Discordant tunes over ministerial nominees
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.