will make things better including your welfare,” Sirika said.

Agriculture: Nanono warns against indiscipline

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, has warned that he will not tolerate indiscipline and lackadaisical attitude to work as a minister.

While directing all staff to be on their toes working, he said: “I have worked in the public and private sectors and I know how people work in the two sectors.”

He that he would hit the ground running in the discharge of his duties to ensure that agriculture took its pride of place because it was critical to internal security.

He noted that agriculture was one of the most critical sectors in the country and that given the necessary attention; it would help solve many of the nation’s challenges.

“For a number of reasons, people tend to downplay agriculture because they do not know its importance to national development,’’ he said.

Interior: Aregbesola says knowledge of ministry is newspaper based

The newly-inaugurated Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has said that his knowledge of the ministry does not transcend newspapers materials.

The former governor of Osun State was quoted as confiding this in top officials of the ministry shortly after his swearing-in by President Buhari.

Accordingly, Aregbesola was said to have directed the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs. Georgina Ekeoma, to oversee affairs, pending his assumption of office on Monday, August 26.

“My relationship with the ministry is distant. What I know about the ministry is what I read in the newspapers. I will come to take over on Monday. I give the Permanent Secretary the grace to run the ministry till then. We will be ready by Monday to take on the huge assignment. I promise you a realistic, reasonable and commendable leadership,” Aregbesola said.

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