The Senate will today begin screening of the 43 ministerial nominees forwarded to it, yesterday, by President Muhammadu Buhari for confirmation.
President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, who disclosed this after reading the names of the nominees during plenary, said the Senate would suspend all other activities to ensure that the nominees were screened ahead of the annual vacation of the National Assembly, which was scheduled to begin on Friday.
To do a thorough screening, the Senate has also resolved to suspend its Rules, cut short its annual recess by one week, screen the nominees into late hours of the day as well as carry out the exercise on Fridays, which are not sitting periods.
According to the Senate, the annual recess which ought to begin this week, will no longer be possible as they will continue next week.
Chairman, Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Adedayo Adeyeye, while briefing journalists after plenary, said the Senate would suspend its rules and recess period for one week to enable it screen the 43 ministerial nominees.
According to him, the Senate has vowed to thoroughly screen all the ministerial nominees to ascertain their qualifications.
He also said lawmakers would not spare any of the nominees that falls bellow standard, adding that they would sit beyond 2pm and also on Friday and Monday.
He said nominees will not be accorded "bow and go" status normally accorded to former senators or House of Representatives members.
Adeyeye said: "The Senate is very serious about going ahead with the ministerial screening and confirmation without delay. We have postponed our recess till end of next week. We have suspended a lot of our rules, we don't hold plenary on Friday and Monday. We want to hold plenary everyday, we want to make a lot of sacrifices. We shall sit till very late to conclude the confirmation. We are ready to work at unusual hours, we want to do a thorough confirmation.
"We promised to work for Nigeria, we are going to work at unusual hours because we want the process to be thorough.
"We shall reject nominees, who in our opinion performed below expectations, we reserve the right to reject such nominee. It isn't just a ritual, it is a serious Senate. If it wasn't going to be serious, we can pass everybody in one day, but the Constitution doesn't allow us to do that.
"The Constitution doesn't make it mandatory to attach portfolio. As at today, no rule, no law, mandates the President to attach nominees. We shall look at their qualifications and security reports."
Buhari drops 18 ex-ministers, retains 14
Of the 43 names sent to the Senate, 14 are former ministers, who formed the Federal Executive Council, FEC, in Buhari's first tenure. However, 18 ex-ministers did not make the list.
The ministerial list which is made up of mostly former governors, ministers and senators, is coming five months after the February Presidential election and about two months after the May 29 inauguration of President Buhari for second term.
Seven states - Anambra, Bauchi, Edo, Kaduna, Kwara, Lagos and Kano have two ministerial nominees each, while other states have a slot each.
The 14 former ministers who made the list are former Minister of Works, Housing and Power, Babatunde Raji Fashola (Lagos State); former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers State); former Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed (Kaduna State); immediate past Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, Muhammad Bello (Adamawa State); former Education Minister, Adamu Adamu (Bauchi State); former Science and Technology Minister, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu (Ebonyi State); former Labour and Productivity Minister, Dr. Chris Ngige (Anambra State); former Minister of State, Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire (Edo State); and former Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika (Katsina State).
Other former Ministers on the list are the immediate past Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, (Kwara State); former Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (Kebbi State); former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama (Enugu State); former Minister of State, Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu (Jigawa State); and former Minister of State for Power, Mustapha Baba Shehuri (Borno State).
The fresh nominees include former Governor of Akwa Ibom State and past Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom); former Governor of Benue State and past Minority leader of the Senate, Senator George Akume (Benue); immediate past governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola (Osun); former governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva (Bayelsa); former Minister of Science and Technology, Mrs. Pauline Tallen (Plateau); Senator Olorunmimbe Adeleke Mamora (Lagos); Dr. Ikechukwu Ogah (Abia); Sharon Ikeazor (Anambra); Ambassador Maryam Katagun (Bauchi); and Goddy Jedy Agba (Cross River).
Also on the list are Senator Gbemisola Saraki who is the sister of the immediate past President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki (Kwara); Executive Secretary, National Communications Commission, Sunday Dara (Oyo); Chairman, Committee on Petroleum Downstream in the 8th Senate, Senator Tayo Alasoadura (Ondo); and Spokesman, President Muhammadu Buhari Presidential Campaign, Festus Keyamo (Delta).
The restare Clement Agba (Edo); former governor of Ekiti State, Otunba Niyi Adebayo (Ekiti); Ali Isa Pantami (Gombe); Rep. Emeka Nwajiuba (Imo); Muhammad Mahmood (Kaduna); Sabo Nanono (Kano); Major General Bashir Salihi Magashi (Kano); Ramatu Tijjani (Kogi); Mohammed H. Abdullahi (Nasarawa); Zubair Dada (Niger); Olamilekan Adegbite (Ogun); Maigarai Dingyadi (Sokoto); Sale Mamman (Taraba); Abubakar D. Aliyu (Yobe); and Sadiya Umar Faruk (Zamfara).
18 dropped ex-ministers
The 18 former ministers, who President Buhari dropped are Okechukwu Enelamah (Abia), Udoma Udo Udoma (Akwa Ibom), Heineken Lokpobiri (Bayelsa), Audu Ogbeh (Benue), Usani Uguru Usani (Cross River), Ibe Kachikwu (Delta), Anthony Anwuka (Imo), Stephen Ocheni (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).
Mixed reactions trail ministerial nominees' list
Meanwhile, mixed reactions trailed the 43-man ministerial list yesterday. There were ululations in Kwara and Akwa Ibom states over the nomination of Lai Mohammed, Gbemisola Saraki and Godswill Akpabio as Senator Lokpobiri hailed the nomination of Sylva, and Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State thumbed up the nomination of Alasoadura.
The main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, described the ministerial nominees list as a waste of time just as Second Republic politician, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, said it was a mockery of President Buhari's anti-graft war.
Buhari's ministerial nominees list uninspiring, waste of time -- PDP
The PDP described the ministerial list as colourless, stagnant, uninspiring and and a sheer waste of time, saying it failed to elicit hope of purposeful governance.
The party in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the list "is replete with incompetent individuals who failed in their erstwhile ministerial assignments and left their ministries in shambles. Such a ministerial list can only come from a leadership that does not have mandate of the people. It is a complete waste of time and cannot fulfill the expectation of Nigerians."
The statement continued: "The list has further shown President Buhari and 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, President 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.
"A committed and responsive leadership would have widely consulted with Nigerians before compiling a ministerial list, given the current situation in the country.
"If, indeed, President Buhari and the APC mean well for Nigerians and are interested in revamping our critical sectors, they would not have ended up with a list of those who will help conceal the huge corruption in the Buhari administration in the last four years, as well as those who will assist in channeling funds to individuals and groups used by the APC to rig the 2019 presidential election.
"Strangely, the list has no space for the youths demography, those to whom the future is said to belong.
The PDP holds that with this development, it is clear that the only way our nation can come out of our present economic and security quandary lies in the retrieval of Atiku Abubakar's stolen Presidential mandate at the tribunal."
It's a mockery of Buhari's anti- graft war, says Yakasai
To Second Republic Presidential Adviser, Tanko Yakasai, the ministerial nominees list is as an affront on the anti-corruption war of the administration and because many of the nominees were part of the last cabinet makes the delay in appointing them unjustifiable.
"The new ministerial list submitted by the President to the Senate is representative enough, but the nomination of certain people perceived to be fantastically corrupt made mockery of the President's war against corruption. The fact that returnees are many means the policy of the new government will not be much different from that of the outgoing. My only observation is that since majority of the nominees are already known to the President his delay in submitting the ministerial list is unjustifiable," he said.
Sylva's appointment'll boost APC's chances in Bayelsa gov poll - Lokpobiri
Saluting the nomination of Sylva, who is running for the November 16 governorship election in Baylesa, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, dropped as minister, said it is a boost for the APC in the forthcoming poll.
Lokpobiri who is the only APC governorship aspirant in Bayelsa State to have picked an expression of interest and nomination form, disclosed this in a personal message to Sylva immediately after the announcement was made.
"Congratulations Your Excellency on your appointment and I wish you the best of luck in your new position as Minister of the Federal Republic", he said.
Describing Sylva's appointment as, "very well deserved," Lokpobiri, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr George Oji, said with this development Bayelsa APC is further positioned to wrestle power from the ruling PDP in the state.
He noted that Sylva's appointment is a clear indication that, "our party is growing and making great progress."
Delta APC welcomes Keyamo's appointment -- Uduaghan
Immediate past governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, applauded the nomination of Festus Keyamo, and commended President Buhari for transmitting his ministerial list in what he described as record time saying, "he yielded to the masses' pressure to name a cabinet before the Senate goes on long recess."
Uduaghan in a statement by his media aide, Monoyo Edon, said: "For us in Delta State, Festus Keyamo's appointment did not come as a surprise to us. Festus has distinguished himself and has shown capacity in his previous post as spokesperson of our Presidential Campaign Council. His appointment is very welcomed to the APC family in Delta State.
"Some of my brother former governors and other nominees that made the cut have something tangible to contribute to the Next Level programme of Mr. President. I know them and I am sure they can function creditably well with any portfolio given to them at the end of the day."
Jubilation in Kwara over Lai Mohammed, Saraki
In Kwara, there was wild jubilation yesterday in Oro, home town of immediate past Minister of Information & Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed when news filtered in that he had been reappointed.
Similarly, hundreds of supporters of Senator Gbemisola Saraki in Ilorin, the state capital were also in joyous mood over her nomination.
At Oro town, hundreds of Mohammed's supporters were seen dancing and celebrating with blaring music around the town and discussing in groups, the reappointment of their son.
The jubilant supporters who cut across youths, women, politicians among others, marched through major streets of the town before ending at Oja-Oba market in Oro.
They lauded President Buhari for the recognition of Alhaji Mohammed's efforts that led to the electoral victory of the APC, in the state and at the federal level.
The spokesperson of the group, Mr. Niyi Adekanye, said: "The past contributions of Alhaji Lai Mohammed during the first term of President Buhari are superlative, especially in the areas of information management and image laundering of the government during the period. There is no doubt that for President Buhari to have rewarded a good leader like Alhaji Mohammed, the people of Oro and entire people of Irepodun local government council area of the state and Kwara State in general would forever continue to support you in order to help your government succeed in the task of taking Nigeria to next level of growth."
Also, in Ilorin, the home town of Senator Gbemisola Saraki, hundreds of supporters were seen in groups commending President Buhari over her appointment.
Some of them told journalists in Ilorin that the appointment of Senator Gbemisola Saraki as a minister was a good omen for the people of the town and the state in general. "The former senator had worked tirelessly for the APC electoral victory in the state and she deserved such appointment at this period," they said.
Excitement in Akwa Ibom as Akpabio makes list
There was also excitement in the Akwa Ibom State following Akpabio's nomination.
Some of the citizens of the state especially his teeming supporters in the APC described Akpabio's nomination as a welcome development.
A supporter of the party, who spoke to Vanguard in Uyo on condition of anonymity after the news filtered into the state from Abuja, said he was not surprised that Akpabio made the list.
"Akpabio may not be a saint but he has the leadership capability and competence. He is a lovable person and that is why you see many Akwa Ibom are attracted to him. Again, I think as far as the mnisterial position to Akwa Ibom is concerned the cap fits him. Why I said so is because Akwa Ibom needs people with that level of exposure to represent it at the national level, so I am not surprised that he made the list," he said
An Uyo Resident and kinsman of Akpabio, who simply identified himself as Mr. Monday lauded President Buhari for the decision, adding: "It is a right decision. And I know this will solve so many issues including the ongoing legal battle at the election tribunal."
However, a former member of the APC, Mr Sam Udobong said: "It is good for the APC to compensate Akpabio even though he doesn't deserve it as a new person in the party. At least the appointment will cover the shame the APC caused him to suffer in the hands of his former party, PDP."
Akeredolu hails Alasoadura's appointment
Governor Akeredolu, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Ojo Oyewamide applauded the nomination of Senator Tayo Alasoadura, and expressed confidence in the ability of the Akure-born politician to discharge assigned responsibilities just as he thanked President Buhari for the wise choice.
"Undoubtedly, President Buhari has made a wise pick in Senator Omotayo Donald Alasoadura, who has demonstrated over the years, an unquenchable desire for excellence, hard work and commitment to assigned responsibilities.
"Having had an eventful and memorable stay in the Senate, Alasoadura provided what could be regarded as an immeasurably valuable representation to his people."
I am surprised that some names were not included -- ABC Nwosu
Also speaking, a member of the PDP Board of Trustees, Professor ABC Nwosu, said: "I am surprised that some names were not included in the list. The former Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh's name is missing and that of the Minister of State FCT, Muhammed Musa Bello. Anytime they want to tell us about President Buhari's success, its about how they diversified the economy through agriculture and how their programme in agriculture is working. And then they drop that team. Also, his former Minister of Interior, Abdulraman Dambazau, we thought he was an insider, himself and the Defence Minister, Mansur Dan Ali. They made so much fun of us that we wasted the country's resources for 16 years. We had 42 ministers, and they have 43. I am even surprised that they have some PDP two- term governors like Akpabio , Amaechi, and Akume on the list.
"We are crawling out of recession, and we are deep into insecurity and so what is the next level? In 2015, insecurity was not as high as this level. Where I come from, they say the first child has to walk first before the second child starts sprinting. I don't expect anything good to come out of the APC administration. I have never because they have to have the road map."
Okumagba hails Keyamo's nomination
Former Delta State Commissioner for Finance and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Delta State, Olorogun Bernard Okumagba has hailed the ministerial nomination of Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Okumagba in a statement, yesterday, said the nomination of Keyamo as minister in the new cabinet of President Buhari was well deserved, given his pedigree as a technocrat, a social crusader and committed member of the APC.
Okumagba said he was enthused at the nomination, which he described as an indication of the quality of administration the president seeks to lead in his second term.
He described Keyamo as a forthright person, a brother and friend, who will bring a fresh experience to the federal cabinet.