The long-awaited commissioner nominees’ list forwarded by Governor Mai Mala Buni to the state assembly was finally unveiled by the speaker, Hon. Buba Chiroma-Mashio.
Daily Trust checks reveal that the first batch of the list which was purportedly released on July 27 remained unveiled until during last Tuesday’s plenary when a second batch was brought.
The development had fuelled suspicions that the first batch was a blank list meant to beat the constitutionally required 60 days deadline.
However, both the state government and leaders of the state house of assembly said four names were pencilled in the first list.
A member of the state assembly confirmed to Daily Trust that indeed the letter earlier sent to them through the Secretary to the State Government contained no names.
But the speaker, Hon. Buba Chiroma-Mashio, in an interview with newsmen in Damaturu on Tuesday said there was nothing like a blank list to beat the deadline, adding that the house received the first batch of the list on 27 July.
Daily Trust reports that the final list released at Tuesday’s plenary contained 20 nominees; 18 men and 2 women drawn from all the local government areas of the state.
Those on the list are: Hon. Mohammed Garba Gagiyo – Bade; Engr. Usman Ahmed – Bursari; Hon. Musa Mustapha – Damaturu; Ya Jalo Badama – Damaturu ; Prof. Bello Kawuwa – Fika; Alhaji Ibrahim Jajere – Fune; Ali Goniri – Gujba; Aji Yerima Bularafa – Gulani; Alhaji Mohammed Abatcha – Gulani; Dr. Mairo Amshi – Jakusko; Abdullahi Bego – Jakusko; Hon Sidi Yakubu Karasuwa – Karasuwa and Barma Shettima – Machina.
Others are: Engr. Umar Wakili Duddaye – Nangere; Dr. Muhammad Sani Idriss – Nguru; Bar. Sale Samanja – Potiskum ; Yusuf Umar Potiskum – Potiskum; Arch. Ahmed Buba Abba Kyari – Tarmuwa; Dr. Mohammed Lawan Gana – Yusufari and Hon. Kaigama Umar – Yunusari
The Secretary to the Yobe State Government (SSG), Alhaji Baba Malam Wali, reportedly forwarded a letter containing a list to the Yobe State Assembly for screening and confirmation on July 27 but the house failed to unveil the names to the public.
Consequently, rumours had circulated in the last two weeks that in a bid to beat the 60-day constitutionally required deadline to form an executive council; Governor Buni sent a letter without attaching a list of commissioner nominees to the state assembly.
The development sparked discussions among politicians, citizens, and the media given the fact that the speaker at their emergency meeting on that day only announced the receipt of the letter from the governor without reading the content to members.
An insider (a lawmaker) in the assembly revealed that the 24 members, except the speaker, were not on the list as claimed by the speaker and the state government.
“Although I have been working here for over a decade, we heard that the SSG submitted the list of nominees on that day but some of my colleagues were asking who made the list, but could not get an answer.
“Some people said nothing was contained in the list; it was just a blank paper sent to the house by the state governor so that people could say they had met the deadline to form an executive council,” the source who wished to remain unnamed due to the sensitive nature of the matter said.
The source said it was unrealistic for the assembly to have held onto the commissioner nominees list for more than two weeks without screening or making it public if indeed it was true that the SSG submitted it.
Concerns over late cabinet formation
Meanwhile, there are concerns among the youth and party stakeholders in the state on why the list is coming late as many state governors have constituted their cabinets to move their agenda forward.
However, a Damaturu-based youth, Hussaini Muhammad, said politics in Yobe State seemed to be a game by the same players without substitute and new tactics.
“Usually, governors in Yobe used to send their commissioner nominees list to the state assembly as early as possible but this present governor spent at least 2 months searching for his cabinet and that is why many people think that new faces would arrive, but unfortunately things have not changed.”
‘Nothing like blank list’
But the speaker, Hon. Buba Chiroma-Mashio, in an interview with newsmen in Damaturu on Tuesday said there was nothing like a blank list of commissioner nominees to beat the deadline, insisting that the house received the first batch of the list on 27 July.
He said the first batch of names submitted to the assembly contained four names, adding that the delay in the confirmation process was due to the assembly’s commitment to ensuring that all nominees were confirmed at once.
“We received four names from the first batch of the commissioner nominees last time. After receiving the second batch, we merged them for screening to follow the serial. That is why you could see that they are separated; first and second batches.
“In short, Yobe State assembly received the first batch of the four nominees from the executive on 27 July and the second batch last week, making them 20 in number.
‘‘The reason why I did not disclose the list is that we might not go for their screening and people would be asking why we did not call them (nominees) for screening. Since we had a first batch list, we just waited for His Excellency to send the second list to us,” he said.
He said the nominees will be screened in batches starting from the 16th, 17th, and 18th of August.
Similarly, Mallam Mamman Muhammad, the Director General of Press and Media Affairs to Governor Buni, said the state government had submitted the list of commissioner nominees to the assembly for screening and confirmation on 27 July, 2023 to beat the 60-day constitutional deadline.
While admitting that there was a delay for the second batch list because new ministries would be created, he insisted that nothing was done outside of the constitution.
‘‘The state government wants to expand ministries which is why the second batch list was delayed. The state assembly was given a good time to screen the nominees before the second batch. So, I think the house will answer this question.
‘‘The first list was given to them within the timeframe for screening while the second batch came thereafter so they are the ones that you will ask why they did not start screening till they received the second batch,’’ he said.
Efforts to speak with the SSG were unsuccessful as he neither responded to calls nor a text message.