By YVONNE HAIP
ACTING Prime Minister Sam Abal returned to his Wabag electorate in Enga to a chief’s welcome last Friday for the first time in his capacity as acting prime minister, The National reports.
He was accompanied by Public Service Minister Moses Maladina, Mining Minister and Kompian-Ambum MP John Pundari, Enga Governor Peter Ipatas, Western Highlands Governor Tom Olga, North Waghi MP Benjamin Mul and acting Police Commissioner Tony Wagambie.
Thousands of people throughout Enga turned up to welcome Abal and his delegation, including his wife.
As the people stood watch, church elders dedicated Abal to the Lord and urged him to be the “leader to lead the people, pastor to feed the people and shepherd to look after the people”.
They said Abal had been bestowed a huge responsibility and challenged him to serve the country with integrity and honesty as a God-fearing leader.
The acting prime minister said he was committed to do the best for the people and called for Christians throughout the country to pray for PNG and receive God’s blessings.
He also cleared the air that there was no vacancy in the office of the prime minister as he had be given the power to perform the responsibilities of the prime minister.
He said he would do his job in consultation with other senior ministers to carry on with the policies and programmes implemented under the leadership of sidelined prime minister and East Sepik MP Sir Michael Somare.
“I did not ask for or make a move for the post of acting PM nor the deputy prime minister’s seat but it was Sir Michael’s decision, through his own wisdom (to appoint Abal as deputy prime minister),” he said.
He also committed the office of the prime minister to God because, without God, the country would not progress and asked Christians to pray for guidance during these hard times.
Other parliamentarians who witnessed the occasion indicated their support for Abal and promised to work with him.