Yar’Adua names ministers for Finance, N’Delta, others
By Ihuoma Chiedozie, Abuja
Published: Wednesday, 24 Dec 2008
President Umaru Yar’Adua on Tuesday inaugurated four new ministers at an emergency Federal Executive Council meeting in the Council Chambers of the State House in Abuja.
Former Director-General of the Debt Management Office, Dr. Munsur Muhtar, was deployed to the vacant position in the Federal Ministry of Finance as minister, while former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Ufot Ekaette, was named the Minister of the new Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
Also, former Imo State Governor, Chief Achike Udenwa, was made Minister of Commerce and Industry, while another nominee, Mr. Olanrewaju Babalola, was deployed as Minister of Power.
Speaking after the swearing-in, Yar’Adua explained that currently, only two vacant slots remained in the cabinet.
They will be filled by two nominees currently awaiting clearance at the Senate.
The President reiterated an earlier warning on the ministers to avoid corruption and to live up to expectation.
He said, “Six days ago, we swore in your colleagues, and with your swearing in today, this exercise is nearly completed, save for two ministerial nominees that are still with the Senate for clearance.
“At that time, I charged the newly sworn in ministers to recognise the times we are in and the challenges this country is facing.
“We have evolved for ourselves a clear vision which is Vision 20/20-20 and clear programmes in the seven-point agenda to guide us towards the realisation of this vision.
“Now the current executive council has the enormous responsibility and burden to begin with a serious work to lay a solid foundation for the accomplishment of this vision.
“And I believe and I have confidence that all four of you will do your best to ensure that we work towards the accomplishment of this vision.”
He advised the ministers to be guided by “honesty, transparency, accountability, fear of God and hardwork in the discharge of public office, and the total abhorrence of corruption in public conduct both in office and our personal conduct because we need to set exemplary standards as leaders.”
“I have confidence in your ability and your determination to do your best, and I can assure you that in doing your best, you have my support,” he told them.
Yar’Adua also reminded the ministers of the need to be guided in the conduct of their functions by the oath of office they took at the inauguration.
The President wished the ministers merry Christmas celebrations, and also a happy New Year in advance.
Speaking to journalists later, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Ekaette said the new ministry would be sited in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, with branches in the Niger Delta states.
Competent, qualified staff would be recruited from all parts of the country, without prejudice to their state of origin, he added.
Ekaette appealed to the people of the Niger Delta, particularly the militant youth, to reciprocate the President’s gesture by showing restraint.
He said Yar’Adua was sincere and determined to ensure a lasting solution to the protracted problems in the region.