President Muhammadu Buhari has sent a list of his 43 ministerial-nominees, comprising 14 returnee ministers and 29 new appointees to the Senate.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, who read out the President’s letter at plenary on Tuesday, said the screening of the nominees would start on Wednesday (today).
Buhari returns 14 former ministers, drops 17.
The returnee ministers include Babatunde Fashola (Lagos), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers) ) Hadi Sirika (Katsina), Zainab Ahmed (Kaduna), Lai Mohammed (Kwara) and Chris Ngige (Anambra), while among the new appointees are Ambassador Maryam Katagun (Bauchi), Timipre Sylva (Bayelsa) and George Akume (Benue).
The remaining returnee ministers are Adamu Adamu (Bauchi), Abubakar Malami (Kebbi), Godfrey Onyeama (Enugu), Ogbonnaya Onu (Ebonyi), Osagie Enahire (Edo), Suleiman Adamu (Jigawa), Mohammed Bello (Adamawa) and Mustapha Baba Shehuri (Borno).
Kachikwu, Dambazau, Adewole, Shittu, 13 others dropped
However, some of the former ministers who were not reappointed are: Okechukwu Enelamah (Abia), Udo Udo Udoma (Akwa Ibom), Heineken Lokpobiri (Bayelsa), Audu Ogbeh ( Benue) and Usani Uguru (Cross River).
Others are Ibe Kachikwu (Delta), Anthony Anwuka (Imo ), Stephen Ochani (Kogi), Abdulrahaman Dambazau (Kano), Abubakar Bawa Bwari ( Niger ), Cladius Omoleye Daramola (Ondo), Isaac Adewole (Osun ), Adebayo Shittu (Oyo ), Solomon Dalong (Plateau), Aisha Abubakar (Sokoto ) and Mansur Dan Ali (Zamfara).
Akpabio, Saraki, Sylva, Keyamo, Mamora, Akume make Buhari’s list
But a former Senate Minority Leader, Goodwill Akpabio, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, and Buhari’s campaign spokesperson, Festus Keyamo, were among the list of ministerial-nominees sent to the Senate for screening on Tuesday.
The list also included Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, Senator Tayo Alasoadura, former governor Rauf Aregbesola, former governor Niyi Adebayo and former governor Timipre Sylva, among others.
Buhari appoints serving lawmaker who dumped APC as minister
On the list is one of the newly inaugurated members of the House of Representatives, Emeka Nwajiuba.
Nwajiuba, a native of Ehime-Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State, is representing Okigwe South federal constituency.
He was elected on the platform of the Accord Party.
Nwajiuba, a former member of the APC, defected to the AP after a running battle with the former governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha.
Senate shifts recess
Meanwhile, the Senate has postponed its annual recess by one week to enable members to screen the ministerial-nominees.
The senators would have started their annual recess on Thursday if the President had not sent the ministerial-nominees’ list on Tuesday.
The Chairman, Senate ad hoc committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Adedayo Adeyeye, while addressing journalists on Tuesday, pledged that the nominees would be thoroughly screened.
He added that the Senate would suspend its rules and would be sitting beyond 2pm every day during the exercise.
He said plenary would be conducted from Monday to Friday until all the nominees had been successfully grilled.
He also said all nominees would be given special privilege because they would all be asked critical questions.
Adeyeye said, “We have postponed the recess till the end of next week. We are suspending a lot of our rules. Plenary normally does not hold on Fridays, plenary will hold on Friday this week and Monday next week in order to hasten the process.
“We want to do a thorough job and we want Nigerians to know that we are doing a thorough job. It is going to be a lot of sacrifice on our path.
“We are going to work in unusual hours, normally we sit from 10am to 2pm, that will not apply during this period of confirmation.
“We are going to sit till very late, virtually every day. On Friday, we will sit till we are tired. We will go on a brief recess and proceed until 10pm.
“We have given ourselves enough time, we will work in unusual hours.
No nominee will be asked to ‘take-a bow’ – Senate
“Those who usually will be asked to take a bow, this time round we will try as much as possible to ask them questions so they can explain to the public what they intend to do.
“We want Nigerians to witness the process. Please, I want to seek your indulgence that some have stage fright, not that they are not brilliant. Please try to understand a few of these issues.
“This Senate is a complete departure from the past. If we are to rush it, the process will not be thorough.”
Asked if the ministerial-nominees who performed below expectation would still be confirmed, Adeyeye said the Senate, being an independent institution, had the right to reject any unqualified person on the list.
Adeyeye said, “Absolutely, the Senate is an independent body. The constitution gives us the role to either confirm or reject nominees.”
But on Tuesday, the list generated diverse reactions as the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party said it was full of incompetent and failed men.
Buhari’s list full of incompetent individuals – PDP
For instance, the PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, said Buhari’s ministerial list was colourless, stagnant, uninspiring and did not convey any sense of hope or purposeful governance.
Ologbondiyan said to the utter disappointment of Nigerians, the list was replete with alleged incompetent individuals who failed in their erstwhile ministerial assignments and allegedly left their ministries in a shambles.
According to him, such a ministerial list can only come from a leadership that does not have the mandate of the people.
Ologbondiyan said, “The list has further shown Buhari and the 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, 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.”
Buhari’s list lacks innovation – ASUU
Also, the President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said Buhari’s list lacked innovation.
He noted that the President did not attach portfolios to the names of the nominees.
Ogunyemi stated, “The other observation is that there isn’t much innovation on the list. People are talking of a generation change and injecting fresh blood or a mixture of the old and the new. But the new names on the list are people who have been in the political circle for some time. I am sure the younger generation would have been looking out for a list that would have accommodated their interest and representation.”
Nominees are mostly recycled politicians, says NECA
Also, the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association said the ministerial nominees list contained mostly names of recycled politicians.
The Director-General, NECA, Mr Timothy Olawale, said Nigerians had waited and expected to see some names of technocrats on the list, but the association discovered that the list contained mostly recycled politicians that were picked based on political patronage and mostly for their roles as party men.
He said, “We had expected that with the delay by the President in constituting his cabinet, the team would be populated by professionals that had distinguished themselves in their area of calling.
“That the selection would be based on merit and what they could offer by way of adding value to governance. While we cannot say those on the list cannot deliver on the government’s agenda, we note that they are mostly recycled politicians that are picked based on political patronage and mostly for their roles as party men.
“We had hoped party considerations would be set aside to assemble technocrats that could lead the nation out of its current economic doldrums.
“We only hope their tenure in office will be that of meritorious service to the nation and the good of the people and not marked by opportunity to recoup expenses incurred for political activities in the last elections. Nigerians are watching to assess them and it remains to be seen if they will selflessly live up to expectations.”
SERAP, CACOL seek nominees’ portfolios
Also, two civil society organisations, the Socio-Economic Right and Accountability Project and the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, faulted the ministerial-nominees’ list, saying the non-attachment of the portfolios to their names would make their screening inadequate by the Senate.
The SERAP Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, said the issue of attachment of portfolios was also brought up in 2015, adding that the absence of portfolios would not ensure a thorough screening of the nominees.
He said, “Let us see the portfolios which will be attached to each of the nominees eventually. I would have loved the portfolios to be attached to each of them go with the names to the National Assembly. This is so that competency in the fields can be tested. That is a fair way to assess the cabinet members.”
Also the CACOL Director, Mr Debo Adeniran, said it was doubtful if the President assessed the performance of some of the former ministers he brought back, adding that if he did, he would never have reappointed them.
On his part, the Presidential candidate of the Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party, Tope Fasua, said, “Buhari has just shot himself in the foot with the anti-corruption rhetoric. Also more than half of the team could never actually take the nation forward but are good for political considerations.”
List full of ex-govs, says TMG
However, the Chairperson of the Transition Monitoring Group, Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, in an interview with The PUNCH, said, “The list is a total disappointment. It is full of former governors and mostly old people.
“One would have expected that the President would shop for more people with more expertise that can assuage the fears of the people of a bleak future. The capacity for them to push the agenda for development for Nigeria is very much doubted.”
Enugu APC rejects Onyeama’s reappointment
Meanwhile, the Enugu State APC expressed displeasure over the reappointment of former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, describing it as a “terrible mistake.”
The state Chairman of the party, Dr Ben Nwoye, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said Onyeama’s reappointment was not in the interest of the Enugu APC and the country at large.
It’s an honour to have two nominees – Abdulrazaq
But the Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, said that state occupied a special place in the heart of Buhari, adding that it was an honour to have two ministerial nominees from one state.
In his congratulatory message to the two ministerial nominees, Alhaji Lai Mohamed and Senator Gbemisola Saraki, Abdulrazaq in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye, expressed appreciation to the President.
In his reaction, the Executive Director of Community Outreach for Development and Welfare Advocacy, Taiwo Otitolaye, said the list could not bring the anticipated rapid development and achieve the fight against corruption promised by Buhari during his electioneering.
C’River APC backs Agba, says Buhari doesn’t know Uzani
However, the APC in Cross River State has described the nomination of Jeddy Agba as welcome, saying the nominee “is the right man for the job.”
The state Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Bassey Ita, said, “As a party man, we urge him to look inward and nurture the party in the state. We need virile opposition that will take over the reins of power in the state.”
On reaction to the non-return of former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Usani, he said, “The President has said he will bring the people he knows. Maybe he does not know Usani.”
APC hails Aregbesola, PDP derides ex-gov
Also, the Osun State Government has welcomed the nomination of Aregbesola as a minister. The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Adeniyi Adesina, in a chat with one of our correspondents in Osogbo, said, “The Osun State Governor, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, is happy with the nomination of his predecessor.”
But the PDP in the state, described the nomination as “an aberration and a reward for corruption, incompetence, rascality and wasteful spending.”
The party, in a statement by its Chairman, Mr Soji Adagunodo, said Aregbesola ran Osun aground as governor and introduced payment of half salary to workers and retirees.
Adebayo, good choice from Ekiti, says APC, commissioner
Also, the Ekiti State Commissioner for Information, Mr Muyiwa Olumilua, said the ministerial nominee from Ekiti State, Mr Adeniyi Adebayo, was a very good choice.
He said Adebayo would do exceptionally well as a minister.
Amosun’s loyalist emerges as nominee
But the APC faction loyal to ex-governor Olusegun Osoba kept mum over the development as both the Chairman and the Publicity Secretary of the Caretaker Committee, Chief Yemi Sanusi and Tunde Olarunjoye, respectively, refused to answer several calls made to them.
But, the state Secretary, Ayo Olubori, when contacted on the development ,said he was not in the best position to speak on it.
He, however, said that Adegbite, a former commissioner and loyalist of ex-governor Ibikunle Amosu, picked to represent Ogun State on the list, “is not the party’s choice.”
But when contacted, the Director-General of the Allied People’s Movement, Alhaji Sarafa Ishola, said, “Ministerial appointment usually entails nominations from various stakeholders. Appointment of ministers is the prerogative of Mr President. We run a presidential system of government. Olamilekan Adegbite is eminently qualified to represent Ogun State on the Federal Executive Council.”
However, prominent people from Yewa/Awori decried the nomination, describing it as lopsided and unfair.
One of the prominent leaders in the district, Mr Tunji Akinosi, said the nomination of Adegbite as minister ”is unfortunate, very unfortunate.”