Shortly after they were sworn into office last week, Ministers have been making pledges they plan to fulfill while in office, report Rotimi Agboluaje in Ibadan, Patrick Osedebamwen in Abuja Emmanuel Eni in Ado Ekiti and Bisi Longe in Akure
“I am not unaware that Oyo State needs effective representation at the federal level. I want to assure you that I will serve as your eyes and ears. Whatever this state deserves from the Federal Government, we will get it.
“I promise not to let you down. I promise not let Oyo State down. I promise to always get in touch with you for advice. I will be a good ambassador of this state.’’ That was Barrister Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communications addressing his Oyo people when he rode into Ibadan, the state capital for a warming reception by the state governor, Abiola Ajumobi, APC party chieftains and well-wishers on Friday.
Oyo State residents, especially the progressive elements of the political elite were full of jubilations, exultation and excitement as the Shittu rode into political epicenter of the Yoruba nation, Ibadan at the weekend. Friends, well wishers, supporters and enthusiasts could not hide their joy for Barrister Abdulraham Adebayo Shittu who had just been sworn in by President Muhammadu Buhari as a member of the Federal Executive Council.
The minister who was received by the crowd supporters at the Ibadan Airport, Alakia, Ibadan on Friday, contrary to the insinuation that there is no love lost between him and the state governor, he headed to the Oyo State Governor’s Office where he met with Governor Abiola Ajimobi.
While receiving the minister who slugged out the All Progressives Congress governorship ticket with him in the party’s primaries held last year, Ajimobi expressed appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing a substantive minister for the state in the newly-constituted cabinet. He assured the Minister of Communications of the support of the people of the state.
The governor recalled that the state had for several years been having junior ministers but thanked God and the President for giving the state a full minister.
In the words of Senator Ajimobi: “We are indeed very grateful to Mr. President for giving us (Oyo State) the portfolio of a substantial minister after several years that we had been having junior ministers.
“Now that we have a substantive minister in a strategic ministry, it is our belief that our state will benefit immensely from it. I pledge to give you all necessary support as a worthy ambassador of Oyo State”.
Governor Ajimobi stressed that the minister should not be seen as representing Oke-Ogun zone of the state, where he hails from, in the federal cabinet but all other zones that made up the entire state.
The governor said he was impressed by the courage and carriage exhibited by the minister during his screening by the Senate, stressing that he was able to respond to the various questions raised by the senators to the best of his ability.
Besides, he said that he was equally happy with the disposition espoused by Shittu since his appointment, saying that this had put paid to the antics of the people bent on playing politics with his appointment to cause disaffection between them.
Speaking earlier, Shittu expressed happiness that he was coming home as the representative of the state in the Federal Executive Council.
The minister thanked the governor for his support, disclosing that he had had a longstanding relationship with the governor that predated his current status as the number one citizen of the state.
The minister also said that he would do everything possible to reposition the ministry and make it the nation’s cash cow.
“As a minister of the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,I will strive to do my best to uphold the dignity of man and make Oyo State proud as your representative. I am not a materialistic person and I do not aspire to be,whether now or in the future. This development in my career,definitely will do nothing to my age-long affinity with my people. Rather, it will heighten my resolve to assist more the needy ,the vulnerable and people living with disabilities in the state.
“The process of rebuilding must begin in earnest and we all must work together to build on the achievements of the last elections”,the minister said
Leaving the Governor’s office, Shittu who was the governorship candidate of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the 2011 elections headed to the APC secretariat where he was received by party officials and APC proponents with rapturous delight.
On Saturday, committee of friends in his honour organized a grand reception. The event, which took place at Kakanfo Inn, Ibadan, was graced by who-is-who in Oyo State political and social scenes. The dignitaries included Deputy Governor Moses Alake Adeyemo, Deputy Speaker of Oyo State House of Assembly, Musa Abdulwasi;a former governor of the state under whom the youthful Shittu served as the commissioner of information and culture, Dr. Omololu Olunloyo; APC state chairman, Chief Akin Oke; Hon. Olusegun Olaleye (Radical);Aare Alaasa of the Olubadan,Oloye Lekan Alabi and others. While Chief Lekan Are was the chairman on the occasion.
Speaking at the reception, Governor Ajimobi described Oke- Ogun people where Shittu hails from as loyal political allies. He cited an example of his deputy, Alake Adeyemo who he said is the most loyal deputy governor he had ever seen.
He described Shittu as a straightforward person, saying it is very unfortunate that people do not like straightforward people.
On his own, former governor of Ekiti State Dr. Kayode Fayemi who was handed the Minister of Solid Minerals, has promised that the current government frontally take on the battle with illegal miners in the country.
The ex-governor who was speakinh against the background of the dwindling oil revenue said the Federal government’s determination to diversify the economy has made it mandatory to ensure mining in done in consonance with due process and any illegal operator would be made to face the wrath of the law.
Speaking in Isan Ekiti, Fayemi said “the country had good prospect in the solid minerals sector, having 44 key minerals in about 350 spots across the 36 States of the federation.”
The minister said “the poor management of the sector in the last 55 years of Nigeria’s Independence brought about its low contributions to the economy.
He stated that “the Mining and Mineral Law 2007 initiated by former Minister, Dr Oby Ezekwesili while superintending over the ministry, vividly stipulated guidelines for the operators in the sector,” assuring that the “law will be strategically implemented to curtail illegality.”
Fayemi disclosed that “the solid minerals sector contributes 0.06 % to the country’s Gross Domestic Products,” stating that as much as he is not making a projection, “the Federal Government is desirous of raising the benchmark to 5 -10 % before 2019.”
The new Minister of Defence, Brigadier General (rtd) Monsur Dan-Ali promised to improve military welfare, and as well as resolve the nagging troops rotation problem, especially those involved in counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations against the Boko Haram in the North-east.
He was visible angry that some officers had been deployed to conflict zones on end without adequate plan to replace them once their stay too long. He therefore sought for a new method whereby no personnel should be allowed to stay in a conflict zone for more than one year
He said: “On troops rotation; gentlemen, let’s not take it as a joke. If the Chief of Army Staff were deployed in the front without seeing his family, how would he feel? So also the soldiers you are sending there? Please for God sake, let’s make it maximum, one year. I will ensure that it is my cardinal principle that no soldier… unless, it is not possible, exceeds the maximum of one year”.
Dan-Ali also called for accountability in procurement of arms and as well as cooperation amongst different military services and other security agencies.
He based his call on the government’s pledge to defeat the Boko Haram terrorists by year-end in December
“The APC has promised even before the coming of the Buhari administration that they would fight insurgency. The terrorists are on their way out. Even before the December deadline, they would be routed. I am not in doubt that Nigerian soldiers are the best and among the best in the one,” he said.
Dan-Ali repeated the popular integrity profile of President Buhari who had said plainly that he would fight to eliminate insurgency from the country. On this score the minister urged the officers and men of the armed forces to imbibe the spirit of integrity, honesty and transparency in their work, which he noted, is the hallmark of excellent leadership.
“Gentlemen, the military is all about leadership. The President is a military man and he had shown leadership. Whether you like it or not, the President is a military man and he has shown leadership. We, the followers must show leadership. And what is leadership if I may ask? Leadership is all about integrity, honesty and transparency.
“There cannot be a good leader without these three things. You cannot be a good leader if you do not have integrity. You cannot be a good leader if you don’t have honesty, so also, transparency. Forget about corruption. Corruption can never come near you if you have these qualities. So gentlemen, we should imbibe these three qualities,” he said.
Earlier, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin, who spoke on behalf of other Service Chiefs, described the appointment of the new Minister of Defence an inspiring “home-coming”
Speaking in the same vein, the newly appointed Minister of Interior, Lieutenant General Abdulraman Dambazau (rtd) pledge to swing into immediate action to ensure relative internal security in the shortest possible time. The minister however canvassed what he referred to as a people oriented human security approach to the existing state-centric security approach in the country.
Dambazau stated these Thursday evening in Abuja, at his inaugural meeting with directors in the ministry and Service Chiefs of para-military organisations under the ministry. From Akure however came a sour story of the newly appointed Minister of state for Niger Delta, Prof. Claudius Daramola who at the weekend shunned members and leaders of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Ondo State during a reception in Akure, the state capital.
The APC leaders including members of the State Exco, the State Working Committee and leaders from all the local government area of the state had waited for more than eight hours for the minister at the party secretariat Akure without setting eyes on him or hearing from him.
The minister, it was learnt had initiated the meeting on three different occasions but always fail to turn up.
Visibly angry members who arrived the party secretariat as early as 11am on Friday were later dispersed at about 4 pm by the Vice chairman of the party in the state , Engr, Ade Adetimehin after all efforts to reach the minister proved abortive as he was said to have switched off his phone.
A member of the Exco told newsmen that the meeting was organized so that it could serve as an avenue for the Minister to reach out to the members since his candidacy was not supported by majority at the initial stage.
He said what got them angry was that he did not call or send any message to explain his action.
“Some of these people travelled from far places to be here today and they will still go back, yet he did not even call and now his phone is switched off”, he said
Director of Media and Publicity for the party, Mr Steve Otaloro however apologized to journalists who were also there for hours waiting to cover the event.
Earlier in a congratulatory message to the Minister made available to journalists, the leadership of the APC said “we wishes to congratulate one of our own Professor Cladious Daramola on his inauguration and assignment as the Minister of State for Niger- Delta Development of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“There is no gainsaying that the Niger-Delta sector has experienced serious decadence in recent times and a holistic overhaul is needed at the moment to take the sector to its desired position.
The Publicity Director, Mr Steve Otaloro in a signed statement said
“This appointment of Prof. Daramola an indigene of Ondo State has also clearly shows that President Mohammudu Buhari recognizes the important position Ondo state has to play as the only oil producing state from the South-western part of the country.
“While thanking President Mohammadu Buhari for the confidence reposed on our son, Prof. Claudius Omoyele Daramola, we are to assure Mr President and the Honourable minister that the leadership and membership of our party in the state will support him and be available to lend him a hand of help whenever at all times”.
In a patriotic display of personal appreciation, the new Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, said shortly after he was sworn into office that he would strive to be the best minister in the Federal cabinet.
Mr. Onu, who spoke at a reception organised in his honour by Concerned Ebonyi State Indigenes, said his pledge was not limited to the current Federal Government but previous governments in the country
He said: “One assurance that I will always give you and I have said it repeatedly, is that as your son, I will never do something that you will be ashamed of.
“It is better for me to leave politics than for me to do something for my own selfish interest that will make you to be ashamed of your son.
“I will continue to act in a way that Nigerians will know that Ebonyi State is truly the Salt of the Nation.
“I want to assure you that I will make sure that I will be the best minister Nigeria ever had,” he stated adding that
“I want you to go home with these words: no nation from the beginning of time has ever become great without embracing science and technology.
“Science and technology will take Nigeria to a height unimagined today; we will do our best to be the instruments that Nigeria will use to get to that height. And I need your prayers; I need your support,” he said.