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Senate Screens Tinubu’s Ministerial Nominees

Twenty-eight nominees were sent to the red chamber by President Bola Tinubu for confirmation last Thursday.


Some of the ministerial nominees of President Bola Tinubu.

 

The Senate has commenced the screening of the first batch of ministerial nominees forwarded by President Bola Tinubu. 

The screening commenced at the upper chamber on Monday afternoon during plenary which has already commenced upon the arrival of Senate President Godswill Akpabio.

 

 

 

Some ministerial nominees including the ex-governor of Rivers State have arrived at the National Assembly complex for screening by the red chamber.

Channels Television reliably gathered that 20 of the 28 today ministerial nominees completed their documentation for the screening at the Senate today (Monday).

Those yet to complete their documentation, it was gathered, are currently out of the country.

 

About 24 hours after the Senate unveiled the President’s first batch of the ministerial list on Thursday, July 27, 2023, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Abdullahi Gumel, asked the ministerial nominees to complete their documentation ahead of the screening, which commences today (Monday).

The Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, presented Tinubu’s ministerial list before the Senate after a long wait by Nigerians.

Gbajabiamila, the immediate past Speaker of the House of Representatives, presented the list to Akpabio.

Section 147 (3) of the 1999 Constitution mandates the President to appoint at least one minister from each of the 36 states. However, 11 states – Adamawa, Bayelsa, Gombe, Kano, Kebbi, Kogi, Lagos, Osun, Yobe, Plateau and Zamfara — and the Federal Capital Territory don’t have ministerial nominees yet.

In his letter to the Senate titled, ‘Request For Confirmation Of ministerial nominees, the President said a supplementary ministerial list would be sent to the red chamber in due course.

Tinubu’s first set of nominations was overshadowed by politicians including ex-governors, serving and former members of the Senate and House of Representatives.

 

 

Significantly, four ex-governors made the list. They are Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi); Nasir El Rufai (Kaduna); and Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa).
Presidential spokesman, Dele Alake; acting National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Abubakar Kyari; Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Lateef Fagbemi; also made the list.

Twenty-five per cent of the nominees are women while 75% are men. The women are Betta Edu, Doris Aniche Uzoka, Hannatu Musawa, Nkiru Onyeojiocha, Stella Okotete, Nkiru Onyeojiocha, Uju Kennedy Ohaneye, and Iman Suleiman Ibrahim.

Many analysts had attributed the slow take-off of the Muhammadu Buhari administration to his late announcement of ministers. Buhari, who handed over to Tinubu after eight years, unveiled his cabinet six months after his inauguration in 2015.

However, Tinubu transmitted his ministerial list to the National Assembly a day before the expiration of his 60-day constitutional deadline of July 28, 2023.

Moreover, the Fifth Amendment to the 1999 Constitution mandates the President to transmit the names of his ministerial nominees to the National Assembly within 60 days of assumption of office.

Below is a breakdown of the 28 ministerial nominees according to the geopolitical zones:

North-East
Yusuf Maitama Tuggar – Bauchi
Ali Pate –Bauchi
Abubakar Kyari – Borno
Sani Abubakar Danladi – Taraba

North-West
Badaru Abubakar – Jigawa
Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufai – Kaduna
Ahmed Dangiwa – Katsina
Hannatu Musawa – Katsina
Bello Muhammad Goronyo – Sokoto

North Central
Lateef Fagbemi – Kwara
Muhammad Idris – Niger
Iman Suleiman Ibrahim – Nasarawa
Joseph Utsev – Benue

South-West
Olubunmi Tunji Ojo – Ondo
Dele Alake – Ekiti
Olawale Edun – Ogun
Waheed Adebayo Adelabu – Oyo

South-South
Nyesom Wike – Rivers
Abubakar Momoh – Edo
Betta Edu – Cross River
Ekperikpe Ekpo – Akwa Ibom
Stella Okotette – Delta
John Enoh – Cross River

South-East
Uche Nnaji – Enugu
Doris Aniche Uzoka – Imo
David Umahi – Ebonyi
Nkeiruka Onyejocha – Abia
Uju Kennedy Ohaneye – Anambra

12:41 pm –  The Senate commences session with a prayer by the Senate President Godswill Akpabio.

After attending to some other issues, the Senate moves to the main business of the day which is screening of the ministerial nominees.

The Senate approved that the nominees will come into the chamber for screening one after the other after which the Senate President ruled that the Senate dissolves into Committee of the Whole for commencement of the screening.

Abubakar Momoh from Edo State is the first nominee to be admitted into the chamber for screening.

A two time member of the Edo State House of Assembly and former member of House of Representatives, Momoh answered questions from the Senators.

He promised to work in line with ideas and programmes of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). He was subsequently asked to take a bow and go.

At 1:51 pm, a second nominee, the immediate governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike was allowed into the chamber. Before becoming a governor in 2015, Wike served as the Minister of State for Education.

His nomination as minister this time has however generated controversy, as he is still a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Asked if they have any objection against Wike’s nomination, the Senators from Rivers State said they are solidly behind the former governor and believe that he will perform as a minister. Wike was asked to take a bow and leave.

Professor Joseph Utsev is the third nominee to take the stage. He speaks about his educational qualifications.

There was some drama however when Senators grilled him over discrepancies in his bio data.

Utsev started his introductory comments at exactly 02:07pm immediately after the Senate screened ex-governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike.

After some explanation by Utsev, Senator Abba Moro, from Benue South Senatorial District, urged his colleagues to give the nominee the benefit of the doubt.

Akpabio thereafter said the discrepancy in Utsev’s biodata must have been a typo error.

At exactly 02:53pm, Deputy Senate President, Barau Jibrin, in Akpabio’s temporary absence, asked Utsev to “bow and go and if there is anything we will get back to you”.

Next up for screening is Senator Abubakar Kyari. Kyari, who is currently the Acting National Chairman of the ruling APC, is from Borno and was a member of the 8th and 9th Senate.

He was introduced by the deputy senate president and subsequently asked to take a bow and leave.

Another former Senator, John Enoh from Cross River State takes the stage after Kyari.

Enoh, who was a senator in the 8th senate and a three-time member of the House of Representatives, said he he chaired different committees including finance and appropriate.

Being a former Senator, he was asked to take a bow and go.

Bello Mohammed from Sokoto State takes the stage and read out his educational qualifications.

His credentials was however scrutinized by the Senators after questions were raised about his university admission on secondary school results that included no more than two credits.

In his response, Muhammed told the chamber he had other secondary school results that he “all passed” which he admittedly did not attach to his CV “because we are talking of secondary school certificate”.

Senator representing Sokoto South, Aminu Tambuwal, said he had worked closely with the nominee and appealed his colleagues to confirm him.

The immediate past governor of Jigawa State, Mohammed Abubakar Badaru. He served as governor from 2015 to 2023.

Badaru narrated how he started as a trader and built his business into a multi-billion naira conglomerate.

Without being asked questions, he was asked to take a bow and go.

Senator Abubakar Sani Danladi from Taraba State is next to undergo screening. The former deputy governor and acting governor of Taraba State introduced himself.

After Senators from Taraba gave their approval for Danladi to be confirmed, he was asked to take a bow and leave.

The senate president, however, sort clarification from Danladi allegation that he was barred by the Supreme Court from holding public office, but the nominee attributed that to handiwork of his enemy, declaring that at no point did the supreme court give any judgement barring him for 10 years.

Uju Kennedy Ohanenye from Anambra State takes the stage for her screening. She spoke about her passion for helping the poor in the society.

When Ohanenye finished speaking, the Senator representing Anambra Central, Victor Umeh, appealed to his colleagues to confirm the nominee based on her qualification.

Senator Ifeanyi Ubah also appealed to the Senate to confirm Ohanenye claiming that she spent her money on charity.

She was subsequently asked to take a bow and leave.

Tunji Ojo, a member of the 9th House of Representatives from Ondo State. After taking on few questions from the Senators, Ojo was asked to take a bow and go.

Next is Nkeiruka Onyejeocha from Abia State. She was a member of House of Representatives from 2007 to 2023.

Senator Darlington Nwokocha, who spoke on behalf of other Senators from Abia State, said Onyejeocha is a high-ranking lawmaker who will do well as a Minister. She was subsequently asked to take a bow and leave.

Betty Edu, the National women leader of the APC is the next nominee to take to the stage.  Edu, who is a medical doctor speaks about educational qualifications and career achievements.

Edu was recommended for confirmation by Senator Gbenga Daniel from Ogun State. She was asked to take a bow and leave.

Next on the stage is Iman Suleiman Ibrahim from Nasarawa State. The former DG of NAPTIP spoke about her qualifications and achievements and said she will bring all that to work if confirmed as a Minister.

After getting support from Senators from Nasarawa and taking few questions from some Senators, Ibrahim was asked to take a bow and go.

At the end, 14 nominees were screened out of 28 after which the Senate Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele, moved a motion for the Senate to revert to plenary to report progress.

The Minority Leader, Darlingtom Nwokocha, seconded the motion and it was carried.