Friday, 3 June 2011

President Jonathans First Week In Office

FROM the moment he left the
Eagle Square venue where he
was sworn in as Nigeria ’s
President on May 29, 2011 Dr.
Goodluck Jonathan could well be
said to have hit the ground
His first engagement after the
oath-taking was the inspection
of the Guard of Honour mounted
by the Brigade of Guard at the
venue of the inauguration
ceremony. In a motorcade, the
newly sworn-in Commander-in-
Chief, was driven in the company
of the Brigade Commander,
Brigadier-General Emmanuel
Atewe, his Aide-De-Camp, ADC, Lt.
Col. Ojogbane Adegbe and his
Chief Security Officer, CSO, Mr
Gordon Obua.
Meets world leaders
The following day, May 30,
Jonathan headed straight for the
Transcorp Hilton Hotel, where he
hosted some Heads of State and
Government who witnessed his
inauguration Those he met
included Liberian President, Mrs.
Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Trinidad
and Tobago leader, George
Maxwell, Burundi Vice_ President,
Gervais Rufyikiri Gervai and His
Zambian counterpart.
Others he met were Special
envoys from North Korea,
Morocco, Kuwait and China.
At the meeting Jonathan
informed them that Nigeria’s
foreign investment policies
would be overhauled as part of a
deliberate attempt by
government to grow the
economy and generate
employment for the youths.
Dissolves FEC
Aware of the legal implications of
keeping presidential appointees
beyond May 29 the President
dissolved the Federal Executive
Council, FEC, which he had
presided over for about a year
In a statement which he
approved, Jonathan declared that
“ in accordance with the
appointment letters of members
of the Federal Executive Council,
Special Advisers, Senior Special
Assistants, Special Assistants, and
other political appointees, their
appointments ended on May 29,
This brings to a close the former
administration, and marks the
beginning of the new one ”. The
President thanked all the
outgoing ministers, advisers and
assistants and other political
appointees for their service to
the nation. He particularly lauded
their patriotism and dedication,
and wished them God’s blessings
in their future endeavours.
Appoints Anyim SGF
Equally promising for the new
administration was the
appointment on Monday of a
former Senate President, Senator
Anyim Pius Anyim, as the
Secretary to the Government of
the Federation, SGF; and the
reappointment of General Owoye
Andrew Azazi as the National
Security Adviser, NSA.
The following day, Tuesday, May
31 the President held a
valedictory session with
members of the dissolved
While assuring the former
ministers to see their exit from
the Federal Executive Council, FEC,
as another opportunity to
contribute their quota to the
ongoing transformation agenda
for Nigeria, he explained that he
would have preferred the
ministers stay-on until a new
cabinet is formed except for legal
stipulation of the terms of their
appointments which terminated
May 29, 2011.
While thanking the former FEC
members for their interest in
serving the country at a very
critical time of its history he
wished them the best of luck in
their future endeavour.
The former SGF, Alhaji Yayale
Ahmed responded on behalf of
the members of the former
Also speaking, Vice President
Namadi Sambo thanked the
ministers for their contributions
to national development in the
last one year, saying that the
government appreciated them
for stabilising the polity when it
mattered most.
He told the outgoing ministers to
be grateful to God for the
humility, patience and
perseverance they must have
learnt from his boss, the
President, saying that “I find a
teacher in you (President). It is
only those who have opportunity
to work with you that will
understand what I am saying ”.
From the Banquet Hall, Mr
President proceeded to the
council cambers of Aso Rock for
the inauguration of the new SGF,
Senator Pius Anyim. At exactly
12.20 pm, Anyim, the new SGF
took his oath of office and
thereafter took his seat at the
Council Chambers at 12.24 p.m.
from which minutes earlier,
Yayale Ahmed had vacated.
Jonathan said the choice of
Senator Anyim as the SGF was
informed by his track record over
the years, saying that the new
SGF is to form part a critical team
being packaged to champion
and drive the transformation
agenda initiative of the new
Meets party leadership
On Wednesday June 1, President
Jonathan met the leadership of
the mainstream political parties
including the People Democratic
Party, PDP, at the Banquet Hall of
Aso Rock. The Action Congress of
Nigeria, ACN, All Nigeria Peoples
Party, ANPP, All Progressive Grand
Alliance, APGA, and Labour Party,
LP, were among others that sent
representatives to the meeting.
In attendance were Bello
Mohammed, Chairman of PDP,
Kao Baraje, Secretary of PDP and
Olusola Oke, Legal Adviser, PDP,
Bisi Akande, Chairman ACN,
national leader of ACN Bola
Tinubu, Chris Ngige, and George
Akume. Others are Ogbonnaya
Onu, Chairman ANPP; Lanre
Amosu, ANPP Chieftain; Victor
Ume, chairman, APGA, Tim
Manakaya, APGA, and Dan
Nwuanyawu, Chairman, LP,
among others.
The President was accompanied
to the meeting by Vice President
Namadi Sambo; Secretary to the
Government of the Federation,
SGF, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim,
Chief of Staff to the President,
Chief Mike Oghiadomhe, and
Presidential Spokesman, Mr Ima
Niboro, and Special Assistant on
Research and Documentation, Mr
Oronto Douglas
There was however uneasy calm
in Aso Rock Wednesday when
unconfirmed reports in the
media filtered into the air that
the Chief of Staff to President,
COS, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe, had
been removed from office.
The presidency immediately
distanced itself from the reports;
saying that the rumour that the
incumbent Permanent Secretary
in the Federal Ministry of Water
Resources, Dr Godknows Boladei
Igali, has been appointed Acting
Chief of Staff is not only fake but
The Presidency also gave reason
why the Special Adviser to the
President on Media and Publicity,
Mr Ima Niboro, Special Assistant
on Research and Documentation,
Mr Oronto Douglas, and many
close aides to the president have
not been reappointed, citing a
legal clause that requires a
legislative approval. The
constitution requires the
President to seek the approval of
the Senate for the number of
Special Advisers to appoint. Upon
the approval the president will
proceed to announce the
appointments into the category.
Before the close of June 1,
President Jonathan also had
another session with the
leadership of Nigerian Economic
Society, NES, led by its President,
Dr. Kenneth Adeyemi. At the
forum, Jonathan said he would
soon appoint the President of
the NES as Honourary Adviser to
him on Economic Matters.
The President further said that
the NES Chief Executive would
also serve as a member of the
National Economic Management
Team, NEMT, when it is
constituted soon. Jonathan said
this will be an enduring tradition
to enable the economic body
interface regularly with
government towards national
economic transformation. For
Jonathan it has been a beginning
for his own efforts to stamp his
legacy on the country.

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