By Nuel Suji, Abuja – Former Senate Chief Whip and ministerial nominee, Sen. Udo Udoma has called on people of goodwill in Nigeria to come together to support President Muhammadu Buhari in bringing the desired change to the country.
Udoma who expressed surprised that he was invited to serve the current administration enjoined politicians of all political affiliations to close rank to work for the progress of the country.
Addressing Senators during the Screening exercise for the first batch of the ministerial nominees in Abuja Tuesday, the former lawmakers said, “These are very difficult times. Times in which all Nigerians of goodwill must come together to work with Mr. President to salvage the situation. The elections are over. We must now all work together for the betterment of our country.
“As President Buhari said in 1983, ‘This generation of Nigerians, and indeed future generations, has no country other than Nigeria. We shall remain here, and salvage it together”.
He said he was quite surprised to have been invited by President Buhari to serve as a Minister in his Cabinet, especially as he has not been been very active in partisan politics in recent years. He however, added that after a careful consideration, he “decided to accept the nomination for three reasons”
“Firstly, I am inspired by the personal example of President Muhammadu Buhari. I am impressed by his integrity, his abhorrence of corruption and his determination to run a transparent and accountable administration. His commitment to get Nigerians back to work thereby reducing unemployment; his resolve to tackle the current high level of insecurity, particularly the menace of Boko Haram; his identification with the common man and his desire to reduce the poverty and suffering of the masses; and above all, his commitment to re-orientate the Nigerian value system: these all resonate with me” the Akwa Ibom-born politician stated.
Udoma noted that if Mr. President believed he could help him to fix the country, he was flattered by his confidence in him, hence, decided to answer his call, adding “And I intend, if my nomination is confirmed by this Distinguished Senate, to give my very best in the discharge of what will be a very onerous responsibility, particularly because of the times we are in”.
Another point for his acceptance Senator Udoma indicated was his sincere belief in Mr. President’s all humility, that I have something to offer, stating that he had an extensive private sector experience in motivating and managing large numbers of people, in setting objectives and meeting them, in cost management and driving costs out of operations and most importantly, in turning around moribund institutions.
“I also understand the way public institutions work, having been the pioneer Chairman of the Corporate Affairs Commission, and more recently, the Chairman of the Securities & Exchange Commission, and I fully appreciate the very difficult challenges involved in implementing the public sector reforms which will be required to bring about the change Nigerians want” the Ministerial Nominee affirmed.
He also recalled; “I have chaired a Presidential Committee that examined the incentives required to stimulate private sector growth in the economy. I have also chaired a Federal Government Task Force that extensively examined the reforms needed in the oil industry, and supervised the production of a draft Petroleum Industry Bill for consideration by Government. And whilst a member of this Distinguished Senate, I served, for some time, as chairman of the Appropriation Committee, and subsequently as Senate Chief Whip”.
Senator Udoma assured that he was ready and prepared to hit the ground running in tackling the challenges inherent in trying to bring about change in the public sector, and to bring about change in Nigeria.
He lamented that, these are very difficult economic times for Nigeria, especially, “With the dramatic fall in the prices of crude oil, public sector finances are under pressure. Many States have difficulty in just paying salaries. The Naira is being buffeted; the values in the Nigerian Stock Exchange have been seriously eroded and we have experienced significant destruction of wealth as the economy continues to slow down”.