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Obasanjo: I've One and Half Years to Go

Posted by From Josephine Lohor in Abuja on 2005/08/22 | Views: 414 |

Obasanjo: I've One and Half Years to Go

President Olusegun Oba-sanjo yesterday informed his ministers and permanent secretaries that he has barely over one and a half years remaining in office.

...Urges Mauritania junta to return to constitutionalism

President Olusegun Oba-sanjo yesterday informed his ministers and permanent secretaries that he has barely over one and a half years remaining in office.

Obasanjo made the declaration at a retreat for key government officials in Abuja despite the agitation by some political office holders and leaders of the private sector that he should extend his tenure beyond 2007 notwithstanding the constitutional limitations of two terms of four years for President and governors.

Also, at another occasion yesterday, Obasanjo once again advised the military junta which took over in Mauritania early this month to quickly restore the country to democracy.

In an address at the opening of the ministerial retreat, Obasanjo charged the ministers and permanent secretaries to buckle up as there was “barely over a year and a half in the life of this administration, and with the major task of consolidating on our achievements and addressing those areas that still demand for more concerted action, it is vital that we all understand the basic nature of the tasks ahead of us”.

While noting that “this retreat is meant to share understanding, best practices, enhance motivation and innovation, and create opportunities for exposure to new ways of thinking and new methods of work”, he said that those at the retreat “hold the baton in the last lap of this administration’s race to make a real difference in the lives of our people.

“We have come a long way, but this lap will make all the difference. Nigerians expect us to win the race against poverty, against corruption and against official indifference, complacency and compromise. At this stage, you are part of the winning team, but to actually win, we must remain disciplined, focused and committed to the end. This retreat is to further energize us in this all-important race, so do not slide back and do not drop the baton".

He, however, disclosed that he has “directed that permanent secretaries must be subjected to constant assessment and scrutiny, so that among them who cannot lead by inspiring other civil servants with their competence, commitment and other leadership qualities are not allowed to determine the fate of the civil service and their subordinates or drawback the hand of the clock.

“Let no permanent secretary think that this is just one more statement that will not be followed through. It is best to work towards meeting the new established standards and expectations than sitting idly and waiting for Government to change so that we can return to business as usual. This is not going to happen again in the new Nigeria that we are building”, he added.

While noting that “a good leader must be God-fearing and in our contemporary world, must embody the values of transparency, accountability, social justice, humaneness and belief in community and nation”, the President said “that the task before us is so important that this government will have no room for petty bickering, sabotage, laziness, selfishness, distractions and other diversionary and escapist conduct.

“Similarly, rules and regulations which limit excesses and ensure effective and accountable leadership must be respected. Therefore, while encouraging initiative and flexibility to deal with peculiarities in some departments, any attempt to play around with the rules or to undermine, misinterpret, distort and abuse them in anyway will not be condoned.

"We just have to decide to run a good and efficient public service or we do not and the latter is certainly not an option. Above all, ministers and permanent secretaries must demonstrate a thorough understanding of the basic regulations and what goals they seek to achieve, so that these do not in themselves become weapons to be deployed towards frustrating legitimate goals in administration.

“The best ministers are those who understand the rule-based system of the public service almost as much as their Permanent Secretatries, and the Permanent secretaries are those who develop sensitive political antennae that allow them to place the best administration and advice at the service of the best political head of the Ministry.

"In any case, no one has an excuse for drawing boundaries around his or her role in office. Our commitment to the common good, discipline, efficiency and service delivery must be collective, committed and undiluted.”
He noted that “ we have so much to accomplish as a government and avoidable frictions over roles and perceptions will only dissipate our energies and divert our attentions from serving the Nigerian people with commitment and purpose.”

Also, while recieving a delegation from the new Mauritania military governement, yestersay at the State House, Obasnajo who is the Chairman of African Union (AU) reaffirmed that the country would not be received back into the continental body until the military authorities restore constitutional order.

He told the delegation in clear terms to "tell your leader that I have received you and that there are certain things we will put on the table. We have condemned the unconstitutional change in power in your country. That is the stand of African Union and Nigeria."

“It does not matter how popular your government is. It is unconstitutional and we condemn it”, Obasanjo told the delegation which was led by the Mauritarian Minister of Fisheries and Maritime Economy, Mr. Sidi Mohammed Sidina.

He said that the AU would insist on the maintenance of law, order, security and respect for fundamental human rights in Mauritania, while the junta works out and implements a programme for a quick return to democratic governance.
Sidina had earlier said that the military had been forced to seize power because the ousted regime had made it impossible to achieve a peaceful change in government in Mauritania.

He added that the coup d'etat was undertaken with the total blessing and support of the people of Mauritania and presented the Nigerian leaders with what he said was a documentary evidence of the consensus of the civil society in Mauritania and the country's political parties, including that of the ousted President.

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Comments (3)

Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)

Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown