BY BEN UKEJI:
There were indications yesterday in Abuja that Acting President Goodluck Jonathan may have placed a two-week non-traveling ban on the sacked ministers.
Daily Champion exclusively learnt from a reliable source that Jonathan’s directive came shortly after the dissolution of the Federation Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday, where all the ministers appointed by the ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua were dropped by Jonathan in a manner that shocked the ministers.
Our source said the traveling ban may have been targeted at some ex- ministers who were allegedly indicted by a strong security report which the presidency may soon release to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for further investigation and prosecution.
It was also learnt that government may have secretly directed Permanent Secretaries in some ministries to compile and submit detailed account of all transactions including expenditures as well as contracts awarded by the affected ministers within a specified period.
It was also learnt that the presidential committee recently set up by government to look into the activities of some ministries will while the ban subsists, tender its finding which according to sources may recommend that the affected ministers be immediately prosecuted by EFCC .
It was also learnt that Jonathan has asked the 36 state governors to submit names of fresh ministerial nominees from their state.
Meanwhile, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Adamu Aliero yesterday handed over the affairs of the administration to the newly appointed Permanent Secretary, Dr. Goke Adegoroye exactly 15 months after he assumed office as the 14th minister to man the nation’s capital.
Aliero however, said he had no regrets over his action while in office saying he put his best in the administration of FCT, just as Adegoroye expressed optimism that Aliero would return to the cabinet when reconstituted.
He said: “I have it on good authority and from the grapevine and even the press have reported it that some of the cabinet members who were dropped would still be staging a comeback into the FEC.”
While taking over from the former minister at an elaborate handover ceremony which took place at the Life Camp official residence of Aliero, Adegoroye however expressed his wish to have the Acting President return the former Kebbi State governor to the FCT because of the high level of his performance and commitment to duty.
Describing the civil service as engine room of government, he said all political appointees in the FCT, by the removal of Aliero stand sacked while all the mandate secretaries would retain their portfolio saying,”they are middle level appointees of the president”.
Earlier, Aliero said by the time he took over the administration of FCT 15 months ago, the whole place was littered with abandoned projects which he however resuscitated within three months such that the National Assembly recently testified to it that there were no abandoned projects in the FCT.
He said he was leaving behind him landmark achievements which would make life more meaningful for FCT residents.
“We have embarked on many projects such as the rehabilitation and expansion of Airport road and the Outer Northern Express, known as Kubwa road, the light rail project as well as Lower Usman Dam which I’m sure should make FCT residents in the next five months have water supply 24 hours.”
He described the FCT as the first place in Nigeria to invest adding that this assertion could be attested to by measuring the influx of people seeking a safe haven in the FCT thereby causing congestion, expansion and astronomical increase in the price of property and house rent.
Sounding humorous however, the former minister told Dr. Adegoroye: “I am handing over to you pending the time the president would be back to send a minister to the FCT” and added that he completed three cottage hospitals in the FCT during his tenure.
In his own speech, former Minister of State of the FCT, Chief Chuka Odom, said there was no need for any of the dropped ministers to cry or wear long faces as every political appointment was an opportunity to serve.
He described the FCT as a very complex environment which is full of political intricacies but thanked the staff for being highly-motivated and very professional in the discharge of their duties.
He acknowledged the difference he had with Aliero during the course of running FCT but praised him for being a good administrator with whom he shared the same objectives for the uplift of the FCT.
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