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Published On: Tue, Jan 28th, 2014

2015: Jonathan Set Date for Resignation of Orubebe, Other Ministers with Political Ambition

President Goodluck Jonathan (r) and Minister of Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe


LAGOS JANUARY 28TH (URHOBOTODAY)-President Goodluck Jonathan may have given ministers who have political ambitions to resign voluntarily latest by first week of February.
The PUNCH gathered from a very competent source in Abuja 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.
The PUNCH 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, 2014 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: The Punch

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