BY DANIEL IDONOR
ABUJA – PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan, Thursday, sworn-in 13 of the 18 newly appointed Special Advisers with a charge on them to live above board in their areas of assignment.
Speaking at the swearing-in ceremony of 13 of the 18 newly appointed Special Advisers, President Jonathan stated that given the citation of the aides, he was confident that he would not be the one to advise them.
He reminded them that government’s challenges are quite enormous, saying that “if you have been following the papers, you will know that Nigerians expect so much from us. As Special Advisers, you are expected to be more knowledgeable in the area that you will advise than even Ministers, in most democracies that is what it is supposed to be”.
President Jonathan said “I am still reserving my speech, I want to have a comprehensive speech for the government when we finish the last oath maybe next week or thereabout but for today, let me congratulate all of you that have been brought on board to work with us”.
“Let me share a joke with you that a friend recently told me when I was talking about Special Advisers; he admonished me and said, Mr. President, ‘I hope you will not appoint Special Advisers that you will advise’. But from your citation, I am quite sure that I am appointing Special Advisers that will advise me and not those I will advise. So I congratulate you”.
Fielding questions from State House Correspondents, the newly sworn-in Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati disclosed that his immediate assignment will be to provide reporters and editors with an unhindered access to information at all times, so as to end the age-long reporting of the presidency and government based on assumption.
According to Abati, “my assignment is very simple, to assist reporters and editors to do their jobs better in having access to facts, in a manner in which it will enable them understand this presidency. This is a presidency that is committed to the idea of transparency, accountability and collective ownership of major issues at stake. In my view, these will be areas of my engagement”.
Also speaking newly promoted Special Adviser on Research and Strategy, Dr Oronto Douglas, promised to contribute his quota to the Jonathan/Sambo transformation agenda, “for the interest of Nigerians; the present generation and Nigerians of generations to come”.
According to him, It is going to be a team work. All Nigerians would have to work together to move the nation forward.
He noted that “the distractions maybe there, the cynicism maybe there but as we move forward step by step, block by block we will be moving in the interest of all Nigerians and for the good of all Nigerians of the present and generations to come”.
They were sworn-in after the State House Permanent secretary, Dr Dauda Jallo, had recited their citation.
Those sworn-in are Mr. Oronto Douglas, Special Adviser to the President on Research and Strategy; Senator Joy Emordi, Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters; Prof. Dan Adebiyi, Special Adviser to the President on Special Duties; Mrs. Sarah Jibril, Special Adviser to the President on Ethics and Values; Mr. Bashir Sufyan, Special Adviser to the President on Legal Matters (Office of the Vice President); Senator Isaiah Ballat, Special Adviser to the President for Special Duties (Office of the Vice President).
Also sworn-in are Mr. Kingsley Kuku, Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs; Dr. Pius Olakunle Osunyikanmi, Special Adviser to the President on International Relations; Dr. Asma’u Abdulkadir, Special Adviser to the President on Gender Issues and Dr. Rueben Abati, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity.
Others are Dr. Tunji Olagunju, Special Adviser to the President on NEPAD; Nze Sullivan Akachukwu Nwakpo, Special Adviser to the President on Technical Matters and Mrs. Sarah Akuben Pane, Special Adviser to the President on Social Development.