President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday inaugurated the eight new ministers recently confirmed by the Senate before the commencement of the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting.
The President thereafter assigned portfolios to them as follows: Senator Patricia Akwashiki (Information); Prof. Nicholas Ada (State, Foreign Affairs I); Senator Musiliu Obanikoro (State, Foreign Affairs II); Col. Augustine Akobundu (retd.), (State, Defence); Mr. Fidelis Nwankwo (State, Health); Mrs. Hauwa Bappa (State, Niger Delta Affairs); Mr. Kenneth Kobani (State, Industry, Trade and Investment); and Senator Joel Ikenya (Labour and Productivity).
The President also named the Minister of State, Health, Khaliru Alhassan, as the Minister of Health. Alhassan has been acting as Supervising Minister of Health since Prof. Onyebuchi Ckukwu resigned in 2014.
Also inaugurated on Wednesday were a Commissioner for the Federal Civil Service Commission, representing Plateau, Benue and Nasarawa states, Dr. Jonah Madugu, and a Commissioner for National Population Commission, Mrs. Abimbola Salu-Hundeyi, from Lagos State.
Jonathan urged the new ministers to be ready to work hard to justify their appointment, which he said was coming during his administration’s “injury time.”
He said since the eyes of all Nigerians would be on them, they must be ready to put up outstanding performances within the short time available.
The President said, “For the ministers, this is an injury time. It is like bringing a player in when you have just five minutes to go in a football match.
“So everyone wants to know what that player will do; the magic the player will perform within that short period. The player himself will be struggling to, at least, kick the ball before the end of the game.
“So, you are coming in at a quite challenging period and I believe that a number of people will not envy you because government is coming to a close. But sometimes, it is even good to come at this time because you are now well exposed to Nigerians.
“Everybody will be watching your dancing steps and we believe you will dance well.”
While describing the civil service as the engine room of government, Jonathan admitted that the greatest problem of the sector had been indiscipline.
He urged the new commissioner to join others to modernise the service.
He also described census as critical to national planning, urging Salu-Hudeyin to contribute her quota to the success of the NPC.