“The 9th Assembly has implicit confidence In President Muhammadu Buhari’s patriotic personal commitment to a steady realisation of the Next Level agenda” – Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo Agege. It is in the spirit of this belief that the Senate cancelled its recess which was to start on the 26th of July 2019 till September, so as to meet up with the screening of PMB’s ministerial nominees. It also ruled to sit on Fridays and Mondays so that it can conclude the screening in due time. The anxiety in the polity over the ministerial list had reached a crescendo, which made the wait seem longer than it actually was. Arguably, the list of 2015 came in 6 months after PMB was sworn in and this administration’s list is a far cry from the previous one both in terms of timing and content. The actual wait period is barely 2 months when we recognise that this administration started from May 29th, 2019, or perhaps the new democracy day of June 12 2019. Meanwhile, the anxiety had built up right from the date of the Presidential elections in March 2019, making it a wait of 4 months which is an erroneous calculation. Nigerians have compared the timing of the new British Prime Minister’s ministerial list which was done under 24 hrs as against PMB’s 2 months, while not considering the fact that PM Boris Johnson has to choose from a list of just 311 of his party’s parliamentarians as against PMB’s pool of millions of party faithful, technocrats and whatnot. PMB’s nominees have to also go through a rigorous security screening which takes nothing less than a month. Boris Johnson’s nominees do not undergo such screenings as they are parliamentarians already. Nigeria’s selection process is a much more complex and diverse scenario with so many parameters coming into play for the necessary balancing of cultural, religious, regional and party affiliations. To get it right is to have no list at all in Nigeria as many have resonated that ‘people will cry for the list, and people will cry over the list’.
The next level of argument is as to whether the nominees are technocrats or not. One of the nominees; Festus Keyamo is a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), a social crusader, columnist and a human rights activist. He was named by the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee in 2017, as one of the most outstanding lawyers to be awarded the rank of SAN. He was also awarded the Global Human Rights Award by the United States Global Leadership Council for his efforts over the years in respect of promotion and protection of human rights and the crusade for accountable governments in Nigeria. He was appointed the Director Strategic Communications and official spokesperson of PMB’s presidential campaign of 2019. We also have Mr. Sunday Akin Dare, the nominee from Oyo State, who is the Executive Commissioner (Stakeholder Management) at the Nigeria Communications Commission. He holds a BSc. in International Relations and MSc. in Law and Diplomacy. He later proceeded to Harvard University under the prestigious Harvard Nieman Journalism fellowship from 2000 to 2001 where he studied Media and Public Policy. In 2011 he won the Reuters Foundation Journalism Research Fellowship, University of Oxford UK, where he researched ‘New Media and Citizen Journalism in Africa – a case study: Using New Media Tools and Citizen Journalism to Investigate Corruption in Nigeria. Mr. Dare has decades of multimedia journalism experience in Nigeria spanning 25 years. He worked as a chief with the VOA in Washington DC and was a founding member of the Nigeria Weekly Magazine, The Tempo and The News in the days of the military. A lady nominee, Sadiya Farouk from Zamfara state has 2 master’s degrees, one in Business Administration and the other in International Relations and Diplomacy and has been the Federal Commissioner of the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons. We also have Senator Adeleke Olorunnimbe Mamora from Lagos state. He was Speaker Lagos state House of Assembly in 1999 and was elected Senator representing Lagos east in 2007. He obtained a BSc, Health Sciences, Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) University of Ife and became a health practitioner. He was Medical Director of a medical centre from 1997 to 1998.
He was also company medical adviser from 1988 to 1992. While in the senate, he sponsored the Bill’s on Tenure of Office, Surgeon-general of Nigeria and the Repeal and amendment of the Tobacco Control Act.
Other sterling nominees include Sharon Ikeazor Esq. who has 27 years’ experience as a Solicitor and Advocate with vast knowledge and experience in the field of business development for foreign multinational companies, project management, banking administration, national and international government liaison. Her last appointment was at PTAD (pension transitional arrangement directorate) where she served as the Executive Secretary. She restored hope in pensioners by sanitizing the system which was bedevilled by corruption and pensioners now receive their pensions seamlessly. It is no surprise that her nomination has received a lot of commendation from pensioners’ associations nationwide.
We also have Ambassador Zubairu Dada from Niger state who holds a B.A and an M.A. He served as a director at MAMSER from 1992 to 1993 and as a director at the National Orientation Agency from 1993 to 1999. He also served as the Nigerian Ambassador to Poland. He was a member of the governing board of the Niger state Council for Arts and Culture and numerous other boards in Niger state. He is a member of the Nigerian Institute of Management and member of the Institute of public relations and the Nigerian Society of International laws.
One of the returning nominees is Mallam Adamu Adamu who holds a BSc in Accounting from ABU Zaria and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Columbia University. Adamu is a polyglot, being fluent in Arabic, French, and Persian. He was a writer whose work was often syndicated by international news agencies like the London based Crescent International. He worked in Bauchi state government as an accountant and later became a journalist and rose to become the Deputy Editor of now defunct New Nigerian Newspapers. He served as Company Secretary to the Petroleum Trust Fund with General Muhammadu Buhari as Chairman.
The next level is about to kick start with a new cabinet in place to build upon the achievements of the last administration. Certain key figures have been retained for continuity of vital projects such as in power and in the railways. Government just signed a multi-billion dollar contract with Siemens and my guess is Fashola will be seeing to the completion of that agreement that will provide 25000 MW of power in 2023 with the corresponding adequate distribution network. We have close to 29 new names and will definitely inject some fresh air in the council chambers. There are quite a number of nominees in their late 40s which should give a touch of youth compared to the previous list of 2015. We hope that we will see more youths coming in as heads of government companies and parastatals as the next level has begun its appointments. We hope to see more women too as the minister’s list did not record much increase from the 2015 list. With this list, I dare to say that PMB has sticked his landing.
– Tahir is Talban Bauchi.
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