WE'LL WORK AS A TEAM – JONATHAN, SAMBO

By NBF News
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Vice-President Namadi Sambo being decorated with the national honour of Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger, by President Goodluck Jonathan (right) after his swearing-in at the Presidential Villa, Abuja… on Wednesday. Photo: NAN

President Goodluck Jonathan and Vice-President Alhaji Namadi Sambo have assured Nigerians that they will work harmoniously throughout their tenure.

They gave the assurance shortly after the swearing-in of Sambo as the new vice-president at the Council Chambers of the State House, Abuja on Wednesday.

The event, which was witnessed by the leadership of the National Assembly; a former Minister of the Federal Capital territory, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai; and a former adviser to ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo on domestic affairs, Mr. Andy Uba, was initially slated for 10am but it did not commence until about 4pm on Wednesday.

The vice-president was sworn in exactly 13 days after Jonathan was inaugurated as President, following the death of former President Umaru Yar'Adua.

Jonathan, who spoke first, assured Sambo that he was aware of all the issues that caused friction between principals and their deputies.

Drawing from his experience in the corridors of power, the President assured the vice-president that such issues would be avoided.

He said, 'I promise you full cooperation. The stories of crisis between President and vice-president will not arise.

'I will make sure that we work together as a team. I have the confidence to say that because of my political history, which is well known by everybody, I have a fair knowledge of areas of disagreement.

'I was a deputy governor before I became a governor, and I started as a vice-president before I became the president'.

The President noted that the fact that a peaceful transition had been concluded in the country, despite the grave dangers posed by recent challenges, showed that Nigeria had stabilised as a democracy.

He said, 'Today (Wednesday), we are witnessing a brief ceremony but it is quite unique and important in the political history of Nigeria.

'As a country that is just coming out of military government, we faced a major challenge that a number of people thought that democracy would be derailed.

'Fortunately for us, by the grace of God, the ceremony today has come to show that we have stabilised as a nation.'

Thanking the National Assembly for a speedy confirmation of Sambo's nomination, Jonathan expressed confidence in the Vice-President's abilities.

Jonathan said, 'I am not surprised that Sambo, a gentleman we all know, has a reputation and a clear record as the immediate past governor of Kaduna State.

'He is somebody I have worked with before at the National Economic Council level and he has been a member of the committees that I chaired, and I find him really worthy to hold this office.

'To him, he is not coming to a new terrain, because one of the key responsibilities of the vice-president is to chair the NEC and other related bodies and he has been a member, not just a passive member, a very active member.

'Your Excellency I congratulate you on this appointment, we all congratulate you and I hope you will bring your wealth of experience to bear.'

Jonathan informed Sambo that top of the challenges confronting their administration was how to revamp the nation's economy.

Responding, Sambo promised to forge a common front with the President.

The vice-president said, 'I have had course to work with Mr. President, just as he had said, closely in the National Economic Council, National Independent Power Committee, the Peoples Democratic Party building projects as well as several other committees and the experience had been worthwhile.

'We are by providence and fate provided with yet another opportunity to work closely in our current capacities and I believe that it will be the beginning of a partnership that would be beneficial to Nigerians.'

Sambo, who explained that he accepted the job with a deep sense of appreciation, said he was aware of the enormous challenges that come with the office.

He said, 'Your Excellency sir, it is with a deep sense of appreciation and the will to serve my Fatherland, that I accepted this enormous responsibility of the office of the vice-president .

'I am not oblivious of the challenges posed by the dictates of this office and we shall surmount such challenges, Allah willing.'

The promise by Jonathan and Sambo to have a crisis-free working relationship brought to the fore the fractious relationship Obasanjo had with his deputy, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar while in office.

Jonathan and the late Yar'Adua were, however, able to work in harmony.

The oaths of office and allegiance were administered on the new vice-president, who as at Tuesday was the Kaduna State Governor, by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Allousius Katsina-Alu at exactly 4.41pm.

Immediately after the oaths-taking, Sambo took a considerable time to shake hands with governors, who hailed and congratulated him in turn.

The SGF at the point invited Sambo to take his place on the seat of the Vice-President.

At a point, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, who was in charge of the ceremony had to plead with the vice-president to take his seat.

Ahmed said, 'Please be seated - there will be time for congratulations. His Excellency the Vice-President please be seated.'

'I am just exercising my privilege, for the time now,' the SGF added as the gathering laughed heartily.

Apart from the governors, principal officers of the National Assembly, led by the Deputy President of the Senate, Chief Ike Ekweremadu, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Dimeji Bankole, were also in attendance.

Former CJN, Justice Muhammed Uwais, was in attendance.

Former presidents and heads of state, as well as former vice-presidents, were absent.