More facts have emerged on the replacement of a ministerial nominee from Kano State, Dr. Maryam Shettima, popularly known as Maryam Shetty with another female candidate from the state, and the fresh nomination of a former Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, on Friday morning.
Maryam Shetty was replaced with Dr. Mairiya Mahmoud Bunkure, a former Commissioner for Higher Education in Kano State; while Keyamo was solely named the 48th ministerial nominee in a third communication to the Senate by President Bola Tinubu on ministerial appointments.
Inside sources told our correspondent on Friday that the office of the Chief of Staff to the President, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, may have tampered with the original list, which included Keyamo’s name before it was transmitted to the Senate on Thursday, July 27, 2023.
“After the Senate announced the second list of nominees without Keyamo’s name,” one of the sources said, “a very powerful delegation went the see the President on the matter on Thursday. The delegation was shocked that in spite of Keyamo’s contribution to the President’s election, and the personal assurance he had received, his name was missing.”
Another source present at the meeting said the President was visibly upset by the omission of Keyamo’s name on the first list of ministerial nominees and immediately directed that his name should be forwarded to the Senate.
Keyamo’s nomination brings to two the number of nominees from Delta State; Kano State retains two nominees, with former deputy governor of the State, Alhaji Ahmed Tijjani Gwarzo, still standing.
There have been growing concerns that the list of nominees from Lagos and a few other states may also have been tampered with, throwing up candidates that have left sections of the public scratching their heads and pointing accusing fingers at the office of the Chief of Staff.
LEADERSHIP’s efforts to reach out to Mr Gbajabiamila were rebuffed as phone calls and text messages to his phone line were not returned.
The unplanned expansion of Tinubu’s list of nominees, the largest first-tier ministerial nominations in recent times, has raised concerns about the cost of governance at a time when the government is calling for belt-tightening and asking Nigerians to sacrifice.
“Although we have heard of infighting between the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and that of the Chief of Staff,” a source said, adding that “the President cannot afford not to get a proper hold of the office of the principal staff at this early stage. Keyamo’s name was on the first list. How it suddenly disappeared makes me wonder!”
Meanwhile, no reason was given for the sudden replacement of Maryam Shetty from Kano State, whose name was sent alongside 18 others as second batch of 19 ministerial nominees, to the Senate on Wednesday, August 2.
Shetty, who was listed for screening this Friday by the Senate, got a shock of her life when she was informed of her replacement at the National Assembly complex.
According to the Senate’s Order Paper for Friday, August 4, 2023, obtained by LEADERSHIP, Shetty was listed as nominee number 12 to be attended to by the Senators. She had arrived the parliament building at about 10.40am for the screening exercise brimming with smiles while exchanging pleasantries with those that came her way.
She was dumbstruck when the news of her replacement broke out via another communication sent to the Senate by President Tinubu on Friday morning.