President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday ended the long and anxious wait for the list of his new cabinet members as he sent the names of 43 nominees for screening and confirmation as ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN).
There are seven women in the male-dominated list and 14 members of the immediate past cabinet. Another highlight of the list was the selection of two nominees each from six states of the federation. Each of the states represents the country’s six geo-political zones.
The states are Anambra (South East), Bauchi (North East), Edo (South-South), Kwara (North Central), Kano (North West), Lagos (South West).
The women nominees are Zainab Ahmed (Kaduna), Sharon Ikeazor (Anambra), Sadiya Farouq (Zamfara), Ambassador Maryam Katagum (Bauchi), Gbemisola Saraki (Kwara), Ramatu Tijani (Kogi), and Pauline Tallen (Plateau).
The returning ministers are Lai Mohammed (Kwara), Dr .Chris Ngige (Anmabra), Ogbonnaya Onu (Ebonyi), Hadi Serika (Katsina), Rotimi Ameachi (Rivers), Adamu Adamu (Bauchi), Babatunde Fashola (Lagos),
Others re-nominated by the president are Geofrey Onyeama (Enugu), Muahammad Bello (Adamawa) , Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed (Kaduna), Mustapha Baba Shehuri (Borno), Suleiman Adamu (Jigawa), and Osagie Enahere (Edo).
Although, Nigerian youths sent a list of 100 persons to Buhari for consideration as ministers, aides and other offices, the president’s list did not reflect that.
The unveiling of the ministers-in-waiting by Buhari yesterday came five months after he was elected on February 23, 2019 and 55 days after he took the oath of office for a second term on May 29, 2019.
Before he sent the list to the Senate, Nigerians had mounted pressure on the president to act fast. Buhari confirmed the intense pressure on him recently when he declared that “I am under pressure to name my ministers.”
Upon receiving the list of the nominees yesterday, the Senate promptly suspended its rules and planned recess this week in order to commence the screening of the cabinet members.
The screening which commences today, according to the Senate, would be extended to the nights, this Friday and Monday next week.
The Red Chamber announced that the recess which senators were supposed to embark on tomorrow had been shifted to next week.
Senator Godswill Apkabio (Akwa Ibom), Ngige, Senator George Akume (Benue) and others would face the Senate today.
The Senate spokesman, Senator Adedayo Adeyeye said that they would complete the screening of the nominees without delay.
He said: “It (screening) commences tomorrow morning (today). We’ve altered our timetable not to go on recess this Thursday. We are going next week. We have suspended our rules. Plenary will hold on Friday and Monday. We are going to work in odd hours including nights. We will sit till late hours everyday. On Friday, we will sit till we are tired. We could sit up to 10pm in order to conclude the confirmation by next week,”
He said all senators had promised to work for Nigerians, adding that “we will work in unusual hours and we want the process to be thorough so that no one will accuse the Senate that we delayed the process.”
A member of the Senate ad-hoc committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Uba Sani (APC, Kaduna Central) said that they would ask people who usually take a bow to go and answer questions.
He said: “We want to make sure that whoever that is nominated by the president say something; whether you are a former senator or member of the House of Representatives.”
“We cannot prejudge because the people the president nominated are people of high integrity. The constitution states that people nominated by the president as ministers must be screened and confirmed by the Senate and we will ensure they go through the process,” Sani said.
According to the lawmaker, the Senate is an independent body that can reject or confirm any nominee, adding that if a nominee performed below expectation, the lawmakers will take a stand.
“It’s not just a ritual. We are postponing our recess. We will now sit at weekend up to the night. We will not ask them to take a bow and go. They must answer questions,” Sani stated.
The Senate leader, Senator Abdullahi Yahaya said that the screening would be the Upper House issue and not partisanship.
According to Yahaya, the lawmakers would do a full screening and not a partial exercise and advised the nominees to contact their senators from their s states for a smooth process.
He said each of the nominees facing corruption cases went through security clearance, adding that if they were cleared to be ministers by the security agencies, the Senate won’t say no.
Also, former governor of Kano State and the senator representing Kano Central, Ibrahim Shekarau, said President Buhari assembled the best team.
Shekarau who commented on the calibre of people the president nominated as ministers, added that they were competent Nigerians.
Shekarau said: “We trust the president for giving Nigeria the best team. I don’t want to appraise their performances now until they assume office, but I am satisfied that it will be better than what we had before.
“They are men and women of character. For us at the Senate, we will be screaming them. Those of them that will be cleared, Mr. President will not be disappointed on their performance,” Shekarau said.
While reading Buhari’s letter on the floor of the Red Chamber, the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan, confirmed that the screening exercise would commence today.
He gave the names of the ministerial nominees as Dr. Ikechukwu Ogar (Abia), Muhammadu Musa Bello (Adamawa), Sen. Godswill Apkabio (Akwa Ibom), Dr. Chris Ngige (Anambra), Sharon Ikeazor (Anambra), Adamu Adamu (Bauchi), Mariam Katagum (Bauchi), Timipre Sylva (Bayelsa), Senator George Akume (Benue), Mustapha Baba Shehuri (Borno), Goddy Agba (Cross River), and Festus Keyamo (SAN – Delta).
Others included Ogbonnaya Onu (Ebonyi), Osagie Enanire (Edo), Clement Abba (Edo), Otunba Richard Adeniyi Adebayo (Ekiti), Geoffrey Onyema (Enugu), Ali Isa Pantami (Gombe), Emeka Uwajuba (Imo), Engr. Suleiman Adamu (Jigawa), Zainab Ahmed (Kaduna), Dr. Muhammad Mahmud (Kaduna), Sabi Nanono (Kano), Maj-Gen Bashir Saleh (rtd) – Kano), Senator Hadi Serika (Katsina), Abubakar Malami SAN (Kebbi), Ramatu Tijjani (Kogi), and Lai Mohammed (Kwara).
The rest are Senator Gbemisola Saraki (Kwara), Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN – Lagos), Senator Adeleke O. Mamora (Lagos), Mohammed Abdullahi (Nasarawa), Ambassador Zubairu Dada (Niger), Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite (Ogun), Senator Tayo Alasoadura (Ondo), Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Sunday Dare (Oyo), Pauline Tallen (Plateau), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Mohammed Maigeri Dingyadi (Sokoto), Engr. Saleh Maman (Taraba), Abubakar Aliyu (Yobe), and Sadiya Umar Farouq (Zamfara).
One of the nominees, Hajia Tijani was born in Budon community in Lokoja local government area, Kogi State. She started her political career with late Prince Abubakar Audu under the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) and was the women leader of the party. Hajia Tijani retained the position when the All Progressive Congress (APC) blossomed in the state when late Prince Audu held sway.
The nominee from Nasarawa State, Abdudullahi hails from Karu local government area and was born on the 21st April, 1968. He is married with three children.
Abdullahi attended Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto from 1985-1990. He also attended the Nigeria Law School, Lagos from 1990-1991. He is an associate member of Nigerian Bar Association and also a member of International Bar Association.
Between January 1996 and February 1997, Abdullahi was the deputy chairman of Karu council and later the deputy general manager /company secretary of Nasarawa Investment & Property Development Company Ltd, Lafia.
From September 2003 toAugust 2005, the nominee served as the attorney-general/commissioner for Justice in Nasarawa.
In 2017, he became the secretary to the state government (SSG), , a position he held till May 28t, 2019.
Alhaji Bello was born in 1959 in Adamawa State. A graduate of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, where he obtained a BSc in Management with a major in Banking and Finance in 1980 as well as an MBA in the same field.
As an expert in banking, industry, business and public service, he was at various times in charge of credit and marketing at the ICON Merchant Bank Plc and later a director at the defunct Habib Bank Plc and several other top ranking firms.
Zubairu Dada was the ambassador of Nigeria to Poland under former President Olusegun Obasanjo administration. A journalist by profession, Zubairu rose in the Niger State civil service to the position of director-general, Ministry Information equivalent of permanent secretary now, and later joined the then MAMSER as director. He hails from Paikoro local government of Niger State.
Senator Gbemisola Saraki is the eldest daughter of the late Second Republic Senate leader, Dr. Abubakar Saraki.
GRS as she popularly called by her supporters and admirers, she represented Ilorin West/Asa federal constituency of Kwara State in the House of Representatives between 1999 and 2003 and later represented Kwara Central in the Senate between 2003 and 2011. She was also the gubernatorial candidate of the defunct Allied Congress of Nigerians (ACPN) during the 2011 general elections.
Lai Mohammed hails from Oro in Irepodun local government area of Kwara State. He was the gubernatorial candidate of the Action Alliance (AA) in the state in 2003. He served as information and culture minister in the first term of President Buhari.
Pauline Tallen hails from Plateau State where she served as a deouty governor under the PDP administration before she defected to the APC.
Arch. Adegbite was born on Saturday, June 2nd, 1962 at Ibadan, Oyo State into the family of the late Alhaji and Alhaja Adegbite.
He attended Government College, Ibadan and proceeded to the then Ogun State Polytechnic, Abeokuta where he did his advanced level in 1981 before he went to the University of Lagos, Akoka, to study Architecture and obtained a Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES Arch) in 1985.
In 1988, he bagged the Masters of Environmental Design (MED. Arch) and a Master of Science in Construction Management (MSc. Constr. Mgt) from the same institution in 2000.
He founded Lekan Adegbite Associates, a consulting firm where he was the principal partner and Adkon Limited, a ‘Design and Build’ company of which he was the chief executive officer in 1992. He was the immediate past commissioner for Works and Infrastructure in Ogun State.
PMB’s Ministerial List Is Colourless – PDP
Meanwhile, the opposition PDP has described Buhari’s ministerial list as “colourless, stagnant, uninspiring and does not convey any sense of hope or purposeful governance under the APC.
The party added that to the chagrin and utter disappointment of Nigerians, the list was replete with incompetent individuals who failed in their erstwhile ministerial assignments and left their ministries in a shambles.
The PDP national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said that “indeed, such a ministerial list can only come from a leadership that does not have the mandate of the people. It is a complete waste of time and cannot meet the expectation of Nigerians.
“The list has further shown President Buhari and APC’s insensitivity and disdain for Nigerians and it does not in any way reflect their hope and eagerness for a better Nigeria.
“Furthermore, in recycling failed yesterday’s men for today’s assignment, President Buhari and the APC have left no one in doubt that they have no vision to move our nation out of the economic and security predicaments into which they have plunged us in the last four years.
“A committed and responsive leadership would have widely consulted with Nigerians before compiling a ministerial list, given the current situation in the country.
“If, indeed, President Buhari and the APC mean well for Nigerians and are interested in revamping our critical sectors, they would not have ended up with a list of those who will help conceal the huge corruption in the Buhari administration in the last four years, as well as those who will assist in channelling funds to individuals and groups used by the APC to rig the 2019 presidential election.
“Strangely, the list has no space for the youths demography, those to whom the future is said to belong,” the statement said.
The PDP further said the only way the country can come out of its present economic and security quandary is “the retrieval of Atiku Abubakar’s stolen presidential mandate at the tribunal.”
Yakasai Picks Hole In Ministerial List
Also yesterday, elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, lampooned the ministerial list.
Yakasai, in a statement he issued, said that the list made a mockery of the president’s anti-corruption war.
He said: “The new ministerial list submitted by the president to the Senate is representative enough, but the nomination of certain people perceived to be fantastically corrupt made mockery of the president’s war against corruption.
“The fact that returnees are many means the policy of the new government will not be much different with that of the outgoing. My only observation is that since majority of the nominees are already known to the president his delay in submitting ministerial nomination is unjustifiable,” he stated.
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