11 March 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – President Goodluck Jonathan sacked the Chairman of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme, SURE-P, Gen. Martin Luther Agwai (rtd).
SURE-P was set up by the administration after the January 2012 protests, which erupted after government announced removal of subsidy from petroleum products, to ensure equitable investment and management of the subsidy funds.
The President immediately appointed Mr. Ishaya Dare Akau as the new Chairman.
Agwai was appointed to replace Dr. Christopher Kolade, who resigned from the post.
A statement issued yesterday by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati said the decision to relieve Agwai was in furtherance of the President’s efforts to continuously re-energize and reposition agencies of the Federal Government for optimal service delivery.
Akau, whose appointment as the new SURE-P chairman takes immediate effect hails from Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State and holds Bachelors’ degrees in the Arts and Law.
The statement further said Akau comes to the job with years of experience as a high-level administrator in the nation’s public service.
It said that his record of service includes tenures as chairman of the Kaduna State Universal Education Board and chairman of the National Assembly Service Commission.
Jonathan thanked Agwai for his service to the nation and wished him well in his future endeavours.
Our correspondent learnt that although no official reason was given for the sack of Agwai, it may not be unconnected to his attending former President Obasanjo’s birthday celebration in Abeokuta, Ogun State, during which he even delivered a public lecture.
While delivering the lecture titled “Imperatives of National Security: Framework for Development and Progress of Nigeria”, Agwai said the military should design an effective way to tackle the security challenge in the country and steer clear of politics.
He stated that the leaders and the citizens should accept change in order for the country to experience the desired growth and development, saying it would not augur well for the country if the military is involved in politics.
There has been no love lost between Obasanjo and President Jonathan in recent times.
The former president, who recently dumped the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has been critical of the Jonathan administration.
It was learnt that the absence of any senior Federal Government official at the birthday celebration may not be unconnected to the frosty relationship between the two men.
It was also learnt that Agwai, by attending the function acted contrary to the directive of the Presidency, which barred any government functionaries from honouring the former president.