Tinubu forwards additional 19 Ministerial-nominees to the Senate for confirmation - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Tinubu forwards additional 19 Ministerial-nominees to the Senate for confirmation

President  Bola Tinubu  has forwarded  additional nineteen names of Ministerial  Nominees  to the Senate  for screening and  subsequent confirmation. 

The list read by the President  of the Senate, Senator  Godswill  Akpabio has five former governors, former  Senators, former member, House of  Representatives.

The former Governors  who made the list are the immediate past Governor of Plateau  State  and the Director- General, All Progressives  Congress,  APC  Presidential  Campaign Council, Simon Lalong; former Governor  of Yobe  State and a Senator in the 9th and present Senator Ibrahim  Gaidam; former Governor  of Osun State, Adegboyega Oyetola; former Governor  of Kebbi  State, Atiku Bagudu and former Governor  of Zamfara  State, Bello Matawalle.

The former Senators are the immediate past Deputy Chief  Whip of the Senate,  Senator Sabi Abdullahi  from Niger State; Senator  Heineken Lokpobori from Bayelsa State; Senator Alkali Ahmed Saidu who was in the 9th Senate  from Gombe  State, Senator Uba Maigari Ahmadu, former Deputy Governor  of Taraba State and former Deputy  Governor  of Kano State, Abdullahi Tijjani Gwarzo.

Others Bosun Tijani, Ogun State;  Dr Maryam Shetty from Borno State; Isiak Salako, Lagos State; Tunji Alausa, Lagos State ; former Chairman,  Federal House of Representatives  on Health, Dr Yusuf Tanko Sununu from Kebbi State;   Lola Ade John;  son of late Abubakar Audu of Kogi State, Shuaibu Abubakar Audu; former  Director  General of  Nigeria  Law School from 2005 to 2013 hails from Adamawa State, Prof. Tahir Mamman, SAN and former member, House  of Representatives,  Zaphaniah Bitrus Jisalo from the Federal Capital  Territory,  making it the first time an original  inhabitant of the FCT would be  named a Minister.

With the present nineteen Ministerial Nominees which is a completion of the remaining eleven states that were  not alloted a ministerial slot, the  names have risen to forty seven all together.

The President  of  the  Senate,  Senator Akpabio  then announced that the  new ministerial nominees would be screened on Friday, just as he urged them to complete  their documentation  today, Thursday ahead of next day's  screening. 

Recall that  President  of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio had on Thursday last week received  the long awaited Ministerial  list from President  Tinubu,  just as former  Governors, Senators and House  of  Representatives  dominated  the list.

The list was delivered  by the former Speaker,  House of  Representatives  and Chief  of Staff to President  Tinubu, Femi  Gbajiabiamila who entered  the hallowed  Chamber  at 1.18pm and delivered  the letter at 1.19pm

The letter  addressed to the President  of  the  Senate, Senator  Godswill  Akpabio. 

The 28 Ministerial  Nominees were Abubakar Momoh; Amb. Yusuf Maitama Tuggar;  Architect Hammad  Dangiwa; Hanatu Musawa;  Chief Uche Nnaji; Beta Edu; Doris Aniche;; David Umahi ; Nyesom Wike; Mohamed Badaru Abubakar and Nasir El- Rufai. 

Others  were  Ekperikpe Ekpo; Nkiru onyejiocha; Olubumi Ojo;  Stella Okotekpe;  Uju Kennedy; Bello Mohammed Goroyo; Dele Alake; Lateef Fagbemi and  Mohammed Idris;  Edu Muhi; Waheed Adebayo; Imma  Suleiman; Ali Pate;  Joseph Utsev from Benue; Abubaka kyari; John Eno and Sani Abubakar Damladi.

Before the announcement of the names yesterday, former Speaker,  House  of Representatives  and the Chief of Staff  to President  Bola  Tinubu,  Honourable Femi Gbajiabiamila had entered  the hallowed   where he forwarded the list to the President  of the Senate,  Senator  Godswill  Akpabio,  the remaining list of Ministerial  Nominees.

To allow Gbajiabiamila  to present  the list, the Senate  invoked its Order 12(i) to allow the former speaker enter the chamber  at 3.15pm.

Before the Chief  of Staff came in to the Chamber,  a ministerial  nominee, Lateef Fagbemi,  Kwara was standing before  the Senators  for screening.

Prior to the presentation  of the additional nominees, the Senate yesterday entered the third day of  the screening  of the Ministerial  Nominees  submitted  to it last week Thursday  by President  Bola  Tinubu for subsequent  confirmation.

President Tinubu  had last week forwarded twenty eight nominees to the Senate for screening.

The Senate  had on  monday screened  fourteen out of the twenty- eight,  just as it screened  five nominees that were not attended to on Tuesday.

According  to the Order Paper  of yesterday, the five nominees  were   Dele Alake (Ekiti);  Muhammad Idris (Niger); Professor Ali Pate Bauchi; Doris Anite Uzoka (Imo); and  Lateef Fagbemi SAN (Kwara) as they were all screened by the Senators.

Addressing the Senators, Alake, the  current  Special Adviser to the President on Special Duties,  Communication, Strategy  who was the first to appear, said that regulation of Social Media  should  be strengthened,  just as he urged the National Assembly  to amend its existing laws towards the regulating social media to curb fake and inaccurate information. 

Alake who  raised serious concerns over the misapplication of social media in Nigeria, bitterly complained about the misuse of the platform while fielding questions from Senators during his screening exercise on Wednesday in Abuja.

While acknowledging its advantages in information dissemination, Alake who  warned that the disadvantages of social media could throw the country into confusion if not checked, said that the bad side of social media can be detrimental to any good and decent society.

Alake urged victims of libel and defamation not to hesitate in applying the full weight of the law on culprits when there are infractions by any medium be it broadcast or print, just as he stressed the need to test the laws of the federation to ascertain its efficacy and proficiency. 

There was a mild drama during the questioning of Alake 

 when the  Senate shielded him by overruling  the Minority Leader, Senator  Simon  Devou  Nwadkwon, PDP, Plateau  North who asked the ministerial nominee from Ekiti State to recite the second stanza of the National Anthem.

When  the Senate Minority Leader also asked Alake tp defend when he referred to some opposition members as “Wild Dogs “ on his Social media handles, the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio quickly stopped the Minority leader, shielding Alake from responding to the allegation raised.

According to Akpabio, the issue was during electioneering campaigns and in the past.

Sensing crisis, the  leadership of the Senate also rose in strong defence of the right hand man of President Bola Tinubu, thereby shielding him from responding to allegations that he at some points referred to some opposition members as “Wild dogs” on his social media handle.

Alake also enjoyed even a stronger defence from Senate Majority Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele, APC, Ekiti who accused the Minority leader of injecting partisan politics into the affairs of the senate for asking the ministerial nominee to recite the second stanza of the National Assembly.

An accomplished Journalist with some of the highest badge of honours in his chosen profession- Alake was at ease taking familiar questions within his domain thrown at him by lawmakers, just as he  told the  lawmakers that without internal National Security, road and electricity infrastructure- not much can be done to boost investments in tourism, adding that  there was  the need to work on  values and mindset of citizens and that he will alway push for press freedom-but not without a measure of responsibility.

 Alake who noted that  information is power and when misused or misdirected- the consequences could be catastrophic, said that it was  about time Nigeria applied checks on the reckless use of the Social Media.

All of this was as the upper legislative chamber grilled 4 other ministerial nominees to complete the screening and confirmation of all 28 ministers-designate forwarded last Thursday President Tinubu.

Next was the ministerial nominee from Niger State, Mohammed Idris, the Publisher of Blueprints Newspapers who was asked why he was still parading a statement of result many years after leaving secondary school.

While he responded to other questions about media practice in Nigeria, Idris skipped the one on the status of his secondary school certificate where it was raised that after forty one years after,  he was still showing his statement  of result  and not his certificates

Also yesterday, for  over one hour,  the Senate grilled the ministerial nominee from Kwara State, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN who is one of the lead counsel to President Tinubu at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria backed the idea of merging the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offices Commission(ICPC), saying that the anti-graft agencies should be limited to investigation while another body should be charged with the arrest and prosecution of offenders.

Fagbemi an accomplished lawyer and  Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) who responded  to questions bordering on corruption, advocated that  the  EFCC and ICPC should be  unbundled 

He  said: "Truth be told, you fight corruption but at the same time the way it's fought in Nigeria leaves much to be desired. That is the truth.

"If I have my way, I will advise the President to unbundle, first of all, bring out ICPC, and EFCC together and unbundle them."

Fagbemi  who noted that investigation of criminal offences should not be handled by the same body adding that there must be a supervisory authority within the same system, said, "If there is investigation, it is another body, prosecution is another body. It doesn't augur well to ask the same authority to do investigation and come and do prosecution. That is when we have a problem.

"Investigation takes time especially in serious corruption cases. Are we prepared to wait. My take is that a situation should be created such as the one that happened when Hushpuppi was arrested.

"They had been trailing him for years, he didn't know and nobody will talk to him. But the day they said the time was up, he also knew that the time was up."

The Kwara nominee who noted  that investigation should be thorough, said,  "It shouldn't be that when a given governor leaves office, let's go, EFCC is investigating you. That is not the way to investigate criminal matters."

"You can take your time to prosecute but when you not, and it should be like the way an average American will react when the FBI knocks at the door."

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