Dis­cor­dant tunes over min­is­te­rial nom­i­nees

Daily Trust - - INSIDE POLITICS - From Vic­tor Edozie, Port Har­court

As the Se­nate com­mences screen­ing of the first batch of min­is­te­rial nom­i­nees sent by Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari, there have been se­ries of com­plaints and ag­i­ta­tions from some states over the suit­abil­ity or oth­er­wise of the nom­i­nees. Our cor­re­spon­dents look at var­i­ous con­tentious is­sues:

There is a rag­ing war be­tween the Kwara State chap­ter of the All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC) and its La­gos State coun­ter­part over the nom­i­na­tion of the party's Na­tional Pub­lic­ity Sec­re­tary, Al­haji Lai Mo­hammed, as a min­is­te­rial nom­i­nee for Kwara State.

Al­ready, the nom­i­na­tion has sparked spon­ta­neous protests and ap­plauses.

Daily Trust learnt that the is­sue has fur­ther deep­ened the supremacy bat­tle be­tween the Se­nate Pres­i­dent Bukola Saraki and the APC Na­tional Leader, Asi­waju Bola Ahmed Tin­ubu.

The grouse of the protesters, it was learnt, was that Mo­hammed was more of a Lagosian than Kwaran.

The Kwara State APC, where Saraki holds the ace, ar­gued that Lai Mo­hammed was not a card-car­ry­ing mem­ber of APC in the state and that he didn't register as a voter in his coun­try home, Oro, in Ire­po­dun Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Area of the state.

A group within the PDP in the state, known as Unity Team for Kwara PDP, has also re­port­edly re­jected the nom­i­na­tion of Mo­hammed.

How­ever, a prom­i­nent group in Kwara South Sen­a­to­rial dis­trict, where Mo­hammed hails from, the Orisun Ig­bom­ina, backed the nom­i­nee whom it de­scribed as a man of in­tegrity who is more than qual­i­fied to be ap­pointed min­is­ter.

On his part, Lai Mo­hammed said those who are protest­ing against his min­is­te­rial nom­i­na­tion are ig­no­rant.

“I re­turned ac­tively to Kwara in 2002 and ran for gover­nor in 2003 and sub­se­quently been sup­port­ive of the party’s can­di­dates both at the leg­isla­tive and gov­er­nor­ship lev­els. I think these peo­ple (protesters) are new mem­bers of our party who may be ig­no­rant of my an­tecedent in the party.” In Katsina State, a politi­cian Sani Ba­ture Gafai said for eq­uity, so­cial jus­tice and fair play, Pres­i­dent Buhari ought to have zoned the min­is­te­rial po­si­tion to Katsina Sen­a­to­rial zone in­stead of Daura where he comes from.

Gafai said Daura zone had al­ready pro­duced the pres­i­dent, DG SSS and Speaker of the state House of Assem­bly.

He said to bal­ance the po­lit­i­cal equa­tion, the pres­i­dent should have looked else­where for the min­is­te­rial nom­i­nee.

“It is hoped that Mr. Pres­i­dent would un­der­stand the po­lit­i­cal im­pli­ca­tion and act ac­cord­ingly in or­der to avoid any po­lit­i­cal mis­giv­ings that may neg­a­tively af­fect his po­lit­i­cal ca­reer in his state,” he said. an­gry and there are ru­mours that they would soon stage a se­ri­ous demon­stra­tion against Pres­i­dent Buhari.

There grudge was that Mr. Og­bon­naya Onu was not from Abia but Ebonyi State.

Ac­cord­ing to them, he was the for­mer gover­nor when Abia was still with Ebonyi State. The peo­ple are com­plain­ing that it's their statu­tory right to have a min­is­te­rial nom­i­nee. There was mix re­ac­tion in Plateau State over the nom­i­na­tion of hu­man rights ac­tivist and lawyer, Bar­ris­ter Solomon Dalung as min­is­ter in Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari's cab­i­net.

An el­der states­man and for­mer Nige­ria's Am­bas­sador to Switzer­land, Al­haji Ya­haya Kwande, said in the in­ter­est and mis­sion of con­sol­i­dat­ing peace in the state, the peo­ple would pre­fer the nom­i­na­tion of some­one from the north­ern part of the state rather than Dalung.

Kwande said, "We would not op­pose Solomon Dalung as a nom­i­nee from Plateau be­cause he is qual­i­fied, but we have pe­cu­liar­ity of build­ing peace now on the Plateau. The gover­nor came from the South, the deputy gover­nor from the Cen­tral and we thought the min­is­ter would come from the North­ern part to put us on equal po­lit­i­cal ba­sis,” he said.

On his part, a renowned Is­lamic Scholar in Jos, and deputy Chair­man, Ulama/ El­ders Coun­cil in Plateau State, Sheik Al­has­san Said Adam, hailed Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari for nom­i­nat­ing Dalung as a min­is­ter, say­ing, the de­ci­sion was a good step in the right di­rec­tion. The La­gos State chap­ter of the PDP has ex­pressed dis­ap­point­ment over the nom­i­na­tion of for­mer gover­nor Ba­batunde Fashola for min­is­te­rial ap­point­ment by Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari.

Spokesman of the La­gos PDP, Taofiq Gani, said the nom­i­na­tion of Fashola was self-serv­ing and not in the in­ter­est of Lagosians.

But the APC dis­missed the PDP's com­ments, say­ing Fashola re­mains a good model of gov­er­nance in the coun­try and not only in La­gos.

The PDP spokesman in a chat with our cor­re­spon­dent in­sisted that Fashola's nom­i­na­tion flies in the face of Buhari's anti-cor­rup­tion mantra be­cause of the al­leged cor­rup­tion per­pe­trated by Fashola dur­ing his eight-year so­journ as gover­nor of La­gos State.

On his part, the spokesman of APC, Joe Ig­bokwe, in a text mes­sage to our cor­re­spon­dent said, "If Fashola is not in the list, who will be in the list? Make no mis­take about it, for­mer Gover­nor Fashola is the num­ber one tested and trusted per­former in that list and he re­mains a huge and mon­u­men­tal as­set to APC, pol­i­tics or no pol­i­tics." Rivers State chap­ter of the PDP and its APC coun­ter­part have dis­agreed on the cred­i­bil­ity of for­mer Gover­nor Chibuike Amaechi to be ap­pointed a cab­i­net min­is­ter.

The PDP in a state­ment signed by the spe­cial ad­viser on media to the party chair­man, Jerry Nadeem, said, "Sec­tions 66 (1) and 147 (5) of 1999 Con­sti­tu­tion of the Fed­eral Re­pub­lic of Nige­ria as amended states that “No per­son shall be qual­i­fied for elec­tion to the Se­nate or the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives if he has been in­dicted for em­bez­zle­ment or fraud by a Ju­di­cial Com­mis­sion of In­quiry or a Tri­bunal set up un­der the Tri­bunal of In­quiry Act or a Tri­bunal of In­quiry Law or any law by the Fed­eral Re­pub­lic of Nige­ria or State Gov­ern­ment which in­dict­ment has been ac­cepted by the Fed­eral or State Gov­ern­ment re­spec­tively.

The Rivers State APC how­ever de­scribed Amaechi’s nom­i­na­tion as a fit­ting in­de­pen­dence an­niver­sary gift by the Nige­rian leader to the state and her peo­ple.

A state­ment signed by the APC chair­man in the state, Dr. Davies Ibi­amu Ikanya, said “With the list­ing of Rt. Hon. Amaechi as a min­is­te­rial nom­i­nee de­spite all the ma­nip­u­la­tions, witch-hunt­ing and other evil plots by Chief Nye­som Wike and his co­horts, we are elated that, once more, good has pre­vailed over evil, God over devil, Amaechi over wicked Wike, light over dark­ness, pa­tri­o­tism over nepo­tism.” The Niger East Peo­ples Fo­rum has con­demned the re­cent nom­i­na­tion of Al­haji Ahmed Musa Ibeto as min­is­te­rial nom­i­nee from the state, de­scrib­ing the ac­tion as a de­lib­er­ate plan by the APC-led ad­min­is­tra­tion to scheme out and iso­late the sen­a­to­rial dis­trict.

Speak­ing on be­half of the Fo­rum yesterday, its vice chair­man, Hon Shehu Barwa Beji, said the nom­i­na­tion of Ibeto for the po­si­tion came as a rude shock for the peo­ple of Zone B, con­sid­er­ing the “gross im­bal­ance in the re­cent po­lit­i­cal ap­point­ments in Niger State.”

He said the nom­i­na­tion of Ibeto, who is from the same zone as the gover­nor and Sec­re­tary to the State Gov­ern­ment (SSG) con­tra­venes the ex­ist­ing po­lit­i­cal ar­range­ment in the state, where po­si­tions are eq­ui­tably dis­trib­uted among the zones.

“It was on this strength that in 1999, dur­ing the Obasanjo ad­min­is­tra­tion, when Pro­fes­sor Jerry Gana from Niger South Sen­a­to­rial Dis­trict was nom­i­nated for min­is­te­rial ap­point­ment that the then gover­nor, Ab­dulka­diri Kure, ob­jected to his nom­i­na­tion. There­fore, Engr. Mustapha Bello from the Niger North Sen­a­to­rial Dis­trict was even­tu­ally nom­i­nated.

“It was based on this agreed prin­ci­ple of fair rep­re­sen­ta­tion that in 2007 when Dr Shem Nuhu Zag­bayi of Niger East Sen­a­to­rial Dis­trict was nom­i­nated for min­is­te­rial po­si­tion, Gover­nor Muazu Ba­bangida Aliyu who came from the same Sen­a­to­rial Dis­trict with the nom­i­nee ob­jected to it. This led to the ap­point­ment of Barr Has­san Gimba from Niger South Sen­a­to­rial Dis­trict as Min­is­ter of Sport. This was done to main­tain the needed po­lit­i­cal bal­ance and sense of be­long­ing to all, for peace­ful co­ex­is­tence, good gov­er­nance and rapid eco­nomic growth and de­vel­op­ment.” Sen­a­tor Mo­ham­madu Magoro has said that he has no ob­jec­tion to Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari's nom­i­na­tion of Abubakar Malami SAN as a min­is­ter.

“Malami's nom­i­na­tion is a welcome idea and I have no ob­jec­tion to it be­cause he is a very good can­di­date and has no grudges with any­body.

A lawyer and for­mer PDP House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tive 2015 as­pi­rant for Birnin Kebbi/Kalgo/Bunza fed­eral con­stituency, Bar­ris­ter Aliyu Sambo, while rais­ing alarm on a pur­ported move by a cer­tain zone in the state to write a pe­ti­tion on Malami's nom­i­na­tion, had ap­pealed to the three sen­a­tors from the state to dis­re­gard any move that will scut­tle the chances of the nom­i­nee. Gombe Youth Aware­ness Fo­rum (GYAF) and Gombe Youth Pro­gres­sive Fo­rum (GYPF) have dif­fered over the nom­i­na­tion of Ha­jiya Amina Mo­hammed as min­is­ter.

GYAF op­posed the nom­i­na­tion of Ha­jiya Amina while GYPF sup­ported her nom­i­na­tion.

Ad­dress­ing a press con­fer­ence sep­a­rately in Gombe, co­or­di­na­tor of GYAF, Mal­lam Abubakar Umar, said they op­posed the nom­i­na­tion be­cause she was part of the past PDP ad­min­is­tra­tion and she re­mains an ac­tive mem­ber of the PDP.

On his part, state chair­man of GYPF, Al­haji sal­ihu Ma­gaji, said as a tech­no­crat, Amina re­mains the right choice as min­is­ter.

He cited her track records, achieve­ments and con­tri­bu­tions to the de­vel­op­ment of the 36 states of the fed­er­a­tion and Abuja.

Pres­i­dent Buhari

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