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MINISTERIAL NOMINEES: Wike, El-Rufai, Others Face Senate Screening Monday as Parties Watch Tinubu Over List.

Ministerial nominees

The Senate will, on Monday, commence the screening of the ministerial nominees submitted to it by President Bola Tinubu on Thursday.

This is just as indications emerged that the President will create new ministries and form his full cabinet in two weeks.

Speaking shortly after the names of 28 nominees sent to the federal lawmakers were read on the floor by the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, the Senate spokesperson, Yemi Adaramodu (Ekiti South), said the Upper Chamber had suspended all its activities to commence the screening immediately.

Adaramodu said, “Screening will commence on Monday. We have suspended all the rules to accommodate the screening of the nominees.

“We were supposed to proceed on our vacation today (Thursday) but it has been suspended for this screening. We are starting the screening on Monday. We are not going to allocate time to nominees to talk.

“We will start by 11am on Monday and other days at 10am. We are ready to sit all day to screen them, with no limitation of hours. We won’t even time them. We would listen to them reel out their blueprint to us. The screening would be done in the presence of Nigerians.”

Much-awaited list

Akpabio, at plenary, unveiled the list consisting of 28 nominees.

The Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajamiabila, delivered the list to the Senate President.

Prominent people who made the list are former Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike (Rivers), former Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), and former Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi (Ebonyi).

Others are the acting Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Abubakar Kyari (Borno); the party’s women leader Beta Edu (Cross River); Deputy Chief Whip of the Ninth House of Representatives, Nkiruka Onyejiocha ( Abia); a lawyer, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, (Kwara); and the President’s Special Adviser on Media, Strategy and Special Duties, Dele Alake, (Ekiti).

Also, contained in the list is a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Adebayo Adelabu (Oyo); former Minister of State, Health, Ali Pate, (Bauchi); and Senator John Eno, (Cross River).

The rest are Abubakar Momoh (Edo); Ambassador Yusuf Maitama, (Bauchi), Ahmad Dangiwa (Katsina), Hanatu Musawa, (Katsina), Chief Uche Nnaji, (Enugu), Doris Aniche (Imo), Mohamed Badaru (Jigawa), Ekperikpe Ekpo (Akwa Ibom), Olubumi Tunde-Ojo, (Ondo), Stella Okotete, (Delta), Uju Ohanaeye (Anambra) and Bello Goronyo, (Sokoto).

Mohammed Idris (Niger), Olawale Edun (Ogun), Imman Suleiman (Nassarawa), Joseph Utsev, (Benue) and Sani Danladi ( Taraba) also made the 28-man list.

Having read out the names, the Senate referred the list to the Committee of the Whole.

PDP knocks Wike

A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, Timothy Osadolor, in an interview with The PUNCH, described the ministerial list as an average collection of people who do not have what it takes to make a difference in the life of the nation.

Speaking specifically on the inclusion of Wike on the list, Osadolor, Osadolor, a member of the PDP National Executive Committee, said members of the party were not surprised.

He added that Wike merely confirmed the claim in many quarters that he offered himself as a tool in the hands of a rival party to work against the PDP in the 2023 elections.

He said, “To those who are not members of the PDP, they may be surprised but we (members of the party) are not. We wish him well and hope he does not end up eating those he has elected to join as he did to the party that brought him into the national limelight.”

On the capacity of the nominees to deliver on expectations, Osadolor said the bulk of the men chosen by the President “are at best average,” adding that no one should expect them to give what they don’t have.

“Who on the list can you refer to as a goal-getter apart from maybe two or three? They are at best, average collection of former this and former that. We honestly don’t know what they have to offer Nigerians,” he added.

His position however contrasted with that of the New Nigeria People’s Party whose spokesman in the 2023 presidential election, Johnson Ladipo, urged Nigerians to give the ministerial nominees the benefit of the doubt.

He said, “Some of them are well known and we believe Mr President has confidence in them. We hope they get to work soon and based on their experiences, I think Nigerians can be hopeful of good days ahead.

“Yes, Nigerians may have issues with some of the names who probably didn’t do well in their previous positions but they garnered experiences which may now guide them to do better.

“There is no reason to begin to express fear when they have not been cleared yet and even though we don’t envisage any problem with their clearance, Nigerians should not begin to condemn them as they are yet to get started.”

LP indifferent

The spokesman of the Labour Party Presidential Campaign Council, Yunusa Tanko, said the party had no interest in whoever the President prefers to appoint to his cabinet.

Tanko said until the party reclaims its mandate at the election petition tribunal, it won’t show interest in any alleged illegality perpetrated by the ruling government.

He said, “We are challenging this government’s existence in the court. In that case, we cannot be giving credence to whatever activities that this particular government is doing. But on a cursory look, they are not doing anything different from this same old stuff prevalent among old politicians.

“We are not perturbed about it at all. What we are interested in is getting our mandate back. So whether the list comes out or not, it doesn’t interest us at all. We are still awaiting the outcome of the tribunal. It is after the decision of the tribunal that we will make our position known as regards whatever the government is doing.”

NNPP remains mute till full list is out

The National Secretary of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, Dipo Olayoku, said, “As a party, NNPP cannot make its position known now because we have not seen the full list and the party has not met to discuss. So it will be difficult for anybody to talk on behalf of NNPP concerning the list.

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