Inauguration: Buhari limits ministers’ guests to two

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President Muhammadu Buhari has confirmed that his cabinet would be inaugurated on Wednesday and he has ruled that each minister-designate can only be accompanied by two guests to the inauguration.

This was contained in a statement on Sunday by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina.

Adesina, in the statement confirmed SUNDAY PUNCH’sexclusive story that Buhari would on Wednesday inaugurate his ministers and administer oaths of office on the National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu as well as INEC’s five national commissioners on Monday (today).

His statement read in part, “President Muhammadu Buhari will officially inaugurate a new Federal Executive Council on Wednesday, November 11, 2015.

“Before the commencement of the inaugural session of the council, the ministers-designate will take their oaths of office in the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa.

“The swearing-in ceremony will begin promptly at 10:00 Hours and the ministers-designate are expected to be seated in the Council Chambers by 09:30 Hours at the latest.

“Each minister-designate can only be accompanied to the swearing-in ceremony by a maximum of two guests.”

Restricting guests of new ministers to two during inauguration is a departure from the jamboree that usually attend such events in the past when the lucky appointees were often accompanied to their inauguration by a crowd of family members, colleagues, friends and associates.

During the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, ministers were allowed to attend their inauguration with their spouses, children, colleagues and their immediate family members.

In some cases, traditional rulers and state governors also accompany the ministers to their inauguration.

In fact there were instances during the administrations of former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Umar Yar’Adua that traditional drummers and dancers accompanied ministers to their inauguration though most of the guests were always restricted to the Pilot Gate in the outer ring of the Presidential Villa.

The inauguration usually takes place inside the Council Chambers.

When asked what informed Buhari’s decision to restrict the number of guests per minister-designate to two, Adesina said he would not be able to answer the question because he was not privy to what the situation was before the present administration came on board.

“Yes, ministers-designate are entitled to a maximum of two guests each. I don’t know the reason behind this and you also know that I do not know what the situation used to be before this administration,” he said.

Meanwhile, despite the decision of the election petition tribunal that declared her the duly elected as Governor of Taraba State on Saturday, Aisha Alhassan, will still be inaugurated as minister alongside 35 others on Wednesday, The PUNCH has learnt.

The tribunal led by Justice Musa Danladi Abubakar had nullified the election of Governor Darius Ishaku of the Peoples Democratic Party and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to immediately withdraw his certificate of return and issue a new one to Alhassan, who is currently the minister-designate representing Taraba State.

Alhassan was the candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the April 11election.

When asked if the President would still administer oath of office on Alhassan despite the tribunal’s judgement, the presidential spokesman replied in the affirmative.

Adesina said the Saturday judgement was just the first level and disputes arising from governorship elections and that the case could still get to the Supreme Court.

“The judgement was only delivered on Saturday. That was just the first level. The issue can still get up to the Supreme Court,” he said.

Adesina’s statement on Sunday added, “Also, following the confirmation of their nominations by the Senate, President Buhari will tomorrow (Monday) at the Presidential Villa, preside over the swearing-in of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu as Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, and five others as National Commissioners of INEC.

“The swearing-in of Prof. Yakubu, Mrs. Amina Zakari, Mr. Solomon Adedeji Soyebi, Prof. Antonia Taiye Okoosi-Simbine, Dr. Muhammed Mustafa Lecky and Alhaji Baba Shettima Arfo is scheduled for 11:00 Hours in the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa.”

The 36 ministers to be inaugurated on Wednesday are Alhassan (Taraba); Udoma Udo Udoma (Akwa Ibom); Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti); Audu Ogbeh (Benue); Ogbonnaya Onu (Ebonyi); Osagie Ehanire (Edo); Abdulrahman Dambazau (Kano); Lai Mohammed (Kwara); Amina Mohammed (Gombe); Suleiman Adamu (Jigawa); and Ibrahim Jibril (Nasarawa)

The list also include Babatunde Fashola (Lagos); Ibe Kachikwu (Delta); Abubakar Malami (Kebbi); Chris Ngige (Anambra); Solomon Dalong (Plateau); Kemi Adeosun (Ogun); Hadi Sirika (Katsina); Adebayo Shittu (Oyo); Khadija Bukar Ibrahim (Yobe); Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers); James Ocholi (Kogi); Baba Mustapha (Borno); Claudius Daramola (Ondo); Heineken Lokpobiri (Bayelsa); and Usani Uguru (Cross River).

The remaining ministers are Munsur Dan Ali (Zamfara); Zainab Shamshuna Ahmed (Kaduna); Geoffrey Onyeama (Enugu); Abubakar Buari (Niger); Isaac Adewole (Osun); Aisha Abubakar (Sokoto); Mohammed Bello (Adamawa); Adamu Adamu (Bauchi); Anthony Anwuka (Imo); and Okechukwu Enelamah (Abia)

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