Nigeria: Senate Begins Screening of Ministerial Nominees Today

President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Senate will today commence the screening of ministerial nominees sent to them by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The upper chamber will also sit on Friday and Monday for the exercise even as it postponed its annual recess earlier scheduled to commence Thursday by a week to screen the ministerial nominees containing 43 names.

President Buhari's was read by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, after a 20-minute closed door session during plenary yesterday.

"The screening of the ministerial nominees will commence tomorrow (today). All other legislative activities will take a back stage for this very important national assignment," Lawan said.

The nomination by the president was in accordance with 147(2) of the 1999 constitution, according to the letter transmitted to the Senate on Monday.

Daily Trust reports that the number of the nominees this time was higher than that of the 2015, where a total of 36 ministers were appointed. The president had previously promised to increase the number of the ministers.

Anambra, Bauchi, Edo, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara and Lagos states got two ministerial nominees each.

Out of the six geopolitical zones, only Northwest got two extra slots.

President Buhari increased the number of females from six in 2015 to seven, just as the number of ministerial positions increased to 43. The ministerial list was presented four months earlier than that of 2015.

The female ministers at the beginning of Buhari's first tenure were Amina Mohammed (Gombe), Zainab Ahmed (Kaduna), Kemi Adeosun (Ogun), Aisha Abubakar (Sokoto), Aisha Alhassan (Taraba) and Khadija Bukar Abba Ibrahim (Yobe).

Out of the six female ministers, only Zainab Ahmed and Aisha Abubakar stayed till the end of the first tenure. The four others left at different times for various reasons.

A further analysis showed that eight former governors and seven senators were nominated. It is expected that the senators will take a bow and go during the screening, based on senate's tradition.

14 former ministers set to come back

According to the list, 14 former ministers were nominated for reappointments. They include Mohammed Musa Bello (Adamawa, FCT); Chris Ngige (Anambra, Labour & Employment); Adamu Adamu (Bauchi, Education); Mustapha Baba Shehuri (Borno, State Power, Works & Housing); Ogbonnaya Onu (Ebonyi, Science & Technology); Osagie Ehanire (Edo, State Health); Geoffrey Onyeama (Enugu, Foreign Affairs); Suleiman Adamu (Jigawa, Water Resources); Zainab Ahmed (Kaduna, Finance); Hadi Sirika (Katsina, State Aviation); Abubakar Malami (Kebbi, Justice); Lai Mohammed (Kwara, Information); Babatunde Fashola (Lagos, Power, Works & Housing); and Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers, Transportation).

Akpabio, Akume, others make list

New nominees are Dr. Ikechukwu Ogah (Abia); Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom); Sharon Ikeazor (Anambra); Ambassador Maryam Katagun (Bauchi); Timipre Sylva (Bayelsa); George Akume (Benue); Goddy Jedy Agba (Cross River); Festus Keyamo (Delta); Clement Ike (Edo); Richard Adeniyi Adebayo (Ekiti); Geoffrey Onyeama (Enugu); Ali Isa Pantami (Gombe); Emeka Nwajiuba (Imo); Muhammad Mahmood (Kaduna); Sabo Nanono (Kano); Maj Gen Bashir Salihi Magashi (Kano); Ramatu Tijjani (Kogi); Gbemisola Saraki (Kwara); Adeleke Mamora (Lagos); Mohammed H. Abdullahi (Nasarawa); Zubair Dada (Niger); Olamilekan Adegbite (Ogun); Tayo Alasoadura (Ondo); Rauf Aregbesola (Osun); Sunday Dare (Oyo); Paulen Tallen (Plateau); Maigari Dingyadi (Sokoto); Sale Mamman (Taraba), Abubakar D. Aliyu (Yobe); and Federal Commissioner of National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, Sadiya Umar Faruk (Zamfara).

Some of the new nominees are currently holding positions in the Buhari administration. They include Ikeazor, Executive Secretary of Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD); Pantami, Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA); Mahmood, Board Chairman, Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC); Dare, Commissioner, National Communications Commission (NCC); Tallen, Special Assistant; Faruk, Federal Commissioner of National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, among others.

Dambazau, Ogbe, Dalong, others left out

Our correspondent reports that many former ministers who served till the end Buhari's first tenure were not re-nominated.

They are: Okechukwu Enelamah (Abia, Trade & Industry), Udo Udo Udoma (Akwa Ibom, Budget & National Planning), Heineken Lokpobiri (Bayelsa, State Agriculture), Audu Ogbeh (Benue, Agriculture) and Usani Uguru (Cross River, Niger Delta), Ibe Kachikwu (Delta, State Petroleum), Anthony Anwuka (Imo, State Education), Stephen Ocheni (Kogi, State Labour), Abdulrahaman Dambazau (Kano, Interior), Abubakar Bawa Bwari (Niger, Mines & Steel Development), Cladius Omoleye Daramola (Ondo, State Niger Delta), Isaac Adewole (Osun, Health), Adebayo Shittu (Oyo, Commuication), Solomon Dalong (Plateau, Youth & Sports), Aisha Abubakar (Sokoto, State Trade and Industry) and Mansur Dan Ali (Zamfara, Defence).

We'll do a thorough job - Senate

Chairman of the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Adeyeye Adedayo, said at a press conference that the senators will do a thorough job.

"We have postponed the recess till next week, 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 other 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 10 to 2pm, that will not apply till during this confirmation hearing. 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," he said.

Also speaking, Sen Uba Sani (APC, Kaduna) said: "Those who usually will be asked to take a bow and go, this time around, we will try as much as possible to ask them to explain to the public what they intend to do.

Senate approves 15 SAs for Buhari

Meanwhile, the Senate yesterday approved President Buhari's request to appoint 15 Special Advisers.

Buhari had through a letter dated July 11, this year solicited for the legislature's approval to appoint 15 SAs

The approval was granted after the request was considered during committee of the whole, presided over by the Senate President.

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