Published On: Thu, Jan 30th, 2014


President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan   may have  given ministers who have political ambitions to resign voluntarily latest by first week of February.

Competent source in Abuja disclosed on Monday, that most of those affected are ministers who plan to contest governorship elections in their states.

The source, who added that Jonathan was mulling a cabinet shake-up in February, however,  said the minister had not resigned  because they  were not  sure that they would get the governorship tickets in their states.

He said, “The President cannot wait endlessly for them. That is why he has given them the directive to resign voluntarily between now and February. Definitely, there will be further changes in the cabinet.”

The source, who asked not to be  named, did not say when the President ordered the ministers with political ambitions to quit.

The Minister of Police Affairs, Navy-Cpt. Caleb Olubolade (retd.) is eyeing the Peoples Democratic Party ticket for the Ekiti State governorship election  in June  this year.

Others   who are eyeing   governorship seats   are the  Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku (Nasarawa);  the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Godsday Orubebe (Delta),  and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed (Bauchi).

Our source   explained  that the impending cabinet shake-up   would  see some  of the  current ministers   dropped.

It was gathered on Monday that the  exercise  would take place after  the ministerial nominees  would  have resumed work  after being cleared by the Senate. Their screening begins this week.

The  Presidency source  explained that  the  ministerial nominees  would  fill existing vacancies in the cabinet.

He said, “The cabinet shake-up will definitely be in two phases. One was the one we witnessed in September 2013. The list before the Senate is meant to fill the current vacancies in the cabinet.

“What is clear is that by the time those ones are cleared and they resume work, more ministers will still be asked to leave.”

When asked if the embattled Minister of Aviation,  Ms Stella Oduah, would be dropped, our source replied, “What I don’t know for now is those that will be affected in the imminent purge but it is certain that some  will go.

“It is also almost certain that some of the  ministers who will still be part of the new cabinet will be redeployed.”

The ministers who were relieved of their appointments in September  were Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufa’i (Education); Prof. Ita Okon Ekwa (Science and Technology); Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru (Foreign Affairs); Hadiza Mailafia (Environment); Dr. Shamsudeen Usman (National Planning) and Ama People (Housing, Lands and Urban Development).

Others were Minister of State, Defence, Chief Olushola Obada; Minister of State, Agriculture, Alhaji Bukar Tijani  and Minister of State, Power, Zainab Kuchi.

It will be recalled that Oduah had been in the eye of the storm since last year over  the N255m BMW bulletproof cars bought for her by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.

The House of  Representatives, based on the report of a committee set up to investigate the matter, had asked Jonathan to review her appointment.

At the height of the public outcry that trailed the news of the car purchase, Jonathan had set up a three-man panel led by a former Head of Service of the Federation, Alhaji Isa Bello, to investigate the matter.

Although he had publicly acknowledged receipt of the panel’s report, Jonathan has yet to make any pronouncement on the fate of the Anambra State born minister.

The House of Representatives had on  December 19, 2013,  endorsed the report of its   committee which probed the purchase of the vehicles  and agreed that Oduah breached the 2013 Appropriation Act.

It therefore asked Jonathan to review Oduah’s  appointment.

The spokesperson   for the House, Mr. Zackary Mohammed, had explained that the lawmakers wanted the minister sacked.

He had said, “The word  ‘review’   means a change in status. It is a mild way of saying that Mr. President should sack the minister.”

On  Monday, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission   said  it was  still investigating the  car scandal.

The Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, who disclosed this to one of our correspondents in Abuja,  said the operatives of the commission had not stopped the investigation.

Uwujaren said  the civil society organisations that had given  the anti-graft agency  14 days within which to arrest and investigate the minister,  were only expressing their right to freedom of expression.

He said, “The investigation into the issue is on. Who is stopping it? Look, there is nothing like delay; there is no delay.

“They (civil society organisations) are expressing their right to freedom of expression. The matter is already being investigated.  We are on it.”

The EFCC had  on November 4, 2013  questioned the officials of   Coscharis Motors which supplied the controversial BMW cars and the officers of  First Bank Plc, which provided funding for the purchase of the vehicles.

The civil society organisations under the aegis of Say No Campaign  had on Sunday issued the ultimatum to arrest and prosecute the minister.

The Conveners of the SNC, Ezenwa Nwangwu, Auwal Rafsajani, Musa Itodo and Jaiye Gaskiya, also challenged   Jonathan to  act  on the report of the three-man committee he set up to  investigate the scandal.

Source: punch news

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