President Muhammadu Buhari’s assignment of portfolios to the ministers, who resumed duties, Wednesday, elicited mixed views in the polity. While some hailed the distribution of the ministries among the component parts of the country and expressed optimism that the team would drive the president’s change agenda, others thought otherwise. Indeed, the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, took a swipe at President Buhari, saying the portfolios given to some of the ministers did not in any way inspire confidence that the All Progressives Congress, APC-led government wants to pursue change.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, the PDP, however, urged the ministers to urgently settle down for business and concentrate on the economy. According to PDP, the present administration has so far played heavily on what it termed, dramatizing routine procedures and processes, which was even glaring in the prolonged swearing-in ceremony of the ministers.
Metuh said, “The much-expected assignment of portfolios to the ministers did not inspire confidence that there is indeed any change being introduced in the system. With the inauguration, the APC administration should fully resolve the issues on the actual position of the nation’s economy and the direction therein. Whereas President Muhammadu Buhari had announced that the nation is bankrupt to the extent he cannot pay his ministers, his new Minister of Information had contradicted him directly by stating how the government is buoyant and ready to deploy $2.5 billion infrastructure fund, saved N1.4 trillion with another N2.5 trillion ready as special intervention fund, which goes to say that the country is not actually broke.
“These new ministers should note the challenge before them regarding the image of the country which the APC government has changed from being the ‘Heart of Africa’ and a country of ‘Good people, Great nation’ to that of ‘Corrupt people, Broke nation’. Furthermore, we counsel the ministers, especially those who will be the face of the government, to note that the campaigns are over. Nigerians, therefore, will no longer condone propaganda, lies and deceit but expect a responsible dissemination based on truth, honesty and openness”.
Also yesterday, former Minister of Power, Professor Barth Nnaji, urged the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, to concentrate on transmission process of the power sector because of its constraints. Speaking to journalists shortly after he appeared before the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee on Power, Professor Nnaji said: “I know that Fashola is an excellent administrator and manager. I can imagine what Lagos State used to be like before he became governor and what it is now. It comes with dedication and that is what we need in this country.” A former chieftain of the National Democratic Coalition, Chief Chuba Egolum, okayed President Buhari’s handling of the ministerial appointments and distribution of portfolios and disagreed with those who said that the South-East has been short-changed.
“Devoid of sentiments, Igbo didn’t get it right in the last election. Our strategy was wrong. We put all our eggs in one basket. I won’t join the bandwagon of those complaining about the appointment. Those who expect juicy political appointments for the South-East have misplaced expectations. What did the South-East do towards the election of President Buhari? If he gave us juicy appointments what about those who worked for his election? Appointment is the exclusive preserve of the President. We can fight for even spread of projects not appointments.
Speaking in like manner, the Ndigbo Cultural Society of Nigeria (NCSN) congratulated President Buhari for appointing Ndigbo with worthy ministerial portfolios which compliment the appointments of Federal Permanent Secretaries. NCSN President, Chief Udoka Udeogaranya, in a statement said “these recent conducts by President Buhari indicated that the president is beginning to re-write himself from an earlier posture of sectionalism into a worthy national posture.”
Meanwhile, Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has congratulated former governor of the state, Dr Kayode Fayemi, over his appointment as Minister of Solid Mineral, urging him to use his position for the commercial exploitation of the abundant solid mineral resources in the state. The governor in a statement issued in Ado-Ekiti by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, said President Buhari must have considered the need for commercial exploitation of the solid minerals spread across towns and villages in Ekiti State before arriving at the choice of Fayemi as Solid Minerals minister.
Fayose spoke as Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital, erupted in celebration over Fayemi’s new position. As early as 8 am, live bands were stationed at the APC secretariat along Ajilosun Street as party members and supporters trooped in, waiting for the inauguration and allocation of portfolio to the former governor. Crowd of supporters at the secretariat spilled over to the main road along the busy Akure-Ado Ekiti road as they went into jubilation when news broke that Fayemi had been named the Minister of Solid Minerals, the sector the President has marked out as the second golden egg of the nation’s economy after oil.