No Portfolios For 2 Newly Sworn In Ministers


Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has not assigned portfolios to the two new ministers sworn into President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet on Wednesday.

The two new ministers, Stephen Ocheni (Kogi) and Suleiman Hassan (Gombe), were expected to be assigned portfolios during proceedings at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, but that didn’t happen even as at the time of filing this report.

It was not clear whether the actingpresident was reserving the responsibility for President Muhammadu Buhari to handle himself, having been the one who nominated them in the first instance.

Both ministers were nominated, following the vacuum created by the death of former Minister of State for Labour and Employment, James Ocholi, as well as former Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, who was appointed as Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations.

While swearing them in at about 11a.m inside the Council Chambers, Osinbajo had told the cabinet members that Ocheni and Hassan’s portfolios would be announced during the FEC proceedings.

However, when the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting, he kept mum on the portfolios of the two ministers.

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When asked what portfolios were assigned to the ministers, he simply said,” it will be announced shortly”.

The development may have heightened speculations of a minor cabinet reshuffle when President Buhari finally returns.

Although it was expected that Ocheni and Hassan would naturally occupy the offices left behind by their predecessors.

Meanwhile, Osinbajo has tasked the two new ministers to focus on the concepts outlined in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan(ERGP).

He also told both ministers to be diligent in the discharge of their duties.

He said they must explore ways of assisting the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in surmounting some of its challenges which cuts across security and corruption.

“We welcome you to the Federal Executive Council (FEC), where you have just been sworn in from being ministerial nominees to ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“From this moment you will join the Federal Executive Council and will sit in our meeting this morning. So you will not have time to celebrate much this morning. You will have full meeting today.

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“The FEC is one that is committed to the very far reaching reform programme of this government. That reform programme is contained in our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

“We have to focus our attention on key areas of the 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 live better for the citizens.

“Besides the economy, we have two key areas highlighted by the president during the course of the campaigns which have become centre pieces of our administration’s programme – security and the anti-corruption fight.

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“We expect that members of FEC will focus on these key areas as well. We have of course made tremendous progress in security, we have issues and challenges here and there but they are very minor compared to where we were coming from and we are tackling them on a day by day basis.

“On the anti-corruption fight, we are focused, 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, where there is honesty and integrity service will be delivered,” Osinbajo told the ministers.

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Hamilton Nwosa

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