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Intrigues As Kaduna Lawmakers Reject Govs Cabinet Nominee

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The polity was jolted when the Kaduna State House of Assembly rejected a nominee for commissioner position presented by Governor Nasir el-Rufai, ISAIAH BENJAMIN writes

When the news of the rejection of a commissioner nominee by Governor Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai for the Ministry of Agriculture, Aliyu Jaafaru Abubakar broke out, it generated alot of controversies and various interpretations.

Some analysts were of the view that the governor may have nominated Abubakar with the knowledge that the State House of Assembly was going to reject him. But other pundits, aver that inspite of the nominees alleged criticism of some government policies which was the basis for his rejection by the House, the governor may have picked him on the basis of merit.

To others, his rejection may not be unconnected with power play and political scheming from those who apparently desire the position.

Governor el-Rufai had sent the name of Alhaji Aliyu Jaafaru Abubakar to the State Assembly for screening and confirmation as commissioner for Agriculture and like others nominees who appeared before the House for screening and confirmation, Alhaji Abubakar also made himself available for screening and possible confirmation only to be disappointed as the House turned down his confirmation on grounds that he criticised government policies. This is however the first time the State Assembly is rejecting a nominee from the governor since 2015.

The Speaker of House Alhaji Aminu Abdullahi Shagali who presided over the sitting, said the rejection of the nominee was as a result of his criticism of the present government since 2017 on his social media handles. The Speaker said, Alhaji Abubakar has been criticising one of the best policies of the present administration since 2017 which is education, on the issue of disengagement of the unqualified teachers in the state.

The Speaker while quoting some of his (Abubakar) posts on social platform, said “In your face book account, you said there is nothing like making kaduna state great again, it is a deceptive clinch used by politicians to deceive the masses, we should make kaduna great at appropriate time.

“It is a responsibility for those who are truly sincere not for those who are inherently sarcastic. You also said El-Rufai must learn to tackle issues with human face, you also said you are an advocate of change that goes to the root and cause not only the symptoms. You also said in the same post, stop comparing me with El-Rufai who thinks he is more intelligent than intelligence itself.

“You however said you are a humble human being that believes that all that glitters is not gold there is nothing authoritarian in insisting on the truth and never speak truth.”I detest insincerity as there are better ways of genuinely solving problems.”

Shedding more light on the rejection, shortly after the sitting, the chairman House committee on media and public affairs,  Alhaji Tanimu Musa, reiterated that the rejection of the Governors nominee was as a result of him criticising the present administration.

“The evil that men do live even after them, Jaafaru has been a critic of this administration on social media. He has been criticizing the government, so why did he want to work with the government he has been criticising before.”

For Mr Andrew Fadason, “The governor has a right to nominate whoever he wants based on his assessment of the person in question . Legislators rejecting him on those flimsy excuses of criticising government is unfortunate and to me an infringement on the governors right prerogative powers to choose his cabinet members.

“The fact remains that the governor knows the risk involved before nominating him, he must have found him worthy. The insinuation that the governor wants to embarrass him to me is not correct. He could not possibly have risked going that far to embarras the nominee, in my opinion, the lawmakers should have a rethink, I however get confused as to why the governor will say, he is proposing a replacement for the rejected nominee”, he said.

A veteran Journalist, Elder John Fwah said, “The nominee should not have been disqualified on the basis of criticising government policies. It was not fair for the man to have been rejected on the basis of objective criticism. The man is eminently qualified for the job. Governor el-Rufai will not pick an unqualified person to serve in his Government. It is rather unfortunate that the governor rather than finding ways of settling the issue was quick to say he is proposing a replacement for him”.

Meanwhile, Governor el-Rufai in his speech during the occasion of the swearing-in of the members of the Kaduna State Executive Council which held at the Council Chambers of Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, on Friday, 12, July 2019, let all in attendance acknowledge that the State Assembly did not confirm the nominee and was quick to add that he will be proposing a replacement for him which simply means that he is in agreement with the position of the legislators.

In that speech, he said, “Permit me to put on record our immense gratitude to the Kaduna State House of Assembly for the prompt confirmation and scrutinization of our commissioners. We note that the House was unable to confirm one of our nominees, and we would shortly be proposing a replacement”.

The Governor reiterated why he appointed the commissioners, “Therefore, we have appointed our commissioners to represent and work for the entire state. We chose insiders so that they can hit the ground running. That is why you can see so many familiar faces, selected for their sound education, solid experience and capacity.

“I thank members of the Executive Council that served from 2015-2019. We chose to refresh the team so that other colleagues can bring their experience from other parts of the government into the Executive Council. In fact, some of our appointees are too big to be commissioners, but we thank them for agreeing to serve. Afterall, Kaduna comes first”.

Going by the Governors speech above, could it also mean that Aliyu Jaafaru Abubakar who hails from Kauru local government area of the state and presently a lecturer in the department of Geography, Kaduna State University (KASU), was equally picked as an insider, with sound education, solid experience and capacity to deliver?

Again, will the State House of Assembly be right by rejecting the nominee on the bases of criticising government policies in which case the Governor would have known before nominating him, or could it mean that the legislators may want to test the might of the executive to proof political point that they will not be a rubber stamp? all of these posers are subject to various interpretations.

Meanwhile, the governor said, “The new commissioners must quickly settle in and deliver results. Each of you will receive and adhere to job descriptions that will be followed by Key Performance Indicators and Performance Agreements. Every Commissioner must in turn sign KPIs and Performance Agreements with the top management of their ministries. All are subject to strict quarterly reviews, because we must maximise the short time left to deliver service for our people” the governor stated.

As it stands now, the nominee of the governor has been rejected, the governor has disclosed that he will soon propose a replacement for him but whether or not the rejection will stand or the governor will indeed propose a replacement for him or return him back to the State Assembly for confirmation, only time will tell. For what it is worth a precedence has been set.

Sad enough, the rejected nominee could not be reached to get his reaction as at the time of this write up.

 

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