Former governor of Kano state Ibrahim Shekarau has been sworn in as the minister of education.
He takes over from Professor Ruqqayatu Rufai, who was removed last year, with Mr. Nyesom Wike, the minister of state for education, acting as supervising minister since then.
Shekarau, who was governor of Kano State from 2003 to 2011, recently left the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), complaining that he had been sidelined in the new party.
Born in 1955, Shekarau earned an education degree in mathematics from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in 1977.
He was a teacher and a civil servant until Major-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari endorsed him for Kano governorship on the platform of ANPP in 2003.
He defeated the then incumbent, Malam Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, in the election, but in a twist of fate, Kwankwaso took over from him in 2011 after Shekarau completed his two terms in office.
The defection of Kwankwaso from PDP to APC rekindled their old rivalry and the former governor promptly left the party.
Before the federal executive council meeting on Wednesday, three other ministerial candidates cleared by the senate recently were also sworn in by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The other new ministers are: Stephen Oru, minister of Niger Delta affairs; Abdul Bulama, minister of science and technology; and Clement Adebayo Adeyeye, minister of state for works.
Former minister of state for works Bashir Yuguda was redeployed to head the ministry of national planning. Yuguda is also to double as the minister of state for finance.
In his remarks, the president said the positions were not enviable, and urged the new ministers to serve the country to the best of their abilities.
He said: “Let me congratulate you for this appointment. But It is not an enviable appointment because in football match when you get to the injury time and a player is brought in you expect goals. This government has less than a year to go and you have been brought in this time, so you know the reason why you have been brought in.”
“You have no time to sleep, unfortunately for you because first you have to learn how to climb the ropes, because maybe it is a different setting, no matter how experienced you are if you go to something different you will need some time to adjust.
“But from your background we know that all of you are eminently qualified to be here and we know that it will not take you too many hours to settle down. We believe that you will perform not just to satisfy Mr President but to satisfy Nigerians.
“You are not just serving the President as a principal aide, but you are serving our motherland and in this we will expect the best from you especially at this time when there is global competition.”
PHOTO: The new ministers: Bulama (science and technology), Oru (state, Niger Delta affairs), Adedeji (state, worls) and Shekarau (education)