In what came as a shock to many, President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, relieved two ministers of their appointments. The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Nanono, and his Power counterpart, Saleh Mamman, were sacked in a bid to reinvigorate the cabinet and consolidate legacy achievements, according to the President’s address during the Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja.
The two ministers were sworn in August 2019 as part of the over 40 ministers who make up the current Federal Executive Council. Though the President did not reveal the rating of the sacked ministers, many Nigerians have constantly complained about the poor state of power and high price of food in the country.
The President, in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said the ministers were sacked after an independent and critical self-review of their performance, an important evaluation marking the beginning of a continuous process, which will see more members exit the cabinet.
President Buhari also hinted that the contributions of the ministers could be considered ‘weak.’ “These significant review steps have helped to identify and strengthen weak areas, close gaps, build cohesion and synergy in governance, manage the economy and improve the delivery of public good to Nigerians,” he added.
After relieving the ministers of their jobs, President Buhari redeployed Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, Minister of Environment, to the Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, while Engr. Abubakar Aliyu, Minister of State, Works & Housing, was asked to assume office as the Minister of Power with immediate effect.
The President’s spokesman further hinted that the exercise would continue to fill vacancies as prescribed in the Constitution. “In due course, substantive nominations will be made to fill the consequential vacancies in accordance with the requirements of the Constitution.
“I have personally met with the departing members to thank them for their contributions to discussions in cabinet and the invaluable services rendered to the nation. Today effectively marks their last participation in the Federal Executive Council deliberations and I wish them the best in all future endeavours. I wish to reiterate once more, that this process shall be continuous.”
Reacting, Kingsley Moghalu, a former presidential candidate of the Young Progressive Party (YPP), said the President’s decision was the right thing though it came late. In a series of tweets, the former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), accused the Buhari government of weak performance.
He wrote: “After six years of weak performance by his government, President Buhari has reportedly fired two Ministers (Agriculture and Power) who, presumably in his judgment deserved to go. It’s the correct decision but very late in the day.”
But the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the President’s resort to sacking the two ministers as “a ludicrous and infective attempt to cover for his failures in office.”
The party said it is investigating the real reason behind their sack given Mr. President’s public approach to fighting corruption by “easing out” the culprits.
The party, in a statement by its national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, however, asserted that “the manifest inefficiency of the Buhari administration is a product of the President’s myopic and divisive approach to governance, as well as the impunity and corruption deeply embedded in his administration and party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).”
The party called on President Buhari and the APC to note that Nigerians were not swayed by the sack of the ministers, but were eagerly awaiting the exit of the Buhari presidency and the APC come May 29, 2023, “as there is no hope in sight under their purview.”
National Coordinator of HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko, said the dismissal of the two ministers was long overdue, describing them as “colossal failures, with food prices skyrocketing in the last two years and distribution of electricity criminally unstable, just as the prices have skyrocketed without commensurate services.
“The Minister of Defence and the NSA to the President should be sacked. There is, no doubt, that students are constantly kidnapped and the security situation in Nigeria has become like a war situation and deteriorated almost to a point that the President is openly accused of undermining national security. The NSA should have been sacked about two years ago. The country has never had it so bad in terms of security threats. Borno, Katsina, Zamfara, Kaduna are all under the control of terrorists and even Nigerian Defence Academy was not spared of the disgraceful attacks by terrorists.