• Friday, July 19, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Senate screens Oyetola, Lalong, Matawalle, Bagudu, others

Senate introduces bill to establish Local Government electoral commission

The Senate reconvened on Friday to screen the second batch of the ministerial nominees transmitted by President Bola Tinubu.

Friday, makes it day four of the screening of the ministerial nominees submitted to it on Wednesday this week by President Bola Tinubu for subsequent confirmation.

The exercise started with remarks by the Senate Leader, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, (APC, Ekiti Central) who said “The Senate do consider the request of Mr President, Commander–in–Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, for the confirmation of the following nominees for appointments as Ministers of the Government of the Federation in accordance with Section 147 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) – (Committee of Whole) (4th Allotted day).”

The 20 nominees listed for screening are Adegboyega Oyetola, Osun; Tunji Alausa, Lagos; Ibrahim Geidam, Yobe ; Sen. Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, Niger; Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, Bayelsa; Sen. Alkali Ahmed Said, Gombe; Simon Bako Lalong, Plateau; Atiku Bagudu, Kebbi, Bello Matawalle, Zamfara and Dr Yusuf Tanko Sununu, Kebbi.

Others are Zephaniah Jisalo, FCT; Dr. Maryam Mahmoud, Kano; Ahmed Tijani Gwarzo, Kano; Bosun Tijani Ogun, Dr. Isiak Salako, Ogun; Lola Ade-John, Lagos; Prof. Tahir Mamman, Adamawa; Uba Maigari Ahmadu, Taraba; Prince Shuaibu Abubakar Audu, Kogi and Festus Keyamo, Delta.

The former Governor of Osun State, Adegboyega Oyetola was the first to be screened on Friday, mounting the podium at 12:14 pm.

However, this will be the first time in the last 30 years, Abuja indigene is nominated as a minister by Zephaniah Jisalo (FCT), a two-time chairman of the Abuja Municipal Area Council and a former member of the House of Representatives for the AMAC/Bwari federal constituency.

Recall that former and sitting lawmakers, whether a member of the Senate or House of Representatives, enjoy the privilege of taking a “bow and go and not usually asked questions after introducing themselves except the senators want some clarity on certain issues.

Meanwhile, in conducting the screening of the first batch of the nominees, this privilege was extended to some former governors including Nyesom Wike of Rivers, David Umahi of Ebonyi and Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa as well as some female nominees.

It is not certain if the senators will conclude the screening of the 20 nominees today, and If they do, there is likelihood that it will confirm or reject any of the nominees as the case may be to enable them to proceed on their annual recess.

Read also: Nigeria needs reliable energy for industrialisation – Tinubu

The Senate did not only postpone its recess, but it also extended the sitting days and period beyond 2 p.m. to screen the ministers-designate.

Recall that the President Bola Tinubu on Friday withdrawn the nomination of Kano State ministerial nominee, Dr. Maryam Shetty and replace her with Dr. Mariya Mahmoud from the same state.

The President also nominated former Minister of Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, SAN, from Delta State for appointment as a minister.

The latest nomination of Keyamo, has bloated the ministerial list to 48, as against the highest number 42 since the return of democracy in 1999.

The President, however, didn’t give any reason for the replacement of Shetty, who was among the second batch of 19 nominees forwarded to the Senate on Wednesday for screening and approval as ministers.

Similarly on Friday, President Tinubu informed the Senate of the emergency meeting of ECOWAS that took place in Abuja, following the coup in Niger that sacked the democratically elected administration of Mohamed Bazoum.

The letter to this effect was read by the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, during plenary.

Tinubu, in the letter, tagged “Political situation in Niger,” disclosed that “in a bid to restore peace, ECOWAS convened a meeting and came out with a communique.”

“Following the unfortunate political situation in Niger Republic culminating in the overthrow of its President, ECOWAS under my leadership condemned the coup in its entirety and resolved to seek the return of the democratically elected government,” he stated.

Tinubu said in his letter that the meeting was very specific on “closure and monitoring of all land borders with Niger Republic and reactivating of the border drilling exercise.”

According to the communique, Tinubu also stressed the need for “cutting off elecriity supply to Niger Republic; mobilizing international support for the implementation of the provisions of the ECOWAS communique; preventing the operation of commercial and special flights into and from Niger Republic.”

Other issues also raised at the meeting include “blockade of goods in transit to Niger especially from Lagos and eastern seaports; embarking on sensitization of Nigerians and Nigerians on the imperative of these actions particularly via social media; and military build up and deployment of personnel for military intervention to enforce compliance of the military junta in Niger should they remain recalcitrant”

But shortly after the letter was read, a former Deputy Senate Leader, Abdul Ningi (PDP Bauchi Central), raised a constitutional point of order to draw the attention of the Senate to the provisions of the constitution on how the Armed Forces could be deployed on a combat duty outside Nigeria.

He said his point of order was aimed at guiding the Senate on the matter.

Ningi read Section 5(5) of the Constitution, which states that “Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (4) of this section, the President, in consultation with the National Defence Council, may deploy members of the armed forces of the Federation on a limited combat duty outside Nigeria if he is satisfied that the national security is under imminent threat or danger provided that the President shall, within seven days of actual combat engagement, seek the consent of the Senate and the Senate shall thereafter give or refuse the said consent within 14 days.”

Meanwhile, the screening is still ongoing as at 3: 43