From Juliana Taiwo, Abuja
President Bola Tinubu, yesterday, swore in George Akume as the 21st secretary to the government of the federation (SGF) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The event, witnessed by dignitaries, including some service and former former governors, saw Akume taking his Oath of Allegiance and Oath of Office inside the Council Chambers of the Villa.
Speaking to State House Correspondents in tears, the immediate past minister of special duties, pledged that he would not disappoint Nigerians.
He said he was privileged out of millions of Nigerians to serve the nation in that capacity.
“To have been selected to serve in this exalted position out of over 200 million Nigerians, it is a challenge to serve in line with the oath I have taken today. I assure Nigerians I will do my best, I will not disappoint the president, I will not disappoint this country and I will not disappoint my party.
“I believe Nigerians will find fulfilment in my responsibilities as I discharge that in their interest. It is an honour to serve the country and I am strongly persuaded that guided by Almighty God, I will do my best and Nigerians will really have to reap the dividends of democracy.”
The SGF noted that his wealth of experience will be brought to bear as he begins his work, adding that he will follow the footsteps of President Tinubu.
“I am someone who has been on the scene for quite some time and I know the man we are serving, Tinubu as president and we just have to follow his footsteps. He has never been in the gallery, where is always full of critics. He has always been in the arena, where the doers are. He is a doer, so we have to tag along. We must never afford to fail,” Akume said.
Immediate past SGF, Boss Mustapha, advised his successor to brace up for the challenges ahead because it is a tough job he is taking.
“This is a tough job; I wouldn’t want to mince words about that. It is an extremely important office in terms of coordination of government’s activities and also stringing government policies, programmes and projects.
“It is his responsibilities to guide the government. Under his office he has six permanent secretaries. It is a combination of five to six ministries in one place that will be reporting to him on different agencies.
“But the most important part of this office is the fact that he is the beam light of this government in terms of driving, coordination and policy formulation. So. it is not a small job but I am confident that he has been ably prepared and groomed for this job and I believe he will take the office a notch higher than where I am leaving it,” Mustapha said.
Benue State Governor, Hyacinth Alia, said he was elated that out of the 36 states, Benue was chosen to produce the secretary to government.
Akume, 70, was governor of Benue State from May 1999 to May 2007.