Jonathan Fires Education Minister, Eight Others

President Goodluck Jonathan has reshuffled his cabinet, dropping nine ministers.

Among the ministers relieved of their post are Ruqayat Rufai , Education Minister); Zainab Kunchi, Minister of Power; Buka Tijiani, Minister of Agriculture; Shamsudeen Usman, Minister of National Planning.

Others are Ita Okon, Minister for Science and Technology; Olugbenga Ashiru, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Ama Pepple, Minister for Land and Hadiza Mailafia, Minister of Environment.

Nigerians had long expected President Jonathan to rejig his lackluster cabinet which has largely failed to deliver services to the Nigerian people.

But while the expectation mounted, Mr. Jonathan repeatedly  dispelled speculation that he had plans to fire non-performing ministers.

Last August, he unveiled a rating procedure known as Performance Contract Agreement for ministers but said he would not use the result of the assessment in considering who to fire. 

Mr. Jonathan said the assessment would only appraise his administration’s performance and delivery of targets to Nigerians.

“I read all kinds of thing in the media, that the president wants to assess the ministers so that he would know who would go and who would stay. That is not the purpose of this.

“We would have done it probably in the first week when we came on board, but the key thing is that we have given ourselves points that we think we will get at, we believe that if we get at those points or even if we achieve 70 per cent of that, at least it will be better off for our own country,” the president said.

According to the president, the exercise was to ensure enhanced performance, transparency and accountability in governance, adding that it was not a witch-hunting exercise.

“I want to assure every one of you who has taken part in the exercise that this is not a witch-hunt targeted at anybody,” the president said in his remarks after the signing ceremony.

Nine of those who signed that contract have now been sacked, although it is not clear what criteria the President adopted in deciding those he fired.