Nigeria’s ‘new’ health, education ministers report for duty

Osagie Ehanire
Osagie Ehanire, the Minister of Health

The newly appointed health ministers, Osagie Ehanire and Olorunimbe Mamora, and education ministers, Adamu Adamu and Emeka Nwajuiba, on Wednesday, assumed office after being sworn in by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Mr Ehanire takes charge as Minister of Health while Mr Mamora is now Minister for State for health.

Health

The newly inaugurated health ministers reported at the Federal Ministry of Health, in the Federal Secretariat, Abuja, a few hours after the inauguration.

Addressing journalists, Mr Ehanire said he would be following up with the agenda of the president on the delivery of quality healthcare delivery to the masses.

Mr Ehanire said he would implement Mr Buhari’s promise, which is the revitalisation of the health sector.

Mr Buhari during his campaign had promised to revive the sector and make healthcare accessible to Nigerians especially those in the remote parts of the country.

He also promised to overhaul the secondary and tertiary health institutions in the country in order to reduce medical tourism.

Agenda

Mr Ehanire said: “What we intend to do as the health ministers is what the president intends to do for the sector. This is to provide quality healthcare system and delivery for the people.

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“We need to expand the health coverage, particularly the primary healthcare centres to achieve universal health coverage. We want to improve healthcare, especially hospitals and also improve health security in the country.”

Mr Mamora said he would be working closely with Mr Ehanire, “to achieve the targeted goal of moving the health sector forward.”

“Whatever we are doing will not be our agenda. It will be the agenda of the president, we are trying to help him achieve and we have to key into that,” he said.

He also said the duo would look into how to solve professional rivalry in the sector.

He said rather than throw money at challenges, the team would work to address challenges in the sector frontally.

He also said the ministry would work with other agencies and ministries such as water resources “as water supply is key to reducing many diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever among others in the country.”

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“If we can get water resources and other agencies to assist, it will go a long way in tackling most of the health challenges in the country,” he said.

Adamu takes charge of education
Messrs Adamu and Nwajiuba also assumed duties.
The ministers, who both arrived at the education ministry at about 2:45 p.m. on Wednesday after their swearing in ceremony at the Presidential Villa were welcomed by staff of the Ministry of Education.

Mr Adamu, who is returning to head the ministry, then addressed the staff.

He said both officials and the former Minister of State for Education, Anthony Anwukah, “had laboured for the ministerial strategic plan to the point of implementation before their tenure ended.”

“We have laboured over the time on the strategic plan for the education and only to the point of implementation then we had to leave. I had the opportunity to remind President Muhammadu Buhari that the nation is expecting so much from him,” he said.

“When we were sent here the first tenure, it took me one and half year to understand the ministry. It also surprised when I was re-assigned to the ministry of education. I had thought I would be sent to another ministry where I would have to learn all over again. I know that I was coming back to a family,” he said.

Mr Adamu also said his state counterpart, Mr Nwajuiba, abandoned his doctorate degree programme to serve in the cabinet.

Meanwhile, Mr Nwajiuba, who was once the Chairman, Board of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, said he is at home at the ministry.

“I am comfortable that I do not have to go to another ministry but here with my senior brother (Adamu) at the ministry of education so I can be tutored and well directed,” he said.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono, later presented his handover notes to Mr Adamu.

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