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Senate Considers 12 Ministerial Nominees

Posted by From Kola Ologbondiyan in Abuja, Tunde Sanni in Ilorin and Abimbola Akosile in Lagos on 2005/07/06 | Views: 308 |

Senate Considers 12 Ministerial Nominees


Senate President Ken Nna-mani in the Senate chamber yesterday announced the names of 12 nominees President Olusegun Obasanjo sent for confirmation as ministers.

Senate President Ken Nna-mani in the Senate chamber yesterday announced the names of 12 nominees President Olusegun Obasanjo sent for confirmation as ministers.

Top on the list is Special Adviser to the President on Petroleum Matters, Dr. Edmund Daukoru (Rivers State); Senior Special Assistant to the President on Budget Monitoring and Due Process, Mrs Obiageli Ezekwesili (Anambra); president, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Chief Bayo Ojo, SAN (Kogi); and former governor of Plateau State, Sir Fidelis N Tapgun (Plateau).

Others are Mrs H.U. Esuene (Akwa Ibom State), Mrs. Maryam Ciroma (Borno), Dr. Joseph Odidi Itotoh (Edo), Hon. Ahmed Abdulhamid (Jigawa), Halima Tayo Alao (Kwara), Dr. Rahman Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo), Dr. Kingsley Kolapo Akinroye (Osun) and Mallam Yahaya Abdulkarim (Zamfara).

Obasanjo’s letter, which was dated July 1, 2005, addressed to Nnamani and entitled “Request for Confirmation of Ministerial Nominees” read in part, “In the exercise of powers conferred on me by Section 147 (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I hereby present the under-listed persons, whose CVs are attached herewith to be appointed as Ministers of the Government of the Federation, for confirmation as Ministers representing their respective states in the Federal Executive Council.”
“I trust that the Distinguished Senate will confirm these nominees for appointment as Ministers of the Government of the Federation, consistent with Section 147 (2) of the 1999 Constitution, without delay. The previous nomination for Ondo State, Dr. Olugbemi Akinkoye, is hereby withdrawn.”
The announcement of the nominees’ names is the first leg of the screening and confirmation exercise, which would continue today.
The nominees are expected to face the Senate’s questions and answers session at 10.00am today.

Mrs Ciroma is wife to finance minister in Obasanjo’s first term and one of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) founding fathers, Mallam Adamu Ciroma. Fifty-one year old Hajia Ciroma was born in Biu, Borno State and attended Ahmadu Bello University where she took a degree in Political Science in 1978.
A retired civil servant, she was PDP senatorial candidate for Borno South Senatorial District in 2003.

Mrs. Alao, an architect, was a permanent secretary in Kwara State Ministry of Works and Housing, while Mimiko is secretary to government, Ondo State and former gubernatorial aspirant on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy (AD). He served as Commissioner for Health in the Adefarati administration before he decamped to the PDP.

Tapgun, a Third Republic governor of Plateau State elected on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) was appointed ambassador at the inception of the Obasanjo administration. He was recalled from foreign serviice to serve as Director-General in the Obasanjo 2003 re-election campaign.

Itotoh, the nominee from Edo State was former Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT). He was Commissioner for Education in the Ogbemudia administration in old Bendel State in 1983.

Mrs. Esuene is the widow of late Brig. U.J. Esuene who was the governorship candidate of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN). She is a private business woman, operating in the oil sector.

Akinroye, the nominee from Osun State is a medical doctor based in Abuja. He is said to have once served as personal physician to Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

He contested for senatorial ticket on the platform of the PDP in 2003 and lost to incumbent Senator Akinlabi Olasunkanmi. He is from Ikire town.

Abdulkarim was elected governor of Sokoto State on the platform of defunct National Republican Convention (NRC) between 1992 and 1993. Zamfara State, his present state, was then part of old Sokoto State.

Abdulhamid, the nominee from Jigawa State is from Malamabori local government. He was a member of the House of Representatives between 1991 and 1993 where he served as chairman of the committee on agriculture.

He was once state organising secretary of the PDP and later served as auditor of the party’s North-west zone. He was also a member of the board of News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) and Chairman, Poverty Alleviation Programme in Jigawa State.

He served as member of the Federal Character Commission. Abdulhamid was the running mate to Jigawa State PDP gubernatorial candidate in the 2003 elections.
It is not clear why Daukoru who is from Nembe Brass Local Government, Bayelsa State is given the Rivers State slot.

A petition against Alao, the nominee from Kwara State, posted in the pigeon holes of all senators, has, however, been disowned by the alleged petitioner.
The alleged petitioner, former Majority Leader of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Hon. Laaro Bolaji, stated that “Alao is not fit to be one of those that will seat amongst the upright people to decide the faith of this country.” Bolaji, whose petition was dated July 2, 2005 and addressed to the senate president, accused Alao of alleged gross misconduct when she was permanent secretary in the state’s ministry of works and sole administrator, Ilorin South local government.

“I am forwarding my petition to this honourable house so that you will not make wrong choice.”

However, Bolaji yesterday in Ilorin denied ever forwarding any petition against Alao's nomination.

Bolaji at a media briefing said he could not have written a petition against Alao who he described as a God fearing and hardworking personality.
"My attention has been drawn to a publication... which quoted me as having written a petition against the nomination of a ministerial nominee, Alhaja Halimat Eyitayo Alao from Kwara State.

“Within the last few hours, I have received series of phone calls and text messages on the said publication. I want to say categorically that the said publication where my name was mentioned was done in bad faith," he said.
He said the petition must have been authored by his political adversaries.
He decried the trend of politics in the state and called on security agents to assist him trace the forger of the documents.

“Though it is me today, it could be the turn of another highly placed Nigerian tomorrow if not highly checked,” he said.

Bolaji said that “the trend at which politics in Kwara State is going is taking dangerous dimension as some people could be so callous to forge the signature of another person in a publication for political reasons.”
The state Governor, Bukola Saraki yesterday said he has implicit confidence in the professional competence and integrity of Alao.

In a statement signed by his press secretary, Bisi Abidoye, Saraki said: “Within the last two years of this administration, Architect Alao has served meritoriously and distinguished herself as an efficient, level-headed, upright and top class civil servant who has contributed tremendously to the outstanding record of the administration in the road sub-sector.”

“It is noteworthy that the Ministry of Works and Housing of which Architect Alao was the accounting officer was announced as having the most outstanding performance record in the state in 2004,” the governor said while urging the Senate to ignore the petition and confirm her as minister.
Another nominee whose appointment has become controversial is that of Ojo as prominent lawyers have been calling on him to decline and finish his term as NBA President.

Chief Gani Fawehinmi, a human rights activist and Senior Advocate, said it violates the provision of the NBA Constitution. He described President Obasanjo's move as selfish and uncaring.

Fawehinmi said if Ojo accepted the ministerial appointment, he would have followed a previous negative pattern laid down in NBA history by Prince Bola Ajibola (SAN) and Chief Clement Akpamgbo (SAN), who led the association at various times in the past and dropped their positions when it suited them.

"His nomination is against the constitution of NBA, and we are going to oppose him. Bayo Ojo is not qualified and it is not right for him to take the appointment. He's aware of the NBA constitution. We are going to oppose him because this kind of thing has occurred before during Akpamgbo and Ajibola's times, and we must put a stop to it. They are using the NBA for their selfish interest.

"This man was elected only last year in Abuja, and this is very selfish and uncaring of him. We may even go to the court of law. He was elected by NBA and he must serve his two-year term. Ojo has debased the NBA and shown that he is not to be trusted. We are going to oppose him seriously", Fawehinmi said.

Ojo's predecessor, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), declined to comment on the controversy. According to him, "I don't talk about my friends negatively on the pages of newspapers. I have expressed my views to him, one on one. He knows my opinion on the issue. He is my friend and I cannot deny that. I am sorry but I cannot comment further on this issue".

Also commenting on the issue in a telephone chat, Mr. Richard Oma-Ahonaruogo, current Country Representative of International Bar Association (IBA) said Section 11(IV)(f) of NBA Constitution, which was adopted in Calabar, Cross River State in 2001 clearly defines expectations and limitations of serving national officers of the association.

Ahonaruogo said Section 11(IV)(f), of the NBA constitution reads: "No serving President or other national officer shall canvass or solicit for appointment in government, or if offered must decline; otherwise he or she shall be deemed guilty of professional misconduct e.t.c."

"This provision is made to protect the Bar. The problem of 1992 (NBA National Conference in Port Harcourt, Rivers State) was associated with succession to a vacated office of President of NBA. Chief Ojo should decline this nomination in line with our Constitution. I spoke to him urging him to do so (decline) and I believe he will, as a man of honour", he added.

Ahonaruogo who is also Secretary of the National Committee of Chairmen and Secretaries of NBA described, "the nomination as an embarrassment to the Bar. He would have made a good minister but there is a big constitutional drawback to his nomination and appointment. He is better off serving as NBA President than as a minister. Ojo will honour NBA by upholding the constitution".

"If he fails to do so, he will set a bad precedent. Kuye (Chief Mrs. Priscilla Kuye, former NBA President)'s election was annulled in 1992 and we must not give room for bad precedent. We must uphold the constitution. If he fails to heed NBA constitution, his name will go into the NBA Book of Dishonour. He's immediately out of office and if he is dis-honoured, he will not come back as NBA President and I doubt if he will be able to practice again", Ahonaruogo said.
Repeated attempts to reach Ojo through the telephone proved abortive.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.