Nigerian cardinal urges new president to avoid 'dead wood' in Cabinet
Jun 20, 2007
Lagos Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie advised newly elected Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua that for his administration to be successful he should not appoint "dead wood" to his Cabinet.
LAGOS, Nigeria (CNS, Jun-18-2007) -- The cardinal also said he wondered why it was taking Yar'Adua so long to appoint his Cabinet and added, "This government should settle down immediately to work and not wait for the traditional 100 days before having a focused direction.
"Now is the time for Yar' Adua to stoop down and conquer the multifarious problems of the nation placed before him," Cardinal Okogie said at a press conference in Lagos June 14.
"Yar'Adua promised the nation at his inauguration speech to run an open government," the cardinal added.
He also criticized the fuel-pump price hike introduced by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo just before he left office, describing it as "one policy not in the best interest of the common good, an unpopular action (that) should be rejected immediately."
Cardinal Okogie said the fuel-pump hike did not follow due process, and he called on Yar'Adua to reverse it, reminding the president that he had promised Nigerians he would be a listening leader.
The cardinal also criticized the current poor standard of education in Nigeria, especially at the college level.
"No Nigerian university was mentioned among the 500 top-class universities in the world. This is a sour pill to swallow," he said, asking the federal government to raise the university's standards.
Lecturers in most Nigerian universities have been on strike since April because of lack of teaching facilities, poor benefits and the cancellation of research grants by the Obasanjo administration.
He also condemned the ongoing lingering crisis in the Niger Delta between militant youths and the multinationals involved in crude oil explorations.
"It is sad that a region that has contributed immensely to the wealth creation of this country should remain a region of dehumanizing poverty, unemployment and a destroyed ecosystem," the cardinal said.
He urged politicians in the region to account for the way its resources have been used and appealed to young people to end the violence, which he called "a journey to the land of no return."
The youths have kidnapped several foreigners working with multinational oil companies and demanded huge ransoms. As a result, some oil companies have relocated.