Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, on Wednesday, swore in two ministers recently screened and cleared by the Nigerian Senate. The Ministers are Stephen Ocheni and Suleiman Hassan.
The swearing-in, which comes more than two months after the Senate’s confirmation, was done at the start of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, at the presidential villa in Abuja.
Ocheni is to replace the late former Minister of State for Labour, James Ocholi; while Hassan is to replace Amina Mohammed who resigned as Minister of Environment to become the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General.
Osinbajo is however yet to officially announce the portfolios of the two new ministers. He said, “The portfolios of the two new ministers will be announced shortly.” Ocheni is replacing James Ocholi who was killed in a motor accident while Suleiman is to take the place of Hajia Amina Mohammed who resigned to take up an appointment as the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations (UN).
There was confusion over their fates on Tuesday as the Presidency failed to confirm whether they would indeed be sworn in today.
When the news filtered out, the media team led by the Special Adviser to the President on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, only said it would happen sooner than expected.
The Senior Special Assistant on media and publicity to the President, Garba Shehu, said he had no information on the swearing in and vehemently denied confirming a news report on the matter.
Speaking shortly after administering the oath of office on the new ministers, Osinbajo expressed the Federal Government’s commitment to implementing economic reform programmes to make a difference in the lives and livelihood of Nigerians.
He said he expected the new ministers to join in the “Herculean task” of turning the economy around, noting that government was focused on its cardinal programmes of reviving the economy, creating employment and fighting corruption.
The Acting President stressed that a lot of progress had been made in the area of security, observing however that there were still a lot of challenges. According to him, those challenges however pale into insignificant “compared to where we are coming from”.
He stressed government’s commitment to continue to support the war against corruption. While noting that the new FEC members were capable, Osinbajo congratulated them and their, families and friends present at the ceremony.
There was a bit of drama when, after taking his oath, Ocheni set about to shake all the ministers seated in the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa but had to be dragged back by an official to enable to rest of the proceedings to go on. Osinbajo announced that the new ministers’ portfolio would be disclosed later.