Senate screens, approves three additional ministers for Tinubu - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Senate screens, approves three additional ministers for Tinubu

The Senate has screened and approved the nomination of three additional ministers for President Bola Tinubu.

Ministerial nominees whose nominations were approved during Wednesday’s plenary include: Balarabe Abbas Lawal (Kaduna), Dr Jamila Bio Ibrahim (Kwara) and Ayodele Olawande (Ondo). 

The appointment of the new ministers was confirmed after the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, took a voice vote after the screening exercise. 

Earlier, the Kaduna State ministerial nominee, Balarabe Abbas Lawal, who was nominated by President Bola Tinubu as replacement for former Governor Nasir El-Rufai, slumped during screening. 

The unfortunate incident caused panic among Senators and Sergeants At Arms personnel who scampered to render first aid. 

Initially, the nominee who spoke for several minutes during the screening exercise showed no sign of discomfort but soon fell to the floor after appearing to have concluded his presentation. 

He was expected to prepare to respond to questions from the law makers when the incident occurred. Lawal was the second nominee to be screened. 

The Senate went into closed door session while efforts were made to revive the nominee who is still inside the chamber. 

He was the second nominee to be screened after Bio Ibrahim.

Balarabe collapsed just as the Kaduna South Senator, Sunday Marshall Katung, was Balarabe’s wealth of experience as an administrator in his native Kaduna state having served as Secretary to the state government. 

The Kaduna lawmaker, while endorsing Balarabe's ministerial nomination, said all three senators from the state were supportive of his nomination. 

Senator Katung was still speaking when  the nominee collapsed, prompting the Senate President Godswill Akpabio to shout, "Give him water, give him water and sugar."

Akpabio immediately ordered journalists and cameramen out of the Senate chamber while the live streaming of the screening was also abruptly discontinued.

A lawmaker, who pleaded anonymity later explained that the nominee collapsed due to exhaustion because he was observing a fast. 

He, however said, "The man is okay now, he has been stabilized.”

The Senate resumed the screening exercise almost one hour after the incident.

Speaking before asking the last nominee, Olawande from Ondo, Akpabio said Balarabe admitted that he was exhausted having over worked for some days before the screening. 

Akpabio said, “The nominee, Mr Balarabe Abbas Lawal said he was quite exhausted, and that he rushed to Abuja for his ministerial screening.”

Akpabio explained that the nominee insisted on going ahead with the screening, saying he was fine. 

Recall that President Tinubu sent the names of three ministerial nominees including that of Lawal. 

Lawal was nominated as replacement for former Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai. 

El-Rufai was earlier nominated as a minister but his appointment was not confirmed by the Senate.

The replacement was conveyed in a letter read by the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio at the plenary on Tuesday.

Balarabe, a former Secretary to the Kaduna State government was in April appointed to lead a 65-man transition committee ahead of the swearing-in of Kaduna State Governor, Uba Sani.

The Senate had in August stepped down the clearance of El-Rufai and former Nexim Bank, Managing Director, Stella Okotete (Delta State) and Abubakar Danlandi, a nominee from Taraba State following non clearance from security services. 

The president had earlier sent 48 nominees to the Senate out of which 45 we're confirmed ministers.

During his screening, the ministerial nominee from Ondo State, Ayodele Olawande, stressed the need to engage the youths in productive activities wherever they are in the country.

He emphasized the need to establish digital training centres in all communities nationwide in order to give youths the needed recreational opportunities as well as create jobs. 

The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, in his remarks afterwards said the 34-year-old community development expert demonstrated commitment, character and competence.

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