17 January 2013

Nigeria: Defence, Power - At Last, Jonathan Nominates Turaki, Nebo

President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday forwarded the names of Kabiru Tanimu Turaki (Kebbi) and the former vice-chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Professor Chinedu Nebo (Enugu), to the Senate as ministerial nominees.

Also, the president nominated Alhaji Suleiman Barau and forwarded his name to the Senate to be confirmed for re-appointment as deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The duo of Turaki and Nebo would fill the ministerial slots of Kebbi and Enugu states that became vacant with the removal/resignation of former minister of defence Dr Haliru Mohammed and former power minister Professor Barth Nnaji. In a letter read on the Senate floor yesterday at the resumption of plenary, the president premised his action on Section 147(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended. He however appealed for prompt attention to their nomination and the confirmation process.

On the re-nomination of Barau, Jonathan said his decision to re-appoint him is in line with the provisions of Section 8(1) and (2) of the CBN Act, 2007.

The two ministerial positions have been vacant for eight or five months, thus eliciting calls for the slots to be filled.

Obada absent from office

The minister of state for defence, Erelu Dr Olusola Obada, who reportedly slumped at the National Arcade, Abuja, during the laying of wreath in honour of the nation's fallen heroes was absent from her office yesterday.

The minister was prevented from falling down by the military top brass she was standing with during the ceremony. However, her hat fell but she was able to quickly adjust and continue with the programme.

Although no official reason was given for the incident, observers agreed that it might have to do with the fact that she was standing with the service chiefs for two hours before the arrival of President Goodluck Jonathan.

At the Ministry of Defence yesterday, the incident was the talk of the town.

A middle-aged staff member said the minister was not in the office either due to the embarrassment caused by the incident or the fatigue she suffered on the occasion.

"The minister did not come to the office today [yesterday] and no reason was given, but some people were saying this might be as a result of the embarrassment of the incident especially her photographs that were published by one newspaper or maybe she was very tired as a result of the whole programme. I must commend her since the programme began in November; those involved had not found time to rest and you know she is a woman. If I could remember, this is the first time a woman would be playing that role," he said.

Another staff of the ministry said, "I heard she was asked to take her time to see her doctor. " Another member of staff however said she was having a meeting with the president atthe State House. All her visitors were reportedly asked to come the next day.

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