The Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Wednesday finally inaugurated Stephen Ocheni (Kogi) and Suleiman Hassan (Gombe) as ministers over two months after their nominations were confirmed by the Senate.
The inauguration took place inside the Council Chambers of the National Assembly at the commencement of the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council.
Shortly after administering their oaths of office on them, Osinbajo announced that their portfolios would be announced “shortly.”
He said there would be no celebration for the new ministers as he directed them to join their colleges for their first FEC meeting.
The Acting President described the FEC as one that is committed to the reform programmes of the Federal Government as contained in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
Osinbajo said, “We have focused our attention on key areas of that economic recovery plan and we believe those key areas are things that need to be done to make a difference in the Nigerian economy and in the lives of Nigerians.
“Time and time again we have continued to emphasise the need for ministers to pay particular attention to all the areas that we have highlighted in the economic plan.
“President Muhammadu Buhari decided to task ministers with specific functions and so we expect our new ministers to be part of this Herculean task in turning around the Nigerian economy and making life better for the citizens.
“Of course you know that aside from the economy we have two key areas highlighted by the President during the course of the campaigns and have become centre pieces of our administration programme – security and the anti-corruption fight.”
The Acting President said the government expected FEC members to focus on the key areas as well.
“We have of course made tremendous progress in security. We have issues and challenges here and there but they can’t be compared to where we are coming from; very minor indeed and we are tackling them on a day-by-day basis.
“On the anti corruption fight, we are focused and we believe that the primary thing is for those of us who have the privilege of serving to ensure that by our own point and actions we support the anti corruption fight and also that our conducts will be exemplary so that we will show by practice not just by words that we are determined to ensure that this country is run by a good government. And where there is honesty and integrity service will be delivered,” he added.
It will be recalled that the House of Representatives had on July 11 handed down a seven-day ultimatum to Osinbajo to inaugurate the ministers whose names were forwarded to the Senate by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Osinbajo had failed to inaugurate the ministers since Buhari left the country for London, United Kingdom where he is currently receiving medical attention.
The slots of Kogi and Gombe States in the federal cabinet had been vacant following the death of the Minister of State for Labour, Mr. James Ocholi (SAN), in an accident on March 6, 2016; and the appointment of former Minister of the Environment, Amina Mohammed, as the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.