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Senate clears 38 nominees

*Taraba, Ebonyi States missing in cabinet list

By Emmanuel Aziken & Inalegwu Shaibu

ABUJA—THE Senate, yesterday, approved 38 of the 39 ministerial nominees proposed to it by Acting President Goodluck Jonathan.

The only exception was the ministerial nominee from Taraba State, Alhaji Umar Aliyu, who was not screened by the Senate allegedly on account of continuing intrigues surrounding his nomination. No nomination has been forwarded for Ebonyi State.

The approval followed conclusion of the screening exercise of the last batch of 12 ministerial nominees, yesterday.

Senate President David Mark who presided at the session charged Acting President Jonathan to sack any of the approved ministers-designate who did not meet his expectations.

The last12 nominees were: Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, Kano; Mr. Olusegun Olutoyin Aganga, Lagos; Prof. Mohammed K. Abubakar, Kebbi; Alhaji Adamu Maina Waziri, Yobe; Awodele Najeem Adewale Alao, Ogun; and Alhaji Abubakar Sadiq Mohammed, Gombe.

The others were, Yusuf Suleiman, Sokoto; Prof. Ruqaiya Rufai, Jigawa; Arc. Musa Sada, Katsina, and Prof. Sheikh Abdallah, Niger. They joined the 26 earlier screened by the Senate on Monday and Tuesday.

Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, the immediate past Minister of National Planning, whose nomination was the point of controversy, Tuesday evening, was the first to be screened by the Senate yesterday. He and Aliyu were reportedly stepped down by the Senate, Tuesday, following an alleged instruction of the Presidency.

It was learnt, however, that Dr. Usman moved to settle the issues concerning him, thereby paving way for his subsequent Senate screening.

Aliyu’s fate, it was gathered, was on suspense to allow for reconciliation among the disputing political forces in Taraba State. Senators Manzo Anthony and Joel Danlami, both from Taraba State, played down the matter yesterday, stressing that the issue concerning the nomination from the State will be resolved soon.

Special Assistant to the President, Senate, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh in his reaction, said the nomination of Aliyu had been stepped down for the time being.

Prof. Akunyili overcomes opposition
Following the screening exercise, the Senate voted on each of the nominees and 26 of the 38 nominees were waved through unanimously in the voice vote. The apprehension over the erstwhile Minister of Information and Communication, Prof. Dora Akunyili, was overcome when majority of the senators overcame the opposition to her during the voice vote.

Following the confirmation exercise, Senate President David Mark said: “It is our wish and hope that once these ministers are allocated their portfolios and they resume, they will earnestly do what they promised us here. I think we will ensure that through our oversight functions they do precisely what they told us here. I will like to use this opportunity to ask Mr. Acting President, Commander-in-Chief that any minister who does not live to expectation should not be spared.

“He should immediately be removed from office so that he/she doesn’t become a clog in the wheel of progress. We have done this in the interest of this country. We have done this because we want to move the nation forward as quickly as possible in accordance with our doctrine of necessity. We have also hastened up the screening of these ministers. Ideally, this would have taken much longer. In spite of the fact that it has taken a short time, I think we have done a thorough job and we hope when these ministers are deployed they will live to the expectations of Nigerians.”


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