With the announcement of ministerial nominees from 21 states, attention has shifted to the remaining 15 states of the country and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, which slots are yet to be filled.
States that are yet to have nominees are Abia, Adamawa, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Borno, Cross River, Enugu, Imo, Kogi, Nasarawa, Ondo, Osun, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara
Leaders of All Progressives Congress, APC, at the national and state levels, and other stakeholders, Vanguard gathered, are still lobbying to get themselves or their associates nominated.
They have intensified moves to reach out to President Muhammadu Buhari and strategic aides on the issue.The President’s tight-lipped handling of the process has led to an avalanche of speculations, especially given the surprises that trailed the first list. The former governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who is on the list, said he was surprised at his nomination because in spite of his closeness to Buhari, he never got any hint.
This is coming as kudos and knocks have continued to trail the ministerial list and as some senators vowed, yesterday, to oppose the clearing of some of the nominees, following petitions against them. The nominees affected are former governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi and Amina Mohammed.
In his independence speech, President Buhari said he had forwarded the first batch of the nominees to Senate President Bukola Saraki and that the second list would follow shortly. At press time, the second list had not arrived, a development sources attributed to “more work” being done on the list. It was also not clear if the President would meet the expectation of sending the list before next Tuesday’s commencement of screening by senators.
In Imo, the matter is hot as President Buhari appeared to have side-stepped Governor Rochas Okorocha’s suggestions.
The governor, who incidentally, is the chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum, reportedly forwarded two ministerial nominees, namely immediate past Secretary to the Government of Imo State, Professor Anthony Anwuka, and the immediate past Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly, Benjamin Uwajumogu. Apart from Okorocha, former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, is also said to be lobbying for Chief Festus Odimegwu, a former chairman of the National Population Commission, NPC, to take the Imo slot.
Sokoto, Enugu, Abia
In Sokoto, the slot may go to immediate past governor, Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko or Boss Gida Mustapha, a lawyer. Those angling for Mustapha say he could play a stabilising role in the Buhari cabinet with his experience. Mustapha lost the APC governorship ticket to Senator Bindow Jibrilla, who went on to win and is now governor.
In Enugu, the President has a long list to pick from, which may have accounted for the delay in nominating a minister from the state. Those said to be in consideration include Osita Okechukwu, who is National Publicity Secretary of the CNPP; former Minister of Power, Professor Barth Nnaji; APC National Vice Chairman, South-East, Emma Eneukwu; APC governorship candidate, Chief Okey Ezea and Chief Onyemuche Nnamani.
In Abia, the race is between Buhari’s old associate, Ike Emenike, and the party’s 2015 governorship candidate, Anyim Nzeribe.
For the Ondo slot, former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) appears to be one of the most favoured, while in Osun, an interesting scenario is playing out between former Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola, said to be backed by Governor Rauf Aregbesola and the APC, and immediate past Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Profesor Isaac Adewole.
Sekibo vows to oppose
Senator Thompson Sekibo (PDP, Rivers East), yesterday brought the petition to the floor of the Senate. The petition was reportedly sent to President Buhari a couple of weeks ago.
Indeed, a group under the aegis of The Integrity Group, yesterday at the Senate opposed Amaechi’s nomination via a petition entitled Petition Against Ministerial Nominee: Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi: Demand to Withdraw and Reject His Nomination and Appointment on the Corruption, Criminal Breach of Trust, Unlawful Enrichment and Conversion of over N70 billion Rivers Peoples Monies by the Former Governor of Rivers State.
In the petition signed by the Media/Publicity Director, Livingstone Wechie, the group said its objective was to fight corruption and ensure that corrupt persons were brought to justice and alleged stolen moneys recovered.
Soon after Senator Sekibo raised a point of order, notifying the Senate that he had a petition from the Integrity Group from Rivers State, members of the APC, unanimously shouted “no, no,” continuously in an attempt to shout him down.
But to save Sekibo, the President of the Senate asked him to lay the petition before the Chamber, and thereafter, it was committed to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions for further legislative input.
Petition against Amina
In a related development, Senator Senator Danjuma Laah (PDP, Kaduna South), in a document entitled Objection Against the Nomination of Mrs Amina Mohammed, or Amina Ibrahim as Minister Representing Kaduna State, said: “The vote and proceedings document (Senate) of Tuesday, carries one Amina Ibrahim (no state of origin was listed) on the list as a ministerial nominee.
“Daily Trust of Wednesday, October 7, carries one Amina Mohammed, Kaduna State, as state of origin, a ministerial nominee.
“Daily Sun of Wednesday, October 7 carries one Amina Mohammed, Gombe State as state of origin, a ministerial nominee. The above are different sources carrying variations either in names or in the states of origin.
“Be that as it may, I Senator Danjuma Laah, stand firmly by the provision of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Section 147 Act(3) – which reads in part, ‘Any appointment under subsection (2) of this section by the President shall be in conformity with the provisions of Section 14(3) of the Constitution, provided that in giving effect to the provisions aforesaid, the President shall appoint at least one minister from each state, who shall be an indigene of such state.
“The Daily Trust Page 44 of October 7, a part of Amina Mohammed’s citation reads ‘was born of a Nigerian father from Gombe and a British mother from Wales, she was educated in Nigeria from the age of two in Birin Kebbi, Kaduna and Maiduguri, before finishing in Isles of Man’.
“It is in the light of above, that I categorically state that I will throw my weight behind scuttling any attempt to impose on the good people of Kaduna State a non-indigene to represent them at the Federal level. “