From ADETUTU FOLASADE-KOYI, Abuja
Senate yesterday confirmed President Goodluck Jonathan’s nomination of Prof Chinedu Nebo and Kabiru Tanimu Turaki as ministers representing Enugu and Kebbi states respectively in the Federal Executive Council (FEC). During the grilling which lasted more than two hours, Nebo pledged to tackle any mafia in the power sector headlong. He also promised to battle purported witches and demons that have worked against the efficient working of the power sector if given the power ministry.
Nebo, former Vice Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), said he hopes to dislodge the demonic powers through the power of God. “Some highly placed people still believe that witches are responsible for the problem in the power sector. I believe that God will give me the power to chase out the demons in the sector.” Speaking on the fate which befell his kinsman in the cabinet, Nebo said he’s aware of banana peels and would do everything possible to escape a similar fate.
“Prof Barth Nnaji is a professional to the core. He tried his best but it was unfortunate that something happened. I have also seen that in political setting, there are lots of banana peels; I am not going to change that but I believe in federal character principle, in each state, one need to take the best and not just anybody.” Nebo wondered why the Ajaokuta Steel Complex has never been allowed by past leaders to come on stream despite the enormous resources committed to it. “Ajaokuta Steel Complex, today, remains a giant that is comatose.
If it is a conspiracy problem, why do we allow ourselves to be used to short-change our children, yet unborn? We must be committed to reviving the company,” he said. On his part, Turaki called for capacity-building programmes which would enable soldiers and the police meet modern security challenges. He also attributed the problem with the police not only to poor funding, but decadence occasioned by corrupt tendencies. “The aim of the military is to curb insurgency and defend the nation from external aggression.
The advice I will give is that time has changed, in addition to training for the mundane jobs; we need to train them specifically to tackle the challenges of insurgency. There should be training and training to make them understand this serious task and also to harmonise working relationship between the military and police force. “I was a member of the Ministerial Implementation Committee on Police Reform and I will say that the problems with force are many. It is not only about funding but also, the problem of decay; there has been a lot of decay in the force.”
He spoke in support of government’s deployment of troops to Mali as well as the principle of plea bargain often adopted to recover monies from public office holders, who are accused of embezzlement. In his comments, Senate President David Mark urged the two ministers to match their words with actions when they get into the FEC. “The Senate has no problem confirming the two nominees.
They were fair and frank in answering questions posed to them and if by the time they are appointed, they are able to match their actions with words, they will perform very well,” he said. Recall that the two ministerial positions became vacant last year when Prof Nnaji (Power) and Dr. Haliru Mohammed (Defence) quit the federal cabinet.