By John Alechenu and Ihuoma Chiedozie:
The Senate will on Monday begin the screening of 33 ministerial nominees sent to it for approval by Acting President Goodluck Jonathan.
Ten nominees that were not on the 25-member list widely published in the media on Wednesday appeared in the new list read by the President of the Senate, Mr. David Mark, during the Senate’s plenary in Abuja later in the day.
Top on the list of the 10 new nominees are former Minister of Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili(Anambra); ex-Minister of National Planning, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman (Kano); and former Minister of State for Finance, Senator Jubril Martins Kuye (Ogun).
The others are Alhaji Adamu Waziri (Yobe), Najim Awodele Alao (Ogun), Yusuf Suleiman (Sokoto), Prof. Rubia Rufai (Jigawa), Alhaji Musa Sad’aa (Katsina), Prof. F. Abdulah (Niger), Capt. Emmanuel Iheneacho (Imo).
Those that were mentioned in the 25-member list but whose names did not appear in the fresh(33) list are Alhaji Ndanusa Alao and Mallam Adamu Maisari.
Those whose names appeared in both the old and the latest lists are Mrs. Josephine Anenih (Anambra); Mr. Godsday Orubebe (Delta); Senator Sanusi Dagash (Borno); Bala Mohammed (Sokoto); Odein Ajumogobia (Rivers); Diezani Alison-Madueke (Bayelsa); Nuhu Wya (Kaduna); Fidelia Njeze (Enugu); Labaran Maku (Nasarawa); and Adetokunbo Kayode (Ondo).
Others are Senator Akinlabi Olasunkanmi (Osun); Prof. M. K. Abubakar (Kebbi); Navy Captain Ernest S. Olubolade (Ekiti); Suleiman Bello (Zamfara); Bello Adoke (SAN) (Kogi); Chris Ogiemwonyi (Edo); Murtala Yar’Adua (Katsina); Nduese Essien (Akwa Ibom); Umaru Aliyu (Taraba); Abubakar Mohammed (Gombe); Olusegun Aganga (Lagos); Josephine Tapgun (Plateau); and Chukwuemeka Wogu (Abia).
The Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Information and Media, Senator Anthony Manzo, announced that the senate would on Monday begin a screening of the nominees.
“The Senate will be holding a special session on Monday to commence the screening of ministerial nominees,” he told journalists in Abuja.
Manzo did not entertain further questions on the matter.
However, a foretaste of what some of those slated for re-appointments are up against was demonstrated on the floor during plenary.
As Mark read out the name of former Minister of National Planning Senator Sanusi Daggash (Borno State) the shout of “no, no, no” rent the air.
Some Senators who spoke in confidence said three of the nominees who were ex-ministers had some explanations to make.
Specifically, Daggash, a former Senator, who was Minister of National Planning, was accused of bringing the reputation of the Senate and senators to disrepute with his conduct and utterances while serving as a minister.
A Senator said, “He was the agent provocateur in the face off between the Senate and President Umaru Yar’Adua during the 2009 budget crisis.
“Unknown to him, we knew he told the President that the National Assembly usually padded budgetary allocations to ministries, agencies and parastatals for personal benefit.
“It was a baseless allegation which was largely responsible for the delay in the passage of that year’s budget.
“His partner in this act was Shamsudeen Usman (Kano State) who was finance minister.
“He told Nigerians that the National Assembly should be held responsible for the budget delays.
“He specifically said because we pass the budget late, implementation would always be poor.
“Usman cleverly left out the fact that the Executive, which he was a part of, brings the document late each year. They may pass but it is not going to be easy.”
Another highly placed Senator who spoke to our correspondent in confidence said his colleagues were “sufficiently angry” with the abysmal performance of most of the former ministers to ensure they do not make it back into the cabinet.
“I can say without fear of contradiction that the mood in the Senate is that of anger.
“Senators are angry; angry that most of the ministers did not only under-achieve, they were so arrogant that they treated National Assembly summons with levity.
“They ignored our invitations, when you go for oversight functions, they insult your intelligence.”
Some of the nominees equally have yet-to-be resolved issues with their state governors.
Committees of the Senate had a running battle with some of the former ministers over issues of appropriation and budget performance.
Specifically, the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Rilwanu Lukman, was fined N4,000 for consistently refusing to honour Senate invitations.
Meanwhile, Kaduna State Governor, Alhaji Namadi Sambo, on Wednesday said that governors were consulted before the submission of the new ministerial list to the National Assembly.
Sambo, who spoke to journalists in the State House after a closed-door meeting with Jonathan, reacted to reports that the governors might have been sidelined in the composition of the new cabinet.
“The governors were consulted; if you are consulted, then you make your input,” he said.
“It is satisfactory and now the administration will be able to have new ministers that will proceed with the necessary actions to run the country.
“The issue is that we need to move this country forward and good calibre, honest, dedicated, patriotic Nigerians are being considered now.”
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