Nigeria: Why I sacked youth minister –Jonathan
President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday confirmed that his decision to sack his erstwhile Minister of Youth Development, Inuwa Abdulkadir, was based on the latter’s mishandling of the National Youth Council of Nigeria’s elections in Makurdi and Minna which resulted in the factionalisation of the council.
THE PUNCH had reported exclusively on Tuesday that investigations showed that the minister must have been sacked on Monday among other reasons because of the allegation of imposition of a candidate at a recent election of the NYCN.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, the President said he was “very displeased” by the former minister’s action.
He said Abdulkadir’s failure to provide appropriate leadership towards open and transparent youth council elections was unacceptable to him and his administration.
He said because he was committed to ensuring that the Nigerian youth were given the best possible upbringing and orientation, he expected all officials of his administration to exhibit greater rectitude and sensitivity on issues related to youth development.
The President added that he expected his appointees to comport themselves at all times in a manner worthy of emulation by Nigerian youths.
He however denied media report (not The PUNCH) that he sacked the former minister for failing to ensure that his (the President’s) candidate emerged as president of the NYCN.
Describing the report as baseless, Jonathan said he regarded all Nigerian youth as his wards and constituents and there was no reason for him to prefer one candidate over others.
The statement read, “We have noted with regret the several false speculations in the media yesterday (Tuesday) on the reason for the termination of the appointment of the former Minister of Youth Development, Alhaji Inuwa Abdulkadir by President Goodluck Jonathan.
“While many media outlets erroneously attributed the minister’s sacking to his disloyalty or closeness to a particular governor or governors said to be opposed to the President, the most disingenuous and malicious speculation was by a national newspaper which claimed that Alhaji Abdulkadir was fired for ‘failing to ensure that a pro-Jonathan candidate emerged as president of the NYCN.’
“We wish to assure the general public that nothing could be farther from the truth. President Jonathan regards all Nigerian youth as his wards and constituents. Claims that he had a preferred candidate in the NYCN elections are completely baseless and without justification as there was absolutely no reason for him to prefer one candidate over others.
“President Jonathan remains sincerely and unwaveringly committed to doing all within his powers to promote the credibility and integrity of the electoral process at all levels in the country.
“He firmly believes that a culture of free, fair and credible election must be constantly nurtured and encouraged amongst Nigerian youth and all other sections of the country.
“In point of fact, it was Alhaji Abdulkadir’s regrettable deviation from this presidential commitment in the management of the NYCN elections that led to the decision to relieve him of his appointment as Minister of Youth Development.
“President Jonathan was very displeased with the mishandling of the NYCN elections in Makurdi and Minna by the Ministry of Youth Development which resulted in the unfortunate factionalisation of the youth council.
“The President found the ministry’s failure to provide appropriate leadership towards open and transparent youth council elections unacceptable.
“President Jonathan is sincerely committed to doing everything possible to ensure that the Nigerian youth, on whom the country’s aspirations for a bright and prosperous future depend, are given the best possible upbringing and orientation.”