At FEC, ministers fail Jonathan’s fifth anniversary aptitude test
YESTERDAY’S Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting may well go down as one, during which President Goodluck Jonathan tested the current affairs knowledge of his ministers and advisers and found them wanting.
There were no marks to be awarded, no prizes for getting the answer right, no sanctions for fluffing it.
If there had been any, none of the ministers would have won anything, nor escaped punishment as not one among them remembered that yesterday was the Fifth Anniversary of their boss’s sojourn at the Villa as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Jonathan was sworn in on May 6, 2010 by the then Chief Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu to succeed President Umaru Yar’Adua, who had passed on the previous day, in an illness.
Jonathan, who had arrived at the Aso Council Chambers, venue of yesterday’s meeting, sprang a surprise on all those in attendance.
In the past, the meeting would have been proceeded with the President, like a school headmaster, calling for the singing of the National Anthem and recitation of The Pledge after which everyone else would leave, for the FEC to begin sitting.
But Jonathan had decided, without letting anyone else in the know, that the tradition would not to be followed.
He had something up his sleeve.
After The Pledge, the President casually told his ministers that the usual national prayer would not be said as someone in their midst was marking a birthday.
He said instead of the prayer, two members of council, a Christian and Muslim, should offer prayers for the council member whose birthday it was before the meeting would commence.
“Today, we will not say the national prayer. Somebody is celebrating birthday, so we will offer special prayers for him.
Two very godly people will pray, Nebo and Yuguda. Do you know the person?”
“Who among us is marking his or her birthday today?” the ministers seemed to be asking as they looked at each other, trying to guess whose birthday it was.
It soon dawned on the FEC members that they did not know who in their midst, had a birthday.
The ministers were still trying to guess who, when the President looked around and discovered that the ‘class monitor’ of the cabinet, the Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Mobolaji Johnson, was not in attendance.
He then turned to Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Anyim Pius Anyim to find out if he knew the minister who was celebrating and the former Senate president answered in the negative.
At that point, the President now broke the news and saved his ministers further headache, when he declared: “On May 6, 2010, exactly five years today, I was sworn in as substantive President.”
Then, the ministers all gave voice to loud cheer, clapping, shouting their congratulations to Jonathan who, all the while, was smiling, nodding, acknowledging the heartfelt greetings and commendations.