Protests as Saraki unveils Buhari’s ministerial list
PROTESTS at state levels greeted Tuesday’s announcement
of President Muhammadu Buhari’s ministerial nominees by
the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
Saraki at plenary announced 21 names as contained in the
ministerial list sent to him on September 30, saying the
screening of the nominees would commence on Tuesday,
But from the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders came a
petition to the Senate against the nomination of a former
Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola. Indeed, CACOL’s
petition had been dated Saturday, October 3, asking the
Senate not to confirm Fashola “should his name pop-up as
a ministerial nominee.”
Adeniran, copies of which were sent to Buhari and Speaker
of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, the group
urged the senators to visit Lagos, as governed by Fashola,
before screening and confirming him for any appointment
as a minister.
“Visit the Lagos Fashola left behind before confirming his
appointment as minister” is the title of the group’s petition
in which read in part, “Howbeit, if the rumour making the
rounds in some quarters, which has also been confirmed by
some sections of the media, is anything to go by, we would
say Nigerians’ hope for a true change has been dashed with
the inclusion of some names that in a saner environment
should not appear on the list, if integrity and honesty are the
basis of the selection criteria.
to your attention our critical reaction to the rumoured
nomination of the immediate past governor of Lagos State,
Mr. Babatunde Fashola, as a minister in the new
The group therefore catalogued a number of fraud and
corruption allegations, most of which it had before now
levelled against Fashola.
Also, an anti-corruption group known as Integrity Group has
petitioned the President and the Senate to protest the
nomination of a former Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi
Amaechi, as a ministerial nominee.
The group accused Amaechi of alleged fraudulent practices
during his tenure as governor.
The group urged Amaechi to first clear his name over
“allegations of fraud concerning the sale of state power
plants and conversion of proceeds of $302m, unlawful
payment of over N4bn to Clinoriv Specialist Hospital and
unlawful enrichment of a firm, Messrs Collect Nigeria Ltd.
with public funds amounting to over N1.5bn.”
Addressing newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday, the Publicity
Director of the group, Mr. Livingstone Wechie, alleged that
Amaechi was currently being investigated by anti-corruption
agencies for unlawful enrichment and conversion of over
N70bn state resources.
He added that the former governor had resisted efforts to
make him to explain the circumstances regarding the money
to the people of Rivers and that he failed to appear before
the Justice Omereji-led Judicial Commission of Enquiry set
up by Amaechi’s successor, Governor Nyesom Wike.
In Oyo State, the ruling All Progressives Congress asked on
Buhari to revisit his nomination of a legal practitioner,
Adebayo Shittu, claiming that the ministerial-nominee was
not a team player in the party.
It was learnt that Governor Abiola Ajimobi was opposed to
Shittu’s choice but the APC state secretary, Mojeed Olaoya,
told one of our correspondents in Ibadan, the state capital,
on Tuesday that the issue was between the nominee and the
APC and not with the governor.
Responding to the opposition of his candidacy, however,
Shittu said he contributed to the success of the party and
that he had nothing against Ajimobi.
Olaoya said, “This is the party talking and not the governor.
It was the party that wrote a letter to the governor asking
him to convey our message on Shittu’s nomination to the
President. We have published paid advertisement in the
newspapers stating our position on Shittu’s matter.”
The party stated that despite the state’s contribution to
President Buhari’s victory at the poll, it was not being
adequately compensated. It stated in the advertorial that
Shittu’s nomination had further compounded the political
challenges being faced by the party because of the
nominee’s “unacceptability among the people.”
Saraki said on Tuesday that the screening of the nominees,
21 in all, would commence on Tuesday, October 13.
He said this during Senate plenary after reading out the
names of the nominees.
Spokesperson for the Senate, Dino Melaye, also told
journalists shortly after plenary that the upper legislative
chamber would in the interim called for the profiles and
other documents on the nominees in order to ensure
He said, “While we want to expedite action, we also want to
be very diligent and thorough in the screening of the
ministerial nominees. We want to ask for the citation and
profile of the nominees so that senators can study the
resume of the nominees and this will guide us in asking
questions and guide our deliberations when we start the
“We want senators to have enough time to study
submissions by the nominees so that relevant questions
could be asked during the screening exercise. It is also from
the Curriculum Vitae that we will be looking at possible
portfolio that the President may be giving to the various
“The screening exercise would be taken live on Tuesday,
Wednesday and Thursday and it would not be influenced by
political or religious affiliations.”
Fashola, Ogbeh, Amaechi…
Earlier in plenary, the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola
Saraki, had unveiled the much awaited nominees, reading
out names that had been correctly speculated in the media.
Buhari’s 21 nominees, as read out by Saraki, include
Abubakar Malami (SAN) (Kebbi); Abdurahman Bello
Dambazzau (Kano); Aisha Jumai Al Hassan (Taraba); Alhaji
Lai Mohammed (Kwara); Babatunde Raji Fashola (Lagos);
Adebayo Shittu (Oyo); Solomon Dalong (Plateau); Senator
Chris Ngige (Anambra); Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers); and Chief
Audu Ogbeh (Benue).
Others are Mrs. Amina Ibrahim( Kaduna); Dr. Osagie Ehaneri
(Edo); Emmanuel Kachukwu (Delta); Dr. Kayode Fayemi
(Ekiti); Mr. Suleiman Adamu (Jigawa); Mrs. Kemi Adeosun
(Ogun); Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu (Ebonyi); Ahmed Isa Ibeto
(Niger); Ibrahim Usman Jibril ; Senator Hadi Sirika (Katsina);
and Senator Udo Udoma (Akwa – Ibom).
Saraki said the nominees would be screened during plenary
But the Minority Leader of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio,
who raised a constitutional point of order noted that it was
constitutionally wrong for Buhari to send 21 names as
ministerial nominees, instead of 36.
Saraki noted the observation of Akpabio and explained that
the President had already noted in his letter that the
complete list would soon be forwarded to the red chamber.
Buhari not for screening
Melaye denied reports that Buhari would be screened by the
Senate since he had appointed himself as the petroleum
He said, “We are not going to screen President Buhari but
ministerial nominees. The insinuation that he would be
screened as minister of petroleum is baseless and untrue.
It’s a product of imagination of people with inordinate
Melaye, who said he could not ascertain whether the Senate
had received any petition against the ministerial nominees,
said all petitions received would be treated accordingly.
“I cannot say how many petitions had been received.
Petitions on nominees will form basis for the screening,” he
said, adding however that the Senate would be able to do a
better job if the President would furnish it with the expected
portfolio of the nominees.
Senator Jeremiah Useni, in an interview with journalists,
said having only three women on the ministerial list was not
“I wish to see more women on the list. I believe that the
President will be more gender sensitive in the next batch
since he said the 21 names he sent is a partial list,” he said.
He also ruled out the possibility of giving special
considerations to either serving or past members of the
National Assembly whose names are on the list, saying
“there is no rule on the issue of take a bow. The fact that
the seventh Senate adopted a convention does not mean
that the Eight Senate will adopt same.”
But the Senator representing Delta North, Peter Nwaboshi,
in an interview with journalists, expressed disappointment
that the list contained names of older men and women who
had served as ministers about 36 years ago.
He said, “I think the youths of Nigeria should ask questions.
How can people who served as ministers during the former
President Shehu Shagari’s administration in 1979 be
presented as ministers? I was a small boy when the
particular nominee was minister about 36 years ago. You
are bringing the person to be minister now.
“One would have expected that the younger generation
would have been injected into the list. I wonder where we
are going to in this country. When will the youths be given
“We already know all the people in the list. They are
governors who just finished their tenure after eight years. Is
that the change they are talking about? It is left for
Nigerians to judge.
‘Buhari never told me I would be minister’
A former Governor of Ekiti State, who is one of the
ministerial nominees, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has described his
nomination as a surprise.
He told reporters at the national headquarters of the All
Progressives Congress in Abuja on Tuesday that Buhari
never gave him a hint about being nominated in spite of
closeness to the President.
The former governor served as the Director of Research and
Strategy in the Buhari 2015 Campaign Organisation.
In response to a question as to whether his nomination
came to him as a surprise, Fayemi said, “Well, to the extent
that I was not told by the President that I was going to be on
his list, yes, it came as a surprise. The President is a
surprise master; let me put it that way.
“He did not tell anyone to the best of my knowledge and I
would have thought that I was in vantage position to know
more than others, I was with him for five days before then.
“I was with him in New York at the United Nations General
Assembly and he never uttered a word about his list to me
nor to anyone else.
“We came back to Nigeria together, I was with him up till
4pm on the evening he submitted the list to the President of
the Senate and I didn’t have any clue of what is going to
happen. So, to that extent, I was pleasantly surprised.”
Another Ekiti ex-governor, Segun Oni, said Buhari had
proved to all that he was not only a statesman but also a
loyal party man.
He said, “The President is a party member and his thinking
is always along with the party and he has always been
“You will know that the President, on his own, knows the
party and he wants to involve the party as much as possible
and he has done that. No one can complain now because
you will see that the leaders that we will want to see are
there and we are very grateful to the President.”