Acting President Osinbajo swears in two new ministers

Nigeria’s Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has sworn in Professor Stephen Ocheni and Mr. Suleiman Hassan as new ministers in the Nigerian cabinet.

The two ministers were confirmed by the Senate in May, this year, following their nomination by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Ocheni, from Kogi State, North Central Nigeria, takes over from the late Mr. James Ocholi, who lost his life in an accident last year, while Hassan, from Gombe State, North East Nigeria,  takes over from Ms. Amina Mohammed, who was appointed Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Speaking after swearing in the new ministers at the start of Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council meeting, Osinbajo said “we expect that our new ministers will join in this herculean task of turning around the Nigerian economy and making life better for the citizens of this country.”

He said the Federal Executive Council was committed to executing far-reaching reform programmes, especially the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

He said: “We have focused our attention on key areas of that economic reform programme.  And those key areas have become clearly what we believe need to be done to make a difference in the Nigerian economy and in the lives and livelihood of Nigerians.  This is why, time and time again, we continued to emphasize the need for ministers to pay particular attention to all of the areas we have highlighted in the ERGP.”

He said President Buhari launched the ERGP and charged individuals ministries and ministers with specific functions and urged the new ministers to key into it.

The acting president said apart from the economy, government had also vigorously pursued security and the fight against corruption, which were highlighted during the campaigns and after, as centerpieces of the President Buhari administration’s programme.

He said: “And we expect that members of the FEC will focus on these key areas as well.  We have of course made tremendous progress with security.  There are issues and challenges here and there but they are, compared to where we are coming from, very minor indeed and we are tackling them on a day-by-day basis. 

And we believe that the primary thing to do is for those of us who have the privilege of service to ensure that by our own conduct and by our own actions we support the anti-corruption fight and also that our own conduct itself is exemplary so that we are able to show by practice, not just by words, that we are determined to ensure that this country is one where there is good governance and where there is honesty and integrity in service to the people.”

Congratulating the new ministers, family and friends on their appointment, Professor Osinbajo urged them to bring their wealth of experience to bear on their performances as members of the cabinet.

 The portfolios of the new ministers will be announced later.