Nigeria: PDP crisis: Jonathan axes youth minister
The frosty relationship between President Goodluck Jonathan and five northern governors on Monday claimed its victim as the President ordered the sack of the Minister of Youth Affairs, Alhaji Inuwa Abdulkadir.
Our correspondents learnt that the minister was sacked, among other reasons, because of his continuous loyalty to the Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko.
Until his appointment, Abdulkadir was the state Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice in the Wamakko administration.
It was gathered that the minister would be replaced by another indigene of Sokoto State that could be trusted to deliver the state for Jonathan in 2015.
The minister was said to have stayed this long because of the belief that he would shift his loyalty from Wamakko to the President.
A Presidency source said, “The President cannot afford to retain any minister, who is working at cross purposes with him in any state.
“Ministers are supposed to be the eyes of the President in the states. If the President cannot guarantee a minister’s loyalty, such a minister will go. That is why he has been asked to leave.”
The sack of Abdulkadir was announced through a statement by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Pius Anyim.
The statement signed by Anyim’s Special Assistant (Media), Sam Nwaobasi, reads, “His Excellency Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR President and Commander–in–Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria has relieved Inuwa Abdul-kadir, Esq of his appointment as Honourable Minister of Youth Development with effect from August 26, 2013.
“The former minister is to hand over to the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Youth Development. Mr. President expresses appreciation to the former minister for the time he put in the services of the nation and wishes him success in his future endeavours.”
When one of our correspondents contacted the former minister, he said that he learnt of his removal from the correspondent.
Conversation with our correspondent:
PUNCH correspondent, “Is that Alhaji Inuwa Abdul-kadir?
Abdulkadir: “Yes, speaking please.
PUNCH correspondent: “I just got a statement from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation relieving you of your appointment as Minister of Youth Development. I want to confirm from you…
Abdulkadir: I am just hearing it from you.
PUNCH correspondent: “You mean, you’re hearing from me?
Abdulkadir: “I said, I’m just hearing it from you.”
PUNCH correspondent: Can I call you later?
Abdulkadir: Yes, you can.
But several calls by our correspondent to the embattled ex-minister’s mobile phone were not replied.
Wamakko, the Niger State Governor, Dr. Babangida Aliyu; Alhajiu Sule Lamido (Jigawa); Alhaji Rabiu Kwankanso (Kano) and their Adamawa State Governor, Alhaji Muritala Nyako, had visited former leaders and President Goodluck Jonathan.
They had complained about how the ruling People’s Democratic Party was being run, the crisis in Rivers State and the behaviour of some presidential aides.
It was gathered that the President removed Abdulkadir based on the advice of some of his aides, who said that it would be politically suicidal for Jonathan to leave him.
The presidential aide, who confided in one of our correspondents, said, “We expect other ministers to emulate the Minister of State for Education, Nyesom Wike, who has been unflinchingly loyal to the President in spite of his Governor, Rotimi Amaechi’s stand against Jonathan and his wife, Patience.”
Investigations also showed that the minister must have been sacked because of the allegation of imposition of a candidate at a recent election of the National Youth Council of Nigeria.
The Forum of State Chairmen of the NYCN had a few months ago accused the minister of imposing a leader on the council in a purported election held in Makurdi, Benue State.
It was gathered that reports submitted by the SSS DG and the senior special assistant to the President also worked against the minister.
A presidency source said, “The reports indicated the election was not transparent enough. This administration does not want to lose respect it has enjoyed for conducting free and fair election.”
It was gathered that the Presidency became suspicious about the motive for the imposition of a candidate on NYCN because the council would play a key role in the 2015 elections.
The Presidency source said, “We do not want anybody to install youths who will be antagonistic to this administration in 2015.”
When asked if truly the minister was sacked because of the crisis in NYC, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, simply said, “I have no idea.”