By Soni Daniel, Regional Editor, North & Caleb Ayansina
President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, sacked the Minister of Youth Development, Inuwa Abdulkadir, from his cabinet.
A statement from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Pius Anyim, did not give reasons for the sudden termination of Abdulkadir’s appointment.
The statement, signed by Mr. Sam Nwaobasi, Special Assistant on Media to the SGF, directed him to hand over to the Permanent Secretary in his office with immediate effect.
It said: “President Goodluck Jonathan has relieved Inuwa Abdulkadir of his appointment as Minister of Youth Development with effect from August 26.
“The former Minister is to hand over to the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Youth Development.
“Mr. President expresses appreciation to the former Minister for the time he put in the services of the nation and wishes him success in his future endeavours.”
Vanguard learnt from reliable government sources that the sack of the minister, while on an official assignment in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, took him and his staff unawares.
It was learnt that the relationship between Jonathan and the sacked minister went sour shortly after the controversial election of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, NYCN, which produced one Yakubu Shendam, against the wish of majority of the members.
After the election in May, many groups, sympathetic to President Jonathan’s re-election in 2015, reported Abdulkadir to the President, accusing him of imposing a candidate of his choice on them.
In spite of the protest by pro-Jonathan groups, the minister was said to have stood his grounds that Shendam remains the new leader of NYCN.
In defiance of the protest, Abdulkadir on May 28 formally received Shendam and some members of the council in his office as the newly-elected executives of the council.
Consequently, other aggrieved youth groups met in Benue and called for his removal for allegedly causing crisis rocking the council.
It was alleged that the minister’s role in the council’s crisis strongly indicated that Abdulkadir had been an ‘infiltrator’ in President Jonathan’s cabinet.
The youths said: “With this action, the Minister has shown the entire world that he lacks the integrity to still continue as the Youth Minister in a government that preaches adherence to the rule of law and prides itself as government of transformation.
“The action of the minister was an aberration and a deliberate attempt to incite the entire Nigerian youths against the government of President Goodluck Jonathan, having considered the challenging security situation in Nigeria.
“We have refused to be provoked and to go on the street as civilised youths of this great nation.
“We humbly appeal that President Goodluck Jonathan should, with immediate effect, relieve the minister of his position since he has been disconnected from the president’s Transformation Agenda in the management and administration of youth development activities in Nigeria.”
National Assembly’s angle
Apart from falling out of favour with the youths, the sacked minister is reported to have lost touch with members of the National Assembly Committee on Youth Development shortly after being appointed into the cabinet.
Vanguard investigation also revealed that the minister did not enjoy a smooth working relationship with the member of the National Assembly.
He frequently clashed with members over the implementation of projects earmarked for the ministry.
For instance, the Senate Committee Chairman on Women Affairs, Social and Youth Development, Senator Helen Esuene, alongside other members of her committee, discovered some discrepancies between figures got from the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation and those submitted to it by the ministry in connection with the funds released to the ministry for the 2012 budget.
The committee noted with displeasure that the figures said to have been released and spent by the ministry was not commensurate with the level of work on the grounds and asked the ministry to justify it.
Esuene said: “If out of 42 youth centres budgeted for, we have at least 10 to 15 of them completed, it would have been a better result to present. But none has been completed and so the youths are not being trained.”