July 18, 2024

The Senate has announced that it will commence the screening and confirmation of the 28 ministerial nominees forwarded by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Monday, July 31, 2023.

The Senate made the announcement on Thursday in plenary after Tinubu through his Chief of Staff, Femi Gbajabiamila, presented 28 names as the first batch of nominees for ministerial positions.

The nominees as announced by the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, are Mohammed Idris from Niger State, Abubakar Momoh from Edo State, Ambassador Yusuf Maitama Tuggar from Bauchi State, Mallam Nasir El -Rufai from Kaduna State, Barr. Hannatu Musawa from Katsina State and Chief Uche Nnaji from Enugu State.

Others are Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) from Kwara State, Dr. Betta Edu from Cross River State, Dr. Dorris Aniche Uzoka from Anambra State and Mr Mohammed Goronyo from Sokoto State.

Also on the list are the Deputy Leader of the Senate, Senator David Umahi from Ebonyi State, Nyesom Wike from Rivers State, Badaru Abubakar from Jigawa State, and Olawale Edun from Ogun State.

Others are Hon. Ekperipe Ekpo from Akwa Ibom State, Hon. Nkiru Onyeojiocha from Abia State, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji Ojo from Ondo State, Hon. Stella Okotette from Delta State, Hon. Uju Kennedy Ohaneye from Anambra State, Dele Alake from Ekiti State, Mr. Waheed Adebayo Adelabu from Oyo State and Mrs Iman Suleiman Ibrahim from Plateau State.

Professor Ali Pate from Bauchi State, Professor Joseph Utsev from Benue State, Senator Abubakar Kyari from Borno State, Senator John Enoh from Cross River State, Senator Sani Abubakar Danladi from Taraba State and Arch Ahmed Dangiwa also made the list.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Yemi Adaramodu (APC Ekiti South) after the plenary briefed newsmen on how the screening and confirmation of the nominees would be done.

“We are starting the screening on Monday without any definite day or time of ending. It is a national assignment that would be done with all seriousness and patriotism required,” Adaramodu said.

“This time, the screening will be very thorough. It is not going to be a situation where the screening will be anyhow. We are going to know the background of the nominees and we are not going to disappoint Nigerians.

“All the dry bones, physically and socially must rise. Until it comes forward in their resume, it is not going to be a shallow screening. You must have the character, you must have the face, you must have the behavior to be among the cabin crew that is going to fly Nigeria.

“This time around, Nigeria is going to be better. If whoever gets to the floor of the Senate will be screened. We will not manufacture any questions.”

On allegations being levelled against some nominees like former governors who have cases with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Adaramodu said all the nominees had gone through security screening checks from the executive.

“Anybody who has anything against those names that have been called should send questions that will be asked. As nominees you have to explain yourself, we will not manufacture questions,” he said.

Meanwhile, Gbajabiamila, explained why President Tinubu did not attach portfolios to the ministerial list sent to the Senate for clearance.

He said that Tinubu’s decision is to allow the parliament the freedom to tinker and possibly fix the portfolios if the lawmakers find it necessary.

In an interview with journalists at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Chief of Staff to the president explained that it would have been the best idea, but added that fixing portfolios to the names will cause problems if Tinubu decides to change his mind after they have been screened.

“Yes, it would have been a welcome development. As good as that sounds, it straightjackets the President to pigeonhole one person in an office or the other.

“What happens then if you change your mind? Do you then bring the person back for screening again, because the President is at liberty to change his mind.

“For instance, if I decide I want somebody as Minister of Labour, and then after sending the name, I later decide that, you know what, I didn’t know about this person, this person would actually be better with another portfolio. Meanwhile, the Senate has screened that person for that particular initial portfolio, what happens then? Do you now re-screen the person?

“I like the idea of attaching portfolios, I actually do, because it makes it necessary for the Senate to know exactly what you’re asking and what you’re looking for.

“But for now, it’s been thought wise that we stick to the tradition of sending the names and then whilst the screening process is going on, allow Mr. President and his team to look at the portfolios and the characters and see how they fit.”

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