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Former ministers’ portraits still hanging on walls of agencies

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Audu Ogbeh. Photo: NAN

Three months after President Muhammadu Buhari dissolved his cabinet, as he began a second term in office, the portraits of former minsters in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development are still hanging on the walls of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

Specifically, the portraits of former minister, Chief Audu Ogbeh, and minister of state, Mr. Heineken Lokpobiri, who had indicated interest to contest the Bayelsa State governorship election, were still hanging on the wall of most of its agencies.

This is amidst growing speculations that the President might return Ogbeh to head the ministry. Sources had confirmed to The Guardian that Buhari repose a lot of confidence in the former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national chairman to pursue his Ruga agenda.

According to a source: “The President feels Ogbeh is competent enough to pursue his Ruga agenda to a logical conclusion and was disappointed with the permanent secretary for letting the cat out of the bag and might likely bring Ogbeh back to the ministry for that reason.

Several stakeholders have raised concerns over plans by the President to return the minister for the fact that during his administration, the ministry was reduced to a mere procurement parastatal where contracts were only approved and commissioned whether completed or not.

During the four years of Ogbeh’s leadership of the ministry, farmers and other critical stakeholders were left at the mercies of hands down projects by development partners and the Anchors Borrowers programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The Guardian learnt that all the former aids of the former minister were still occupying their positions in the ministry, leading to a clash of interest between them and staff of the ministry.

It was gathered that the Permanent Secretary, Bello Musa Umar, had queried the continuous stay of the aides, to which they had responded that they are on secondment; hence the permanent secretary directed them to write an official letter to that effect, but which they were yet to comply with at the time of filing this report.


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