Friday, 9 October 2015

Senate Sets Stringent Conditions For Ministerial Nominees

AHEAD of Tuesday’s commencement of screening, Senate, yesterday, raised hurdles that ministerial nominees must scale to be cleared for appointment.

The Senate, which said that the screening will be guided by the 1999 Constitution and the Senate Standing Orders 2015, as Amended, directed all nominees to submit 115 copies of their resume each to the Senate, on or before Monday.

This is coming as the nominees stormed the Police headquarters, Abuja, for profiling, yesterday.

Meanwhile, Special Adviser to the President, Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, yesterday dismissed as mere rumours reports that portfolios had been allocated to the nominees, insisting that portfolios would not be assigned until the nominees were cleared by the Senate.

Among others, the reports claimed that Kaduna State nominee, Amina Mohammed, has been slated as Finance Minister; Dr. Chris Ngige, Health; Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Information and Communication; Mr. Adebayo Shittu, Works; Abdulrahman Danbazau, Defence; Babatunde Fashola, FCT; Rotimi Amaechi, Niger Delta; Audu Ogbeh, Agriculture; Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Foreign Affairs, and Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Science and Technology.

Nominees for profiling
Among nominees who were at the Force headquarters yesterday are Audu Ogbeh, Benue; Chris Ngige, Anambra; Udoma Udo Udoma, Akwa Ibom, and Abubakar Malami, Kebbi.

The electronic profiling of the 21 ministerial nominees at the Police Headquarters took many by surprise as such exercises were usually carried out by either the Department of State Services, DSS, or office of the National Security Adviser, NSA.

Chat212 gathered that the first set of the ministerial nominees, who arrived in batches, was received and led to the ICT Profiling Centre by the Inspector General, Solo-mon Arase, at about 12.15p.m. and left at about 12. 35p.m.

Other ministerial nominees reportedly arrived the Force Headquarters between 1p.m. and 1.45p.m. and similarly carried out their finger-printing and profiling at the 7th floor office profiling room.

The profiling of the ministerial nominees, complete with their finger prints and other biometrics, which is the first of its kind since appointment of ministers in the present democratic dispensation, is seen by observers as a way of collecting current data of the nominees by the Federal Government to ensure proper records for purposes of accountability in future.

However, some observers wondered why the ministerial nominees who are yet to scale the Senate screening hurdle, should go ahead and commence profiling when many of them were not sure if they will scale the Senate screening, particularly those with pending petitions.

One observer who spoke under condition of anonymity asked: “What happens if some of these nominees fail to pass through the screening exercise? Or does it mean that the Federal Government is already thinking of appointing these persons irrespective of whether or not they pass the screening hurdle?”

Petitions against nominees
The Senate also, yesterday, ordered the Senator Samuel Anyanwu-led Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to ensure that all petitions submitted against any nominee were treated on or before Monday and submit the report on Tuesday before the screening begins.
Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, gave the order soon after a petition was presented by Danjuma La’ah, representing Kaduna South Senatorial district, against the Kaduna State nominee, Aisha Ibrahim Muhammed.

Senator La’ah was, however, not clear which state the ministerial nominee comes from because she is from Gombe State by birth and married to a Kaduna indigene.

Earlier yesterday, the Senators went into a closed door session for two and half hours, where issues relating to Tuesday’s screening of the nominees were discussed.

36 nominees or no screening - PDP
Also, Senators elected on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, were in a closed-door meeting for an hour.

A source told Chat212 at the end of the meeting that the PDP senators were not comfortable with the partial submission of ministerial nominees.

The source said PDP Senators have warned that the nominees must not be cleared until the President forwards the remaining list.