The Presidency on Thursday said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), essentially considered “food security” and the “power problem” in the country before “relieving” the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Nanono; and his Power counterpart, Sale Mamman.
According to the Special Adviser to President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, food security and fixing the power sector are two of the things central to the President’s heart.
Adesina spoke on Thursday when he featured on Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ programme monitored by The PUNCH.
Buhari had on Wednesday sacked Nanono (Kano State) and Mamman (Taraba State). He had also redeployed the Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abubakar, to the Ministry of Agriculture while the Minister of State for Works, Abubakar Aliyu, took over as Minister of Power.
The two dismissed ministers were in August 2019 sworn in as part of the over 40 ministers who make up the current Federal Executive Council.
Speaking on the television programme, Adesina said the redeployed ministers are not weak in their former offices but versatile hence the need for their redeployment.
“It could be that the President has seen that they were versatile and so they would do well in other areas within the cabinet. It does not mean that they were weak and that is why changes came from within. Don’t also forget that the President said new nominations will also be made according to constitutional provisions because the constitution prescribes that every state in the country must provide a minister.
“So, if the reshuffle has caused that a state or two doesn’t have a minister, then, there have to be fresh nominations into the cabinet,” he said.
The presidential spokesman also said that ministerial appointments are not chieftaincy titles and appointees should be ready to leave at any time the President feels they have delivered their best.
Throwing more light on the President’s statement that the cabinet reshuffle is a continuous process and more ministers would leave the government before 2023, Adesina said, “It could also mean that the President who appoints them can also say, ‘Thank You for your services; let me bring in fresh energy’.
“The President is the one who will determine that and what that is telling us is that national service is for God and for humanity; it is not for ourselves. When it is time for you to go, you go. It is not a chieftaincy title, it is not something that you hold for life and when it is time to go, you leave gladly.”
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Adesina said his principal listens to the yearnings of the people in taking certain decisions.
When asked whether Buhari considered the epileptic power supply, food inflation, amongst other challenges Nigerians are grappling with, the presidential spokesman said, “Somebody gave me a document to give to the document on how to solve the power problem in the country.
“I took it to him and he collected it and he began to flip through it and as he flipped through it, he was saying, ‘If only we can solve the power problem’. He repeated it about three times and you know what I got from that? It was something central to his heart that if only this administration can solve the power problem and you know efforts that have been made.”
He also recalled, “There was a night when there was this talk about hunger in the land and I went to see him (Buhari) but before I finished, he said, ‘I know, I have constituents and I received feedback from them. I have people from my constituency who gives me real-time feedback, I know what is happening’.
“Of course, food security is central to the President’s heart,” he noted.
“No one government will solve all the problems in a country, a government will do its legitimate best in certain areas and it ends and another government will continue,” Adesina added.
According to a report released last month by the National Bureau of Statistics, food index increased by as much as 21.03% year-on-year in July 2021. Food items driving the current inflationary pressure in the country include bread, beans, cereals, milk, cheese, eggs, fish, soft drinks, vegetables, oils, potatoes, yam and other tubers.
The data also showed that some of the food prices soared by at least 60%, mostly attributable to the initial closure of land borders in 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in 2020 as well as the banditry and kidnapping ravaging the country. Countless farmers have been slaughtered on their farmlands while others have been raped by marauders. Many farms have been abandoned due to the farmer-herder crisis in the country.
On the other hand, the incessant collapse of the national power grid, astronomical rise in electricity tariffs paid by Nigerians have worsened the blackout being experienced by households and businesses in parts of Nigeria.
A World Bank report in 2021 stated that a total of 74 per cent of power users in Nigeria are dissatisfied with the supply of electricity across the country, and while 93 per cent of metered power users paid their bills regularly, 78 per cent of electricity consumers in Nigeria received less than 12 hours of supply daily.