- Amaechi’s screening deferred
- Ibeto’s nomination withdrawn
- Lai Mohammed escapes disqualification
The Nigerian Senate, yesterday, confirmed 18 out of the 36 ministerial nominees sent to it by President Muhammadu Buhari. This follows the screening of eight additional nominees.
Those confirmed include Senator Udoma Udo-Udoma, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Chief Audu Ogbeh, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, General Abdurrahman Dambazau, Mrs. Amina Mohammed, Sulaiman Adamu and Ibrahim Usman Jibril.
Also confirmed were Babatunde Raji Fashola, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, Abubakar Malami (SAN), Dr. Chris Ngige, Senator Aisha Jummai Alhassan, Solomon Dalong, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun and Senator Hadi Sirika.
Spokesman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Lai Mohammed narrowly escaped disqualification as his confirmation was saved by the Senate president, who wielded his influence by ignoring the thunderous shouts of ‘Nay’ by Senators opposed to his (Lai) confirmation.
The screening exercise started at about 11.45am, during which the ministers-designate took their turns to clear the air on critical national issues.
However, the screening of former governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Amaechi was again deferred, following the failure of the committee on Ethics and Public Petitions to submit the report at plenary.
Before the Senate resumed plenary yesterday, chairman of the committee on Ethics and Public Petitions, Senator Simon Anyanwu had informed the Senate President that the report of his committee which received and treated petitions against Amaechi was not ready to be submitted to the floor of the Senate.
Meanwhile, the Senate President has announced the withdrawal of former deputy governor of Niger State, Ahmed Musa Ibeto as nominee. Saraki stated that President Buhari sent in the memo regarding Ibeto’s withdrawal. No reason was given for the withdrawal.
Former governor of Lagos State, Fashola was the first to take the hot seat during the screening, which preceded the confirmation. He was queried on how to increase existing Value Added Tax (VAT) in the country, to be at par with what is obtainable in other African countries.
Fashola explained how he was able to restructure Lagos State and increase the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). He argued that healthy competition was one way through which states in Nigeria can look inward to generate more funds and rely less on the Federal Government.
Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, spoke on the fuel subsidy regime, Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), restructuring the existing refineries and corruption in the oil and gas sector for almost one and a half hours.
Malami (SAN) promised to do everything within the ambits of the law to deliver on the campaign promises of President Buhari.
Dr. Ngige who served as a Senator between 2007 and 2015, was only questioned by the Senate president after which he took a bow and left the chamber.
Alhassan who equally served as a Senator before contesting as governor of Taraba State during the last general elections, was not grilled. Like Ngige, she was briefly questioned by the Senate president, after which she took a bow and left.
Dalong, while reacting to questions bordering on prisons reforms and decongestion, explained in details what he would do if appointed as Minister of Interior.
Adeosun from Ogun State expressed her willingness to serve and contribute her quota to national development. She was bombarded with questions relating to the management of the economy. She was also queried on how she would advice the government in exploring alternative sources of income. She assured that nothing would be left to chance in ensuring that the economy is put on the right path.
Sitting was adjourned at about 5.19pm till today for further screening and confirmation of the ministerial nominees.
Ibrahim Usman Jibril
Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu
Abubakar Malami (SAN)
Chris Nwabueze Ngige
Aisha Jummai Alhassan