• Senate to defer screening of Buhari’s nominees, if…


There are strong indications that President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet may not be in place till October this year.
Although the President has promised to unveil his ministerial list next month, their screening and confirmation by the Senate may not take place till October.
This line of thinking, which some senators confirmed to Nigerian Pilot yesterday, is informed by the fact that the Upper House, currently on a six-week holiday, will resume plenary on September 29.
Senate President, Bukola Saraki had promised that whenever President Buhari presented the ministerial list to the Upper House, it would reconvene to screen the nominees.
But some senators declared yesterday that the arrangement was no longer realistic because most of their colleagues would be on pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.
They argued that you cannot recall a lawmaker on Hajj to Nigeria for the sole purpose of screening and confirming the ministers.
According to them, in the event of Buhari presenting the ministerial list, “we will keep it till September 29 for our colleagues to return from the Hajj and Sallah celebrations.”
The implication of this, is that Nigerians would have to wait till October for Buhari’s cabinet to be in place.
One of the senators, who sought anonymity, told Nigerian Pilot that “most of us are not disposed to breaking tour recess midway to attend to the ministerial list if the President brings it before the 29th of September.”
Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio seems to have alluded to this position when in an interview on Radio Nigeria, Abuja Station yesterday, he said most Muslim Senators would be going for Hajj and cannot come for any emergency session.
Nigeria Pilot further learnt most senators besides going on hajj have travelled abroad for different reasons and would only return to the country as September 29 approaches.
The Senate had assured Buhari that it would be available for any emergency session, especially to screen his ministerial nominees.
Nigerian Pilot however learnt only members of the ad-hoc committees on Works, Information and Selection Committees are visible in the National Assembly to round up their meetings.
According to a senator, “the ministerial list is not even being expected by us and would definitely spring surprises if it comes before October,” adding that “even if it comes, it will be kept till we resume as planned.”
After Buhari’s inauguration, a list of some prominent APC members was circulated on the social media as ministerial nominees. The list included Senator Olorunnibe Mamora, Chief Audu Ogbeh, former governors–Babatunde Fashola (Lagos), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Rabi’u Kwankwaso (Kano) and Senator Chris Ngige.
While going through the purported list, Buhari was said to be stunned and had said: “They have chosen my ministers for me.”
The National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, however, dismissed the list as a mere speculation. President Buhari, who is known for his anti-corruption stance, has promised to appoint only honest persons as ministers.
Nigerian Pilot recalls that shortly after the election, there was the news that the APC would ratify the list of persons to be appointed into the Federal Executive Council.
This, according to the report, was to enable the APC maintain party supremacy which the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP lost during the last administration.

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