22 June 2006

Nigeria: President Swears in Five New Ministers, Reshuffles Cabinet

Abuja — President Olusegun Obasanjo on June 21, swore-in 5 new Ministers and announced a cabinet reshuffle in which three Ministers were redeployed.

The President while announcing the portfolios for the new ministers, emphasized that his administration that had been "leading a liberation struggle" needed "to continue to move forward so that we cover substantial distance before the change of baton."

The Ministers and their portfolios are as follows,

Chief Femi Fani-Kayode; Minister for Culture and Tourism.

Mr. Bala Kaoje; Minister for Sports.

Mr. Elias Mbam Minister of state for Finance.

Mrs. Salome Jankada Minister of State for Water Resources.

On the cabinet reshuffle, Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is to take over the Foreign Affairs Ministry from Ambassador Olu Adeniji. She will however, remained the chairperson of the Economic Management Team and would continue to carry out oversight responsibilities for the nation's external financial institutions and transactions.

Minister of State for Finance, Mrs. Nenadi Usman, was upgraded to Minister of Finance.

Minister for foreing Affairs Ambassador Olu Adeniji would now take charge of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Minster for Solid minerals Mrs Oby Ezekwesili is to take over the Ministry of Education from Mrs. Nora Chinwe Obaji. She will also continue to oversee the Ministry of Solid Minerals.

Minister of state for Education, Grace Ogwuche, is now to take charge of the Ministry of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs as a full minister.

The Chairman of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Malam Nasir el-Rufai, Obasanjo would also continue to supervise the Ministry of Commerce until two new ministerial nominees were cleared by the Senate.

The President in his remarks after the inauguration, reiterated the determination of his administration to continue to wage the liberation struggle; liberation from those things that have not worked in the past; liberation struggle from those things that have not helped this country; liberation from the cabal that has held this country to ransom in the past.

"It is a liberation struggle, and victory which is so close, will be achieved" he said

He emphasized that his administration is "in the mid-way of the land of transformation and has "made some substantial progress", noting that, "We still have a lot do to do in the time that we have left ahead of us. And there is no time to waste. Where did we start from? We started form the jungle of business as usual, anything goes".

"The morals of corruption and not many of the parastatals that we had were working. Where are we today? I would say that we are probably in the mid-way of the land of transformation. "But we must also bear in mind that there are many who would want to go back to the days of Egypt. God forbid. He added.

The president restated need to continue to work as harder at this stage adding that, "We have to keep on going because our destination is the land flowing with milk and honey. We have had obstacles in getting there and we are going to have obstacles as we go along".

"In fact, the faster that we try to move, and the closer we get to the point of change of baton, I believe the more obstacles that we will get. But no amount of obstacles in our way, by the grace of God, we will not be able to surmount"

In a related development, the Senate on June 21, confirmed the appointment of Dr. Aliyu Modibbo from Gombe State and Dr Leslye Obiora from Imo State, as Ministers of the Federal Republic.

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