Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari wednesday in Abuja charged members of his new cabinet to live up to their responsibilities, warning that “we must not fail.”
Buhari gave this charge while delivering opening remarks at the first Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in the second term of his government at the State House.
The president had on August 21, 2019, swore in 43 ministers, the largest cabinet in the history of the country’s democratic practice.
The cabinet size slightly exceeded the records of 42-member cabinet led by the former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governments from 1999 to 2015.
The number of the ministers rose from 36 in Buhari’s last administration to 43 in this new government, following the president’s decision to appoint a minister from each of the five geo-political zones of the country and two each from Kano and Kaduna States, both in the North-west, in addition to 36 ministers chosen from each state as constitutionally required.
Buhari had in his opening remarks at the meeting, told the ministers that the new administration would be committed to delivering selfless service with safety, prosperity and security of the 200 million Nigerian population as its focus.
He therefore challenged members of the cabinet to bear in mind the oath of service they swore to uphold while being sworn in on August 21, insisting that they had the responsibility to live up to expectations of the citizenry and they must not fail.
“I will conclude by tasking you all to keep in mind the oath you took in this very room three weeks ago. As a government, our focus must remain that selfless service. The safety, security and prosperity of Nigeria’s 200 million people are our responsibility. We must not fail them,” Buhari warned.
He also informed the cabinet that the re-election of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the February 23, 2019 presidential election was a mandate “to create a diversified and inclusive economy that will bring prosperity to all.”
He also said the mandate was a call “to install governance and accountability in our systems and processes, thereby eliminating corruption.”
The president therefore charged the ministers that the new cabinet will be pre-occupied with the delivery of projects and ideas aimed at fulfilling the mandate in the next four years.
“Therefore, all ideas and projects that will contribute to achieving these goals shall be foremost in our deliberations,” he said.
Buhari also proceeded to disclose the reason he reappointed some ministers who served in the last cabinet, explaining that their appointments were purely based on merit.
According to him, during the last administration, they discharged their duties in a diligent and patriotic manner, thus earning them an automatic return to the cabinet. He therefore charged the 14 returning ministers to double their efforts in this new administration.
“For returning ministers, my decision to re-appoint you is based on merit. During the first term, you executed your mandate diligently and in a patriotic manner. I expect you to double your efforts in this second term,” he stated.
Buhari also explained that the decision to create new ministries as announced during the swearing in of the ministers last month, was a drive to restructure the system in a way that would enhance service delivery.