Ministerial Screening:Laraba, daughter of the North arrives

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The nomination of Mrs. Laurentia Laraba Mallam to represent Kaduna State in the Council of Ministers has jerked some. But political wisdom dictates that even those not enthusiastic about the nomination would  not oppose her.

Polpix1By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor

The commencement of the screening of the 11 ministerial nominees by the Senate today is expected to take attention away from the high level politicking that has trailed proceedings in the legislative house.

The screening is expected to be monitored by various interest groups from across the country fixated on the calibre and carriage of some of the 11 men and women that would drive the agenda of the administration towards the election.

While many would be watching to gauge the capacity of the nominees from their states, stakeholders from Kaduna State and observers of the politics of Kaduna would continue to ponder the political permutations that projected Mrs. Laurentia Laraba Mallam as the nominee from the state.

Mrs. Mallam according to sources was chosen after former Senator Isaiah Balat had been put forward as the nominee. Balat, a former minister of state for works in the Olusegun Obasanjo administration and subsequently, a senator was, however, not put forward for inexplicable reasons. Balat who is presently a special adviser to the president in the office of the vice-president, it is generally believed, was supportive of Mrs. Mallam as the nominee.

Also going for her is her was her role role as national president of the influential Catholic Women Organisation, CWO a position that allowed her to do a lot of mobilisation across the country.

Critics of Vice_President Namadi Sambo have, however, flayed the nomination as another example of the determination of the vice-president and his associates including Balat to keep all the goodies for the state to within themselves.

Such criticisms trailed the crisis in the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP that led to the exit of some party members loyal to the former governor of the state, Senator Ahmed Makarfi.

However, whatever the assertions against the vice-president, Governor Muktar Yero, Balat or Mrs. Mallam, a number of activist groups are now coming to rally round the nominee ahead of her Senate screening.

Four youth groups from Kaduna State in a joint statement responding to issues raised against the nominee praised Mrs. Mallam for her leading role in politics, philanthropy and peace shooting in the state.

The groups represented by Comrade Danjuma Bello Sarki, Secretary General, National Youth Council of Nigeria, Kaduna State; Comrade Sabastine Luka, National Cordinator, Southern Kaduna Peoples Union, SOKAPU Youth Wing,    Hon. Ahmed Ali Guga, Secretary, Zazzau Emirate Youth Assembly (ZEYA) and Hon. Tanko Rossi Sabo, Secretary, Southern Kaduna Youth for Progress and Development (SKYPAD) said in their joint statement that they decided to come out in support of the nominee given the assertions of some critics.

“This is premised on the fact that Hon. Mallam is a grassroots politician who has served at various levels both in public and private capacity without any blemish.

Also, as a Special Adviser to the government of former Governor Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi on Women Affairs, she contributed meaningfully towards the upliftment of women in our State, by initiating numerous women empowerment and sensitization programmes.

“She is a politician with the requisite experience and sagacity of mobilizing and contributing to the development of youth and women, not only in Kaduna State alone but in Nigeria at large.

This she has demonstrated in various positions she has held both in the public and private sector, where she has always shown her desire to empower people irrespective of ethnic or religious consideration.

“Hon. Mallam, is no doubt a mother to us who understands the yearnings and aspirations of the Nigerian youth. No wonder anywhere she goes the youths would always hail her in Hausa “Sai Mama” which can be translated to mean “it is mummy we want.”

“Mama, as she is fondly called, is a philanthropist, visionary leader, God_fearing, an epitome of humility, a grassroot mobilizer, a virtuous woman with reputation for credibility, reliability, integrity and commitment to the cause of nation building and transformation.

Her choice has once again reaffirm our confidence on the administration of Mr. President, who has always emphasized and demonstrated his government’s belief in gender sensitivity and inclusion.”

Given the recent political developments in Kaduna State, some would expect her to face difficulties from Senator Makarfi under whom she served while he was governor, but Senator Makarfi is expected to disappoint such expectations.

If not, even the Senate leadership it was learnt has jettisoned the rule that two senators from a state should support a nominee for an appointment.

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