President Goodluck Jonathan has sworn in the four new ministers, who were confirmed last week by the National Assembly.
They include Ibrahim Shekarau, Stephen Oru, Adedayo Adeyeye and Abdul Bulama.
Mr. Shekarau, a former Kano State governor, decamped from the All Progressives Congress, APC, to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Shortly after swearing them in, the President announced their portfolios and also announced a minor rearrangement in the current cabinet.
The President announced Mr. Shekarau as the new Education Minister; Mr. Adeyeye was named Minister of State for Works; Mr. Oru, Minister of Niger Delta; and Mr. Bulama, Minister of Science and Technology.
Mr. Jonathan also announced that the current Minister of Works, Bashir Yuguda, will now be the Minster of State for Finance and supervising Minister of National Planning. Mr. Yuguda is filling the vacancy created by the exit of the former minister of state for finance, Yerima Ngama.
In his cabinet shake up last year September, the President asked the Minister of Communication Technology, Omobola Johnson, to oversee the Ministry of Science and Technology, vacated by Ita Ewa Okon; while the Minister of State, Works, Bashir Yuguda, was assigned to oversee the Ministry of National Planning following the sack of the longest serving cabinet member, Shamsudeen Usman.
Mr. Usman was first appointed minister by late President Umaru Yar’Adua.
In his remarks Wednesday, President Jonathan, while congratulating the ministers on their appointment, urged them to work hard not to only impress him but also Nigerians as they were coming in at ‘injury time’, a veiled reference to the impending 2015 elections when politicians and their parties will return to the electorate to seek fresh mandates.
Mr. Jonathan told the new ministers that there was no time to rest but to quickly adjust and begin work. ”Let me congratulate you for this appointment,” he said. “But It is not an enviable appointment because in football match when you get to the injury time and a player is brought in you expect goals. This government has less than a year to go and you have been brought in this time, so you know the reason why you have been brought in.
” You have no time to sleep, unfortunately for you because first you have to learn how to climb the ropes, because maybe it is a different setting, no matter how experienced you are if you go to something different you will need some time to adjust.
“But from your background we know that all of you are eminently qualified to be here and we know that it will not take you too many hours to settle down. We believe that you will perform not just to satisfy Mr President but to satisfy Nigerians.
“You are not just serving the President as a principal aide, but you are serving our motherland and in this we will expect the best from you especially at this time when there is global competition,” he said.