- Category: Politics
- Published on Thursday, 26 May 2011 08:36
- Written by Admin
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PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has asked ministers to stay on in office, contrary to widespread expectations that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) would be dissolved on Wednesday.
According to the Minister of Information and Communications, Labaran Maku, who briefed State House correspondents after the meeting, the president had not dissolved the cabinet but gave no reason.
He said: “The last Council meeting has been held but the executive council remains; it has not been dissolved,” but added that the meeting took stock of the activities of government in the last year and concluded that programmes initiated within the period were geared towards national transformation.
He said: “In this last session, Council took a look at the running of government in the last four years and members of Council offered their views on anything of interest to the nation.
“The discussions round the table took place and most ministers offered their views and expressed themselves about their experiences in government, about their experiences in working with the president and about their experiences in serving the people of Nigeria since their appointments as ministers.”
Meanwhile, President Jonathan has expressed heartfelt appreciation to all his personal aides and their spouses for their sacrifice, dedication and service during the past four years.
He was speaking during a ‘thank you’ lunch he hosted for all his aides at State House on Wednesday.
Jonathan said “the primary reason for hosting you all here is to express my appreciation to you for the dedicated service you rendered over the past four years,” adding, “I want to specially thank your spouses, who endured your long absences during the long hours we worked in the State House.”
Speaking earlier, the Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe, said that the privilege of serving the nation in the capacities granted to the aides by the president had enabled them all to see “the simplicity, patience, humility, diligence, strong character and desire for perfection” of President Jonathan, as well as learn a new focus in public service and good governance.
Meanwhile, intense lobbying and intrigues appear to be going on at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, ahead of the constitution of a new cabinet by President Goodluck Jonathan, as the struggle for plum jobs in the presidency has reached top gear.
Specifically, the battle for the office of the Chief of Staff to the President has become fierce among close associates of the president, as there are strong indications that the current occupier of the office, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe, is on his way out of the Presidential Villa.
Already, an impeccable source told the Nigerian Tribune in confidence that Oghiadomhe, who is already aware of his likely exit from the Villa, had commenced a fence-mending mission to some close confidants of the president, to stave off an ‘outright exit’ from government circles.
But the source said President Jonathan might appoint Oghiadomhe as an envoy to what he called “a Grade A country.”
There were unconfirmed reports that the current Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, had been suggested to the president as a possible replacement for Oghiadomhe, even as Petroleum Affairs Minister, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, was said to have mobilised a lobby team, made up of top players in the oil and gas sector, for her to be appointed the next Chief of Staff.
However, the names of both Oghiadomhe and Alison-Madueke were missing on the list of 10 nominees sent from their states for consideration for federal appointments.
“The issue of appointments has reached a very high point; those who will go and those who are likely to return is beginning to be clear by the day, even if no one knows the thinking of the president.
“But one thing very clear is that he (Oghiadomhe) may not return as Chief of Staff to the President, perhaps Oga may consider him for ambassadorial positing to a grade A nation, but surely, there are too many unclear issues which the president is desirous of stopping.
“Maybe as time goes on, the situation will be clearer because some very close associates of the president are already suggesting to him to appoint the Niger Delta minister, who, they believe, performed tremendously before, during and after the presidential election.
“The office needs someone who will be well equipped to organise it for optimum output because that is the last gatekeeper in the presidency, who relates with policy makers at times on behalf of the president; in this case, a very cordial relationship with governors, ministers and other appointees is very key and not just a parting gift to an associate; that is where the problem of the man lies,” the source said.
However, a dark horse, who has been a very loyal and reliable aide of the president, may emerge as Oghiado-mhe’s successor in the unfolding political drama at the presidency, it was gathered.
The aide, a lawyer, was said to be very sound and could be counted upon to secure the office of the COS.“The police boss should have taken time off to visit the scene where three of his men, including two senior officers, were killed in cold blood after they were lured into a supposed peace meeting. For the IGP, no assignment can be more important than the well-being of the men and women who serve in the force,” ACN said.
The party traced the disgraceful behaviour and classic cases of indiscipline by some men of the police and the military, which led to the Badagry killings, to the belief that policemen and soldiers had become used to turning their guns against innocent civilians, with little or no consequences for the killers.
“Hundreds of Nigerians have been killed or maimed by policemen and soldiers, with most of them getting away with the murder.
This is why they are now emboldened to turn the guns, given to them by taxpayers to protect the people, against themselves.
“Had the leadership of these forces taken concrete measures to stop extra-judicial killings by their men, the incident in Badagry would not have happened.
“The latest killings have been played up because policemen and soldiers are involved. We must do everything possible to stop extra-judicial killings, whether the victim is a Molue driver or an Army General,” it said.
The ACN challenged the leadership of the police and the military to act urgently to ensure that the senseless killings in Badagry were never repeated, and to also take measures to ensure that their men behaved like their counterparts in other climes.
“If the only thing that comes out of the Badagry killings is that innocent Nigerians will never again be mowed down in cold blood by trigger-happy policemen and soldiers, those who were killed in that moment of madness will not have died in vain,” the party said.
Meanwhile, the death toll in the fire incident at a section of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipeline in the outskirts of Sapele, Delta State, allegedly ruptured by suspected fuel thieves, has risen to 22.
Security sources told the Nigerian Tribune, on Wednesday, that the casualty figure was based on the bodies recovered so far and the one given by the villagers around the scene.
“They said two more bodies were recovered and that means the casualty figure must be around 22 by now. Anyway, rescue work is still going on, after which we will know the actual number of dead people,” the source said.
The fire incident, which occurred at about 7.00 a.m on Tuesday, close to Eko-Ovwore-Amukpe community in Okpe Local Government Area, also destroyed nearby settlements.
At the time of filing this report, billows of smoke were still emanating from the scene of the fire incident, located in a swampy area close to River Ethiope, while officials of the NNPC, firefighters and policemen were battling to control the raging fire.
Delta State Police Public Relations Officer, Charles Muka, confirmed that the fire was yet to be put out by Wednesday night, but that the casualty figure had not been ascertained. (Tribune)