Names of Alhaji Yusuf Abubakar, (Kaduna); Mrs. Martina Odom, (Cross River); Dr. Jonah Madugu (Plateau); and Mrs. Omobola Johnson Olubusola, (Ondo); originally short-listed by the Presidency for appointment as ministers, were missing in the 34-man list of ministerial nominees President Goodluck Jonathan submitted to the Senate Tuesday. Two states – Benue and Ogun – presented two representatives each.
The President is expected to submit a second list in the next one week. But it’s not, however, clear if these names will be re-submitted.
This came as the Managing Director of the World Bank, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, THISDAY gathered last night, is still consulting in Washington, United States, with her employers. She had earlier been shortlisted as representative of the South-east geo-political zone on the cabinet.
Jonathan said in a letter dated June 27, 2011 conveying the names, that: “In accordance with Section 147 (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I hereby submit the following names with their CVs for confirmation as ministers by the distinguished members of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
He then urged the senators to give prompt attention to the consideration of the list.
Among those who made the list are Emeka Wogu (Abia); Senator Bala Mohammed (Bauchi); Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke (Bayelsa); Elder Godsday Orubebe (Delta); Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu (Ebonyi); Navy Capt. Caleb Olubolade (Ekiti); Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufai (Jigawa); Dr. Shamsudeen Usman (Kano); Mr. Mohammed Musa Sada (Katsina); Mohammed B. Adoke (SAN) (Kogi); and Mr. Olusegun Aganga (Lagos).
Others are Labaran Maku (Nasarawa); Alhaji Yusuf Suleiman (Sokoto); Dr. Obadiah Ando (Taraba); Hajia Zainab Maina (Adamawa); Prof. Ita Okon Bassey Ewa (Akwa Ibom); Mrs. Stella Oduah-Ogiemwonyi (Anambra); Comrade Abba Moro (Benue); Dr. Samuel Ioraer Ortom (Benue); Alhaji Bukar Tijani (Borno) Mr. Mike Onolememen (Edo); Prof. Barth Nnaji (Enugu); and Senator Idris Umar (Gombe).
Also on the list are Prof. Viola Onwuliri (Imo); Dr. Bello H. Mohammed (Kebbi); Alhaji Bolaji Abdullahi (Kwara); Mr. Olugbega Ashiru (Ogun); Dr. Akinwunmi Ayo Adesina (Ogun); Erelu Olusola Obada (Osun); Ms. Olajumoke Akinjide (Oyo); Mr. Tonye Cole (Rivers); Dr. Yerima Lawan Ngama (Yobe); Mr. Bashir Yuguda (Zamfara); and Hajia Zainab Ibrahim Kuchi (Niger).
The Senate, which received the list of the nominees yesterday, swiftly set out the screening modalities, which ruled out the old practice of casual confirmation of some nominees known as “Bow and go” in parliamentary parlance.
The newly appointed Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, who briefed newsmen at the end of a closed-door session of the Senate, disclosed that the screening could begin today “if we receive all the documentations today (yesterday)”.
He also said the Senate would also speedily approve the president’s request for the appointment of 20 special advisers whose names were however not attached with the request.
Ndoma-Egba said in conducting the screening, “we will be guided by the mood in the Senate and that mood is to have a thorough screening of everybody”, adding, “Every nominee will be subjected to the same level of grilling.”
The names of the 34 nominees read out on the floor yesterday by Senate President David Mark were contained in a letter from President Jonathan.
Ndoma-Egba disclosed that the issue of office accommodation for the new senators was also discussed at the closed-door session.
Also discussed, according to the Senate Leader, was the security situation in the country as it affects the National Assembly. On this issue, he said: “There is going to be a lot of inconvenience for everybody, National Assembly members, staff and visitors alike” and appealed for understanding as the inconvenience would be a temporary measure.
Meanwhile, the Acting National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Mohammed Haliru Bello, is set to resign as the party’s number one member, since his name has been submitted to the Senate for confirmation as minister. But his associates are urging him not to resign pending his final confirmation as a minister, THISDAY was told yesterday.
Given Article 15 of the PDP constitution, which says no member of the party is allowed to hold dual offices, it therefore behoves the acting chairman to resign, it was also gathered.
“Subject to the provisions of this constitution, any member holding any office in the party at any level shall be deemed to have resigned that office, if he or she assumes any full time employment or appointment in public service of the federation, state or local government,” Article 15 (J) of the PDP constitution states.
Also expected to resign is the National Auditor of the party, Dr. Samuel Ortom, from Benue State.
THISDAY also gathered that the handover notes of the acting national chairman has been ready since last week when he presided over the National Working Committee (NWC) meeting which briefly took place with few members.
However, some of his associates in the NWC are asking him not to tender his resignation letter pending the final confirmation by the Senate.
According to one of the NWC members, “He would be suffering double jeopardy if the Senate fails to clear him and on the other hand, he has resigned his office as the Acting National Chairman.
“If I was to be in his shoes, the appropriate time for him to resign, is when he is finally confirmed minister by the Senate and the Federal Executive Council set to be inaugurated. This is our position.”
But one thing is clear in today’s agenda of the party’s NWC. It is the expected handover notes of the acting national chairman.
By the PDP constitution, the acting national chairman is expected to submit his handover notes to the next in ranking from his zone who is Dr. Danladi Abdullahi Sankara.
Sankara is the Vice-Chairman (North-central), but now a senator having won his senatorial election to represent Jigawa State.
But in the absence of this, he is expected to hand over to the National Secretary, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, who is next in the line of ranking in the PDP hierarchy. According to a source in the Wadata Plaza Secretariat of the party, arrangements had been concluded to hand over the control of the party to the National Secretary of the party, Baraje.
However, it was gathered that Baraje may not be on the seat for more than a month as the acting national chairman of the party, as plans are under way to convey its Board of Trustees (BoT) and National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting to take far reaching decisions on issues affecting the party.
At its last NWC meeting on June 15, Bello and other members of the PDP NWC agreed on the need to hold the meetings of the BoT and the NEC immediately after the consultations for the constitution of the president’s cabinet. The meeting said that it was necessary to formally notify the NEC and the BoT of certain occurrences in the party.
In a related development, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, said yesterday that the selection of nominees for ministerial appointment by Jonathan was guided mainly by competence, credibility and capacity to deliver services to Nigeria rather than on political consideration alone.
According to Anyim, when members of the Senators’ Forum paid a courtesy call on him in his office in Abuja, the criteria became paramount to Jonathan when considering the nominees because of his strong desire to have a cabinet that would advance the cause of solving national challenges.
He said: “The choice of ministers was not based on political considerations alone – competence, credibility and capacity to deliver – were considered in order to advance the cause of solving national challenges.”
He also said the critical challenges facing the country at the moment were in the areas of security, corruption, unemployment, education and political stability, which he promised would be strongly tackled by the transformative agenda of the president.
Anyim also said the planned transformative agenda of the government would soon be unfolded, while assuring Nigerians, “People of integrity and capacity to deliver are being put in the right place; the governance structure is being re-organised to block all windows for corruption.
“The impact of these strategies will be felt by Nigerians soon.”
Speaking earlier, the Chair-person of the Senators’ Forum, Senator Khairat Abdulrazaq-Gwadabe, listed security, problems in the education sector, unemployment, corruption and the need for political balance in the country as some of the major challenges that must be urgently addressed by the government.
Abdulrazaq-Gwadabe also expressed concern about the spate of bomb blasts that had led to loss of lives and destruction of properties in the country, and urged all security agencies to utilise the resources at their disposal judiciously to improve the security situation.
Anambra: Mrs. Stella Ogienmonyi
Abia: Prof. Emeka Wogu
Enugu: Prof. Berth Nnaji
Ebonyi: Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu
Imo: Prof. (Mrs.) Viola Onwuliri
Edo: Mr. Mike Onolememen
Delta: Elder Godsday Orubebe
Cross River: -
Akwa Ibom: Ita-Okon Bassey Ewa
Bayelsa: Diezani Alison-Madueke
Rivers: Mr. Tonye Cole
Lagos: Olusegun Aganga
Ogun: Dr. Akinwunmi Ayo Adesina
Mr. Olugbenga Ashiru
Oyo: Ms. Olajumoke Akinjide
Osun: Erelu Olusola Obada
Ekiti: Navy Capt. Caleb Olubolade
Niger: Hajia Zainab Ibrahim Kuchi
Kwara: Alhaji Bolaji Abdullahi
Kogi: Mohammed B. Adoke
Benue: Comrade Abba Moro
Dr. Samuel Loraer Ortom
Nasarawa: Labaran Maku
Bauchi: Sen. Bala Mohammed
Gombe: Senator Idris Umar
Yobe: Dr. Yerima Lawan Ngama
Borno: Alhaji Bukar Tijani
Taraba: Dr. Obadiah Ando
Adamawa: Hajia Zainab Maina
Sokoto: Alhaji Yusuf Sulaiman
Kano: Dr. Shamsudeen Usman
Katsina: Mohammed Musa Sa’ada
Zamfara: Bashir Yuguda
Jigawa: Prof. Ruqqayatu Rufa’i
Kebbi: Dr. Bello Haliru Mohammed