Posted by: From Augustine Ehikioya in the nation
A major casualty of the frosty relationship between President Goodluck Jonathan and former President Olusegun Obasanjo was recorded yesterday.
Less than one week after delivering Obasanjo’s 78th birthday lecture, Gen. Martin Luther Agwai, chairman of the multibillion naira SURE-P scheme —the government’s much criticised answer to the crushing unemployment in the land— got the boot.
The sack of the former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) was yesterday described by watchers of the Jonathan presidency as another proof of the broken relationship between the President and his benefactor.
Gen. Agwai, a one-time Chief of Army Staff, in his lecture last Thursday at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) in Abeokuta, titled: “Imperative of a national security framework for the development and progress of Nigeria”, warned the military against partisan politics to maintain its integrity.
Rather than be deployed for political purposes, Gen Agwai said the military should concentrate on its duties so as to be able to tackle insurgency in the Northeast.
He spoke against the background of the criticism of the plan by the Federal Government to deploy soldiers for the March 28 and April 11 elections.
The opposition parties are opposed to the deployment of soldiers and their likely use by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
A statement by presidential spokesman Reuben Abati yesterday said: “In furtherance of his efforts to continuously re-energise and reposition agencies of the Federal Government for optimal service delivery, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has appointed Mr. Ishaya Dare Akau as the new chairman of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P).”
“Mr. Akau, whose appointment takes immediate effect, replaces Gen. Martin Luther Agwai (rtd.) who served as Chairman of the SURE-P until today.”
“The new SURE-P Chairman hails from Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State and holds Bachelors’ Degrees in the Arts and Law.”
“Mr. Akau comes to the job with years of experience as a high-level administrator in the nation’s public service. His record of service includes tenures as Chairman of the Kaduna State Universal Education Board and Chairman of the National Assembly Service Commission.”
“President Jonathan thanks the outgoing Chairman of SURE-P, Gen Agwai, for his service to the nation and wishes him well in his future endeavours.”
Gen Agwai was appointed SURE-P chairman on February 5, last year after serving as acting chairmn from November 24, 2013 when pioneer chairman and former Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Dr. Christopher Kolade resigned.
SURE-P is a multi-billion naira ad hoc agency created by the Federal Government to hold the accruals from the withdrawn subsidy on petroleum products.
The fund was intended to provide safety nets for the downtrodden, mostly hit by the subsidy cut.
It was created after the massive protests that rocked the country following the cut in subsidy in January 2012.