Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, has said the recent sacking of two ministers by President Muhammadu Buhari and the reshuffling that followed were done to reinvigorate his administration.
Buhari announced the sacking of two of his cabinet members on Wednesday.
The affected cabinet members are Saleh Mamman, who was the Minister of Power, and Sabo Nanono, who was the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Adesina made this known while speaking on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television programme on Thursday. He noted that the ministers were not removed because of weak or poor performance but to consolidate on “legacy performance”.
“Matter of fact is that the president said he had reviewed the performance of the cabinet and needed to reinvigorate for the last run. He said he wanted to consolidate on legacy performance and projects,” he said.
“He needed some reinvigoration but he didn’t say anything about weak or poor performance.”
The two ministries affected have areas that need improvement, Adesina added, noting that Buhari’s action must have been informed by the desire to revamp these areas.
“If you look at the nine priority areas, you will see that as much as the ministers did in my own esteem, there are areas of improvement in those two sectors.
“The president must have what he wants to achieve in those two areas within the 20 months left in government and maybe that is why he did what he did. But it was by no means a red card on their performance.”
Alleged ‘Sins’ Of Ex-Agriculture Minister, Nanono
But according to Daily Trust, the former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nanono had been under scrutiny over a number of issues, which drew adversaries to him.
It was learnt that Nanono had been involved in different controversies since he took charge of the agriculture and rural development ministry on August 21, 2019.
Nanono was said to have had a big gaffe when he said a N30 meal could be enough for an adult Nigerian, in response to criticism on the economic hardship during a radio interview.
According to Daily Trust, his attempt to force a change in the leadership of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) drew him into a legal battle with the association. With a case on the issue still in court, Nanono continued to recognise a faction of the leadership.
Awarding N30 million for the construction of a mosque which many considered as unjustifiable was one of the Nanono’s number of alleged infractions.
The minister was also accused of spending several billions of naira to buy grains at a time the market was extremely volatile, triggering a price hike.
Nanono was also accused of awarding a contract worth over N1 billion to two shadowy companies to renovate the ministry’s old headquarters when the building the ministry bought for over N7 billion was abandoned in Central Business District, Abuja.
The newspaper also noted that under his watch, the ministry came under investigation for alleged misappropriation of N16 billion by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC)
The minister had openly attacked the Central Bank of Nigeria’s policy on Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, canvassing for it to be moved to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
And for over two years, the minister talked about importing tractors under a bilateral arrangement with the Brazilian government for mechanisation but that did not happen.
Farmers from the South-South also accused the minister of neglecting their region in agricultural policies and programmes.
Some senior and junior staff members of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development were said to be joyous mood when Nanono was sacked as many said they had thought it would have happened earlier because of his alleged involvement in shady deals.
SaharaReporters, New York