PDP can’t stop cabinet nominees – APC senators
All Progressives Congress (APC) Senators have said they will not allow their colleagues from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) any chance to disqualify President Muhammadu Buhari’s ministerial nominees when confirmation hearing opens tomorrow.
The Senate Thursday approved guidelines for confirmation of ministerial nominees which gave PDP senators enormous powers over who becomes a minister from their states.
There are three senators from each state and one of the guidelines requires a nominee to get the backing of at least two senators before he or she is confirmed by the Senate.
This puts Buhari’s nominees from the South-South and South-East at the mercy of opposition since his party has no senators from the eleven states in the two zones.
On Wednesday, Senator George Sekibo (PDP, Rivers East) tabled a petition seeking the rejection of the nomination of former of governor of Rivers state, Rotimi Amaechi.
However, in an exclusive interview with Daily Trust yesterday, Senate Leader Ali Ndume said they would resist any attempt by the PDP Senators to disqualify any nominee.
“We won’t allow the PDP senators to disqualify the ministerial nominees because they are qualified and suitable for the federal cabinet in line with the Constitution of the country.
“Even though we will allow the PDP Senators to do their job, we will not allow them to use any selfish interest to push down the ministerial nominees.
“The interest of the country should be the utmost interest of all of us now,” he said in a phone interview.
Reacting to the report that the nominees are lobbying the PDP Senators, Ndume said there was nothing bad in that.
He said: “It is normal and this has been the tradition everywhere including in the United States.
“In fact, let me tell you, as the Majority leader and chief marketer of the nominees, I have been lobbying my colleagues.
“I have reached out to two Senators from Rivers state who were my colleagues at the House of Reps. I have spoken to Senator George Sekibo and Senator Olaka Johnson Nwogu for them to support Amaechi.
“We will not let our ministerial nominees suffer unnecessarily but in doing this we will follow due process.
“As we have said the screening will be different this time around because we will follow the Constitutional provisions”.
But he added: “Let me tell you, the issue of getting two Senators is not sacrosanct”.
Meanwhile, our correspondent reports that the ministerial nominees are making last minutes move to meet the conditions set by the Senate for the screening.
It was reliably gathered that the nominees have declared their assets at the Code of Conduct Bureau and are now lobbying Senators from their respective states.