- As Jonathan swears in 11 ministers
By Ben Agande
ABUJA— The removal ofthe Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi, from office yesterday has been traced to his failure to openly associate with the political interests of the President in Kwara State.
Abdullahi, a former commissioner in Kwara State under the regime of former Governor Bukola Saraki may also have been dropped for his failure to openly disavow Saraki’s leadership of the state.
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, swore in 11 ministers and assigned them portfolios.
At the ceremony, which was witnessed by a large turnout of family members of the new ministers, President Jonathan charged the new ministers to see public office as public trust and to serve people without fear or favour.
The president also urged the new ministers to be innovative and creative and do things differently to bring positive changes to the administration, saying that if they fail to be innovative, their tenure would be deemed a failure.
The former Minister of Sports, Abdullahi, according to sources, had refused to openly associate with the new leadership of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, after Saraki and his followers defected from the party to All Progressives Congress, APC.
He was absent at the stakeholders’ meeting summoned by the state PDP caretaker committee, drawing insinuations of double loyalty from some political stakeholders in Kwara State.
It was gathered that the final straw that might have broken the camel’s back was the rally at the reception in Ilorin, where he failed to address the audience to reaffirm his loyalty to the PDP government. He was at the Emir of Ilorin’s palace when President Jonathan paid homage to the Emir.
The organisers of the rally did not recognise him and it was suggested that the failure to recognise him was due to assertions by his associates that he, Abdullahi, is not a politician but a technocrat.
During the swearing in, President Jonathan further stressed the need for the Ministers to work closely with one another, the permanent secretaries, directors and staff in their respective ministries, saying that there is a lot to be gained by galvanising the resources of their various ministries together.
The new ministers
The new ministers are Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro (Lagos), Minister of State Defence; Alhaji Mohammed Wakil (Borno), Minister of State Power; Alhaji Abduljelili Adesiyan (Osun), Minister of Police Affairs and Alhaji Aminu Wali (Kano), Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Others are Mrs Akon Eyakenyi (Akwa Ibom), Minister of Land, Housing and Urban Development; Mrs Lawrencia Laraba Mallam (Kaduna) Minister of Environment; Dr. Tamuno Danagogo (Rivers), Minister of Sports and Hajia Asabe Asmau Ahmed (Niger), Minister of State Agriculture.
Gen. Aliyu Gusau (Zamfara), Minister of Defence; Boni Haruna (Adamawa), Minister of Youth Development and Dr. Khaliru Alhassan (Sokoto), Minister of State, Health.