At last, Osinbajo swears in new ministers

Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo signs

The long wait of the ministerial nominees cleared by the Senate three months ago has finally come to an end as they are being sworn in today by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo before the commencement of the regular meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

The nominees are Stephen Ocheni and Suleiman Hassan from Kogi and Gombe states respectively.

Ocheni is replacing James Ocholi who was killed in a motor accident while Suleiman is to take the place of Hajia Amina Mohammed who resigned to take up an appointment as the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations (UN).

There was confusion over their fates on Tuesday as the Presidency failed to confirm whether they would indeed be sworn in today.

When the news filtered out, the media team led by the Special Adviser to the President on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, only said it would happen sooner than expected.

The Senior Special Assistant on media and publicity to the President, Garba Shehu, said he had no information on the swearing in and vehemently denied confirming a news report on the matter.

However, the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on media and publicity, Laolu Akande, who was present at the news briefing but was quiet on the matter, confirmed in a tweet late on Tuesday night that the swearing in will indeed take place today.

Speaking shortly after administering the oath of office on the new ministers, Osinbajo expressed the Federal Government’s commitment to implementing economic reform programmes to make a difference in the lives and livelihood of Nigerians.

He said he expected the new ministers to join in the “Herculean task” of turning the economy around, noting that government was focused on its cardinal programmes of reviving the economy, creating employment and fighting corruption.

The Acting President stressed that a lot of progress had been made in the area of security, observing however that there were still a lot of challenges.

According to him, those challenges however pale into insignificant “compared to where we are coming from”.

He stressed government’s commitment to continue to support the war against corruption.

While noting that the new FEC members were capable, Osinbajo congratulated them and their, families and friends present at the ceremony.

There was a bit of drama when, after taking his oath, Ocheni set about to shake all the ministers seated in the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa but had to be dragged back by an official to enable to rest of the proceedings to go on.

Osinbajo announced that the new ministers’ portfolio would be disclosed later.


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