President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday effected some minor changes in his cabinet following the resignation of seven ministers who left the cabinet to run for elective offices in their respective states.
Those who resigned were the Minister of State for Education, Nyesom Wike, who is running for the governorship position in Rivers State; Health Minister, Onyebuchi Chukwu (Ebonyi), and Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro (Lagos).
Others were Minister of State for Niger Delta, Darius Ishaku (Taraba), Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Samuel Ortom (Benue), Labour Minister, Emeka Wogu (Abia), and Information Minister, Labaran Maku (Nasarawa).
The reshuffling of the cabinet was disclosed at a press briefing by Dr. Nurudeen Mohammed, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs 1, who now oversees the Information Ministry.
Defence Minister, Lt. Gen. Aliyu Gusau (rtd), according to Nurudeen, had been detailed to take over the functions of Obanikoro who also resigned as the minister of state in the same ministry to run for the Lagos State governorship position.
Professor Viola Onwuliri, who until yesterday was the Minister of State Foreign Affairs 1, was moved to the Ministry of Education as Minister of State to replace Wike.
Minister of State for Health, Dr. Khaliru Alhassan, was mandated to serve as substantive Minister of Health, the portfolio last held by Chukwu.
Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga, would oversee the functions of the former minister of state in the same ministry.
The Minister of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs, Kabiru Turaki, would now oversee the Ministry of Labour vacated by Wogu, while the substantive Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Dr. Steven Oru, will combine the office of Ishaku, who resigned to contest for the Taraba State governorship election, with his own.
Substantive ministers in other ministries were also directed to take full charge of their ministries.
Also, Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the contract for the supply and installation of a full Jet-Flight Simulator (5000 Series B737) with complete accessories for the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) in Zaria to be located at the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos.
Nurudeen said the contractual sum was inclusive of all taxes payable at the prevailing exchange rate at the time of payment with a completion period of 24 months.
The new Information Minister made the disclosure while briefing State House correspondents at the end of FEC meeting.
The FEC also approved the award of contract for the construction of the East West road, Section V (Oron to Calabar) phase 1 in Akwa Ibom/Cross River States.
According to Nurudeen, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs brought a memorandum to seek council’s ratification of President Goodluck Jonathan’s anticipatory approval for the award of contract for the construction of phase 1, section V of the East West road, beginning from Uyo/ Oron roundabout in Akwa Ibom State to Calabar/Odukpani road in Calabar, Cross River State at the cost of N165,249,125,989.16, with a completion period of five years.
He said: “It also approved two contracts for the supervision of construction of Calabar-Oba-Nsan-Okoroba-Ajasor road (Section 1) in Cross River State and construction of road/drainage at Mbaise Ring Road intersecting Owerri-Umahia road in Imo State at the sum of N106, 407,242.51 with a completion period of 24 months.
“The second supervision of the construction of the Mbaise Ring Road intersecting Owerri-Umahia Road in Imo State was also awarded for the same amount.
“Consequent upon the memo presented by the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, the FEC approved the Revised Estimated Total Cost (RETC) 2 for the East-West road project, Sections I and II (Sub-Sections II-I and II-II) in the sum of N23, 484,369,831.99 inclusive of all taxes in favour of Messers Sectraco Nigeria Limited with a completion period of seven months.
“This is just as the council also approved the sum of N131.9 million for the purchase of zonal office building for the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in Owerri, the Imo state capital.
“The FEC equally approved the award of contract for the appointment of Transaction Adviser for the rehabilitation of Independence Building for National Trade and International Business Centre project in Lagos State in favour of Infrastructure Bank Plc, in the sum of N150,364, 000 with a completion period of 12 months.”