ministersFollowing the release of the modalities for the screening and clearance of ministerial nominees by the Senate, strong indications have emerged that some of the frontline nominees may not scale through the fresh hurdles ahead of them.
On Thursday, the spokesman of the Senate, Sen. Dino Melaye, said the new modalities for screening of ministerial nominees include presentation of the assets declaration form and support from at least two senators from the nominee’s state of origin.
According to Melaye, “the two modalities that were developed for the screening, are in the constitution and convention of the Senate.
“In the screening of the ministerial nominees, section 147, section 5, section 120 and section 65 will be strongly adhered to,” he said adding that a minimum of two senators from the nominee’s state of origin must show support for the ministerial nominee.
“The era of bow and go has been eradicated, but members of the National Assembly will not face as much scrutiny as the others, but they will be called first.”
Nigerian Pilot Saturday gathered that since the release of the modalities for the screening of the minister-designate, most of them have been having sleepless nights over how to cross the fresh hurdles.
Among the nominees that are said to be hardest hit by the amended modalities are former governors Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Babatunde Fashola (Lagos), Chris Ngige (Anambra), Amina Mohammed (Kaduna), Audu Ogbe(Benue).
Even before the commencement of the screening, a petition was tabled before the Senate against the nomination of Amaechi and the petition has since been referred to the Senate Committee on Ethics.
All the three senators from Rivers State were elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and Amaechi has been having a running battle with the senators and other PDP members in Rivers State.
The requirement that every nominee must have the support of two senators from their state was never in the calculation of Amaechi and this may sound the death knell for his ambition to seat in the Federal Executive Council, as representative of Rivers State.
Even if the former Rivers State governor eats the humble pie and prostrates before the three Senators from Rivers State, it is doubtful if the senators will turn their back on Amaechi’s archrival, Governor Nyesom Wike and their people back home and endorse Amaechi.
In spite former Governor Fashola’s sterling performance as the governor of Lagos State, he too will have an uphill task getting the endorsement of two senators from the state.
Fashola was not the candidate of the godfather of Lagos politics, Ashiwaju Bola Tinubu and his nomination by President Muhammadu Buhari is said not to have exited Tinubu’s camp.
However, the possible intervention of the Oba of Lagos could do the magic for Fashola if he approaches him to intercede on his behalf.
In Kaduna State, the nomination of Amina Mohammed almost set the state on fire, as leading politicians from the state stoutly rose up in unison against her filling the state’s slot in the Federal Executive Council. She is said to be from Gombe state, but her husband is from Kaduna State.
Among those leading the campaign against her are Senator Danjuma La’ah (Kaduna South Senatorial District); Hon. Jonathan Asake, former Reps member (Zangon Kataf/Jaba Federal Constituency) and immediate past sole administrator of Zangon Kataf Local Council, James Kanyip; former Kaura Local Council Chairman and Ambassador Nuhu Bajoga, immediate past Deputy Governor of Kaduna State.
Senator La’ah, who openly opposed Mohammed’s nomination in the Senate said, “What I can tell you for now, even as a senator of the Federal Republic, is that I am not sure under which state Amina Mohammed is coming from. But, there is one thing I want to tell you that I shall do.
He added, “I want to assure you that if she comes under the nomination of Kaduna State, we shall reject her at the Senate. She is not from Kaduna State. There is no shortage of deeply educated and equally, if not more, qualified indigenes of Kaduna State that can do any ministerial job that Amina can do.
“We have them both in the state and all over the world. In any case, I cannot see the President messing up to the extent of violating the constitution to the point of excluding Kaduna state from producing a minister. I do not believe it. But if it happens, we shall insist he does the right thing because that is the right thing to do.”
Former chairman of the PDP, and now chieftain of the APC, Chief Audu Ogbe is another nominee that needs lobby intensively to scale through the screening, as the dominant tribe in Benue State, Tiv, are already kicking against his nomination.
Surprisingly, the Tiv angst against Ogbe has nothing to do with his age, rather they are kicking against another Idoma indigene taking over from, former Minister of Interior, Abba Moro (also Idoma), at the FEC.
Although Senator David Mark will likely rise above party affiliation to support Ogbe, the mood in Tiv land, may tie the hands of Senators George Akume and Barnabas Gemade from endorsing him.
Also facing this huge hurdle are former governors Dr. Chris Ngige and Ogbonnaya Onu. The senators from their respective states are from the PDP and their endorsements are still in doubt.

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