Monday, September 16, 2013

Jonathan asks PDP to compile ministerial nominees list

Jonathan and Tukur
There are indications that President Goodluck Jonathan  had directed  the  Bamanga Tukur  faction of the Peoples Democratic Party to compile  names of its members for ministerial positions.

A member of the National Working Committee of the faction, who made this known to The PUNCH in Abuja on Sunday, said the directive was already being complied with.
 Jonathan, in his first major cabinet shake-up since his inauguration on May 29, 2011, had on Wednesday sacked nine ministers.
 The  sacked ministers  were  Prof.  Ruqayyatu Rufai (Education),    Okon Ewa-Bassey (Science and Technology),  Olugbenga Ashiru (Foreign Affairs),  Hadiza Mailafia (Environment),  Shamsudeen Usman  (National Planning),and  Ama  Pepple (Housing, Lands and Urban Development).
Also affected were   Olusola Obada(Defence), and  her counterparts in the Agriculture Ministry,  Alhaji Bukar Tijani, and  Power,  Zainab Kuchi.
The Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, had explained that the sacking  of the ministers had no political undertone but there were reports that  it  was fallout of the crisis in the PDP.
 The PDP  was  factionalised on August 31 when seven of its governors  formed  a faction, known as New PDP.
  The NWC member, who pleaded anonymity, said, “The President has directed the party to suggest names for the vacant ministerial slots. We have already asked  our state chapters to send their nominees to us. As  I talk to you, we are waiting for their nominees.”
It was gathered that in  states governed by  the seven governors in the New PDP, politicians loyal to the President, would nominate candidates for vacant slots.
In Rivers State, where Pepple lost her job, party chieftains, including the Deputy National Chairman of the Tuku-led  faction, Uche Secondus and the Minister of State for Education, Nyesom Wike, would play a role in getting her replacement.
In the South-West, there are two vacancies because of the removal of Ashiru and Obada.
It was gathered that chieftains of the PDP, Chief Olabode George and a financier of the party, Chief Buruji Kasamu, were expected to nominate candidates for the zone.
In Kaduna State, the southern part of the state would fill the vacancy created by the sack of  Mailafia.
In Niger State, it was learnt that a former military dictator, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida and an ex-Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, might nominate an indigene of the state to  replace Kuchi.
It was also gathered that, to fill the vacant ministerial slots, governors that were loyal to the President had been directed to  nominate candidates, if there were vacancies in their states.
The  PUNCH  learnt that the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Obong Godswill Akpabio, would nominate a chieftain of the party in the state to replace Ewa-Bassey, a native of the state.
When asked  to comment on the development, the PDP  National Publicity Secreary, Chief Olish Metuh, said, “That is not important. It is the  President that will choose whoever he wants to work with him to achieve his transformation agenda.”
The Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Joy Emodi, had on Friday said Jonathan was still consulting on the appointment of new ministers.
She had said, “He is still consulting. He will present the list to the National   Assembly as soon as he concludes  his  consultations.”
 Meanwhile, investigations on Sunday revealed that security reports were mostly responsible for the sack of the ministers.
A Presidency source told one of our correspondents that following the crisis in the PDP, the Presidency could no longer trust the affected ministers.
The   source said, “The ministers were nailed by security reports. Their telephone lines were bugged and they were being monitored for at least four months. It was discovered that they were no longer sincere with Mr. President, especially since the internal crises in PDP erupted.
 “Go and find out, no sincere government or President will tolerate a minister whose loyalty is in doubt. In the case of the affected ministers, they were having divided loyalties. First, to their state governors or the godfathers who nominated them and secondly to Mr. President.
“But by their functions, their loyalty to the President should be total and so the best option is to shop for people with committed loyalty and not divided loyalty.  This should be a serious lesson to any public servant; divided loyalty is never tolerated anywhere in the world.”
Efforts to get the reaction of the President’s Special Adviser on Political Affairs, Mr. Ahmed Gulak, prooved abortive as he could not be reached through his mobile telephone.
A civil rights organisation,  the Anti-Corruption Network, has, however,  described the sacking  of the ministers as vindictive.
The Executive Secretary of the group and former member of the House of Representatives, Dino Melaye, in an interview with  one of our correspondents, linked the sacking to the crisis in the PDP.
He said, “The sacking of the ministers is vindictive, petty and political.  It shows that President  Jonathan, like I have always said, condones, romances and promotes corruption. He spared all the corrupt thieves in his government, including those who are still busy enjoying their loots.
“The sacking  of these ministers is a cowardly reaction. The  former Minister of Education  was a nominee of the Jigawa State Governor. The  ex-minister of National Planning  is  from Kano State and it is because Jonathan wants to appoint a strong politician who will fight Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso in Kano State.”

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