Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday sacked four cabinet members including aviation minister Stella Oduah, a close ally, a presidency source said, in the latest of a wave of government changes ahead of elections next year.
He also removed three others, namely, minister of police affairs Caleb Olubolade, minister of the Niger Delta Godsday Orubebe and minister of state for finance, Yerima Ngama, the source said.
Jonathan has stemming a crisis within his ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) over his assumed intention to run for another term in the 2015 election.
Though qualified under the law to run, he has yet to say whether he will.
Jonathan dismissed his chief of staff on Monday, after overhauling his military high command last month.
He has been defending his record on corruption this week after a series of graft allegations in recent months.
Oduah stirred public outcry last year after her ministry allegedly spent $1.4 million on two bullet-proof limousines, far more than their market value. Opponents have been calling on Jonathan to remove her.
Ministers Dropped to Pursue Political, Economic Interests
However, the Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku, explained that the ministers were dropped to enable them to pursue their respective political and economic interests.
Maku spoke when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, chaired by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Maku added that the President had also announced further changes in the Federal Executive Council.
He noted that a number of ministers had been asked to step out of the Federal Executive council to pursue their interest.
The information minister said the President had appointed the Minister of State for FCT, Ms Olajumoke Akinjide as Supervising Minister of Police Affairs and the Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Mr Samuel Ortom as Supervising Minister of Aviation.
He said the President also directed the Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Darius Ishaku to take charge as Supervising Minister of the Ministry, while the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo -Iweala should take charge of the functions of the Minister of State for Finance.
Maku noted that the President asked the affected ministers to leave after they had indicated interest to pursue further goals in political and economic affairs in the country.
He seized the opportunity to correct the erroneous report in the media that the former Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Oghiadhome, was sacked by the President because of alleged involvement in purported scam in the NNPC.
Maku said the report was false and misleading, adding that Oghiadhome resigned his appointment to pursue further interest in politics.
“If the Office of the Chief of Staff does not supervise NNPC, it has no direct correlation with the work of the NNPC.
“If he had left because of the purported scam in NNPC, it would suggest that there must have been some people in NNPC that would have been involved and sacked too.’’
He added that the Council discussed the outcome of the 2013 annual conference of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group, which deliberated on the nation’s agricultural sector.
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