Before the screening of the 28 ministerial nominees sent to the Senate by President Bola Tinubu began on Monday, senators had sharply divergent views on the screening procedures.
According to Yemi Adaramodu (APC, Ekiti South), chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, and Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central), majority leader of the Senate, the screening of ministerial nominees will be rigorous and not just a “take a bow and go” process as in the past.
However, the former Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe (APGA, Abia South) sharply disagreed with them, saying that nothing new will happen.
Another Senator who spoke with Vanguard on the condition of anonymity, agreed with Senator Abaribe.
The senator said with the list compromising former governors, Senators and members, House of Representatives, it would be more a “take a bow and go” show.
Speaking with Vanguard, Senator Abaribe said: “The screening of the ministerial list will not be different. Nothing has changed to give any signal of a change in methodology.”
Recall that the President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio had on Thursday read out the 28 ministerial nominees sent in by President Bola Tinubu for screening at the National Assembly scheduled to commence on Monday.
Recall that the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, Senator Yemi Adaramodu, APC, Ekiti South while addressing Journalists on Thursday had boasted that the Senators would be thorough during the screening as they would dwell on experience, character, personality, background, among others, just as there will be no take a bow and go except when there are no questions.
Senator Yemi Adaramodu had said, “This time, screening will be very thorough. It is not going to be a situation where the screening will be anyhow. We are going to know the background of the nominees and we are going to disappoint Nigerians.
Although the Senate is not supposed to sit on Mondays, but because of the importance attached to this national assignment, we have suspended all our rules. On Monday, we are not supposed to have plenary which you know, but we have suspended all rules, all laws for us , infact we are supposed to go on our annual vacation, we have suspended it for the benefit of this assignment.
“This is a National assignment, very crucial and very pertinent, it is necessary and compulsory for us to be at the chamber on Monday at 11am, all other days 10am.”
Senator Adaramodu who disclosed that there will be no allocation of time for any nominee, said, “if a single nominee takes up to three hours or a whole day, so be it. A nominee who has been brought forward must explain himself if after explaining and nobody is asking question that you are this or that, we will not manufacture it.”
On the usual take a bow which has become a norm for former senators he said it is a norm and not an anathema, the Senate Spokesperson had said, “Even if you came to National Assembly to submit a paper you must take a bow, so the issue of taking bow is not an anathema, it is a tradition, it is not a slang for complacency. It does not mean you cannot be held accountable. It is just a norm.
“The job of a minister is like the job of a Governor who is supposed to oversee and ensure that bureaucrats and technocrat
Who ever wants anything from his Constituency
On allegation on some nominees of graft against like former governors with EFCC cases, Adaramodu said that all the nominees have gone through security screening checks from the executive, adding, “if there is any red flag raise we will look into it, adding that Nigerians will never be disappointed by the Senate”
Corroborating the Spokesperson, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele reiterated that the Senate would be thorough with the screening of the ministerial nominees.
Disclosing this on Friday at a programme tagged ’24 Hours Marathon Praise and Worship Service’, organised by his admirers to mark his 60th birthday celebration held at the palatial Obafemi Awolowo Civic and Convention Centre in Ado Ekiti, the Senate Majority leader, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, APC, Ekiti Central said that the Senate will scrutinise the ministers thoroughly to ascertain their competences and capabilities to serve Nigeria diligently and in such a way that will bring dividends of democracy to the populace.
According to him, the screening of the nominees will commence on Monday, July 31, adding, “Let me assure Nigerians that the screening won’t be only bow and go, except for those who had been members of the National Assembly before and whom we knew and appreciated that they have the wherewithal to give Nigerians qualitative leadership.
“Nigerians expected us to be thorough. They are expecting us to do a thorough screening. But take a bow and go is not an unparliamentary convention, it has become a practice all over the world and that person must be a former member of the parliament who is well known to us. Somebody we have confidence in his ability.
“We are going to follow the constitution to ensure that we deliver our mandate to make those who voted for us happy. This will occur at the level of parliament, oversight functions and at the committee level.
We will partner Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to deliver on his promises to Nigerians. We are determined to ensure that all the three arms of government, particularly the judiciary are put on a good footing to be able to deliver justice without fear or favour. We are determined to ensure that the right people are brought on board”.
Tinubu’s Ministerial list is made up of former Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, his counterpart from Rivers, Nyesom Wike, a card carrying member of main opposition, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the immediate Governor of Jigawa State, Abubakar Badaru and former Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, who is currently the Deputy Majority Leader n the Senate; and the current acting National Chairman of the governing All Progressives Congress, APC, Senator Abubakar Kyari who represented Borno North in the 8th and 9th Senate.
Also on the list is Senator John Enoh who represented Cross River Central in the 8th Senate and Senator Abubakar Sani Danladi was former Acting Governor and Deputy Governor Taraba State; former Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Nkiru Onyejiocha who represented Isuikwuato/ Umunneochi Federal Constituency, Abia State; Hon. Olubunmi Tunji Ojo, Erepresents Akoko North East/ North West Federal Constituency, Ondo State, was Chairman, House Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC; Abubakar Momoh, a two- time member of House of Representatives who represented Etsako Federal Constituency, Edo State and Ekperikpe Ekpo, represented Abak Federal Constituency from 2007 and 2011 from Akwa Ibom State.
A former All Progressives Congress, APC, Presidential Aspirant, Barrister Uju Kennedy Ohaneye made the list as well as former Executive Director, NEXIM Bank, Stella Okotete from Delta State, and the Special Adviser to the President on Communication, Strategy and Special Duties, Dele Alake from Ekiti State, among others made the list.