Mar 24 2010
By Fidelis Soriwei, John Alechenu and Tobi Soniyi:
Acting President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday forwarded a list of 25 nominees to the Senate for screening as ministers.
Only three former ministers and four ministers of state are on the list delivered to the President of the Senate, Mr. David Mark, by the Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Mr. Cairo Ojougboh at 3:45pm.
Curiously, a former Minister of Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili, who had been widely mentioned as one of the likely ex-ministers that would return to the Federal Executive Council, did not make the list.
It was, however, gathered from an authoritative source in the Presidency that Akunyili had been penciled down to either head the Independent National Electoral Commission, the National Communication Commission or a high- profile United Nation’s body.
Akunyili led the campaign for the elevation of Jonathan as Acting President following her memo to the FEC for it to consider the state of President Umaru Yar’Adua’s health.
The three former ministers are Mr. Adetokunbo Kayode (Justice), Mrs. Dieziani Alison-Maduekwe (Power and Steel Development) and Senator Sanusi Dagash (National Planning), while the four ex-ministers of state are Mr. Odein Ajumogobia (Petroleum); Mr. Godsday Orubebe (Niger Delta); Fidelia Njeze (Agriculture); and Mr. Nuhu Wya (Power).
Another curious aspect of the list is the inclusion of Alhaji Murtala Yar’Adua and Mrs. Josephine Anenih as nominees.
Murtala, who is believed to be the President’s nephew, might replace Dr. Sayyadu Abba-Ruma, a former Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources. Josephine is the wife of a former Peoples Democratic Party Board of Trustees Chairman, ex-Minister of Works, and Chairman of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Chief Tony Anenih.
Also on the list are Mr. Olusegun Aganga, and a former Deputy Governor of Nassarawa State, Mr. Labaran Maku.
Aganga, an Oxford-trained global investment banker is the Managing Director of Goldman Investment, United Kingdom. The parent company, Goldman Sachs, has a market capitalisation of $94bn with 32,500 employees in 55 offices in 22 countries.
On the list too is the Vice-Chancellor of the Kebbi State University, Prof. M.K Abubakar. Abubakar who may replace the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Adamu Aliero, is a professor of Biochemistry and a recipient of a UN award in nutrition for children.
A former military administrator of Bayelsa State, Navy Captain Ernest Olubolade (rtd), also made the list. The Ekiti State-born ex-naval officer was said to have put the foundation for the development of Bayelsa State in place.
A former Managing Director of the Nigerian Gas Company, Mr. Chris Ogiemwonyi; an ex-leader of the South-South caucus in the House of Representatives, Mr. Nduese Essien; a former Vice-President of the Bank of America, Mrs. Remi Duyile, Umar Aliyu; and Alhaji Abubakar Mohammed, also made the list.
It was learnt that most of the ex-ministers failed to make the list because of security reports.
THE PUNCH had reported exclusively that Jonathan would submit the list on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Code of Conduct Bureau has started probing former ministers to find out if they used their offices to enrich themselves.
Already, assets declaration forms have been sent by the bureau to some of the ex-ministers asking them to state their assets to determine if they were acquired legitimately or not.
The CCB’s spokesperson, Mrs. Idowu Jokpeyibo, who spoke with our correspondent on the telephone on Tuesday, said that because the cabinet dissolution was sudden, the bureau could not serve all the former ministers with the assets declaration forms.
Jokpeyibo added that other ex-ministers that had not been served with the forms had been asked to go to the Assets Declaration Department of the bureau in Asokoro District, Abuja to collect them.
She said, “Because the dissolution was so sudden we were not able to serve all the former ministers with the assets declaration forms.
“We expect those who have not received the forms to go to our office at Asokoro and collect, fill, and return them in line with the code of conduct for public officers.”
Jonathan dissolved the Federal Executive Council a week ago after a seven-hour meeting with its members.
Under the law establishing the CCB, every public officer shall within three months of taking office and at the end of every four years or at the end of his term of office submit to the bureau, a written declaration of all properties, assets and liabilities and those of his spouse, or unmarried children under the age of 21.
Any property or assets acquired by a public officer after any declaration and which is not fairly attributable to his remuneration would be considered a breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers unless the contrary is proved.
For the purposes of the Code of Conduct, the following are classified as public officers: The President, the vice-president, president and deputy president of the Senate, speaker and deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, speakers and deputy speakers of House of Houses of Assembly as well as all members and staff of legislative houses.
Others are governors and deputy governors, Chief Justice of Nigeria, justices of the Supreme Court, president and justices of the Court of Appeal and all other judicial officers and staff of law. The Attorney-General of the Federation and state Attorneys- General are also classified as public officers.
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