By Henry Umoru
ABUJA- THE Senate, Tuesday confirmed the forty- three Ministerial Nominees forwarded to it by President Muhammadu Buhari for Screening for onward presentation to President Muhammadu Buhari to assign various portfolios to them and swear them in as Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.Former Hon. Minister of Power, Works & Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN exchanges greetings at the Senate Chamber, National Assembly on Monday 29th July 2019. Photo by Gbemiga Olamikan
The Senate has however given a matching Order to the Minister- designate, stressing that they must be prepared to work in synergy with the Upper Chamber and exhibit a relationship that would be based on mutual respect and truth.
The Senate has threatened them that while it will not be frivolous, it would ensure that it becomes very serious and stiff in the area of oversight in the course of its assignmen.
Speaking after Senate confirmed the 43 Ministerial Nominees, President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan who described budget implementation in the country as chaos and in Tatters, said that as they prepare to face the issue of budget, the Senate expects that the 2020 appropriation bill 2020 gets to national assembly by end of September or late the first week of October.
According to the Senate, when the National Assembly gets the Appropriation bill early enough, it would then work on the budget and before Christmas, the Upper Chamber should be able to pass the budget.
Lawan said, “The Senate has demonstrated clearly that we are set to work for Nigerians, there is no doubt that that extension of time that ordinarily would have been part of our recess to stay back to do this job for our country. We have finished this very important national assignment and to the glory of God, Nigeria has a Senate and indeed a National Assembly that is prepared to take Nigeria to the next level.
“For those that have been confirmed by this senate, the message is that they must be prepared to work with this Senate.
“We are going to engage them in our oversight and other legislative activities. What we want to achieve is to have a relationship that is based on mutual respect and truth.
“While we are not going to be frivolous, we are going to be firm ,we are going to be serious with our oversight. Oversight is the only way we can ensure that the legislation we make particularly the budget that we pass is implemented particularly.
“I want to congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari for nominating Nigerians of great quality.
“We expect to face the budget, it is our desire and hope that the Appropriation bill 2020 be presented to this National Assembly by end of September or late, the first week of October.
“It is our determination and resolve that we are able to work on the budget and before Christmas we should be able to pass the budget provided it is in the National Assembly by September or first week of October.
“It is doable, it is achievable and we believe that Nigeria should return back to the January-december budget cycle – let our economy have predictable parameters. Our budget implementation is in chaos, is in tatters and I believe that together with the executive, will return it to that which is predictable and good for business.”
Meanwhile, the screening exercise which commenced on Wednesday, barely twenty- four hours after the President sent the list to the Senators, ended yesterday with all of them at the hallowed chamber for event.
It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had last week Tuesday released the long-awaited list of 43 ministerial nominees to the Senate for screening and subsequent confirmation.
Yesterday which was the last day of the screening, three nominees were screened and they were the Immediate past Minister of Information and Culture, Chief Lai Mohammed from Kwara State; Sabo Nanono from Kano State and Engr. Saleh Mamman from Taraba State.
Those screened on Monday were the Immediate past Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola; former governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola and Senator Gbemisola Saraki from Kwara State.
Also screened on Monday were Goddy Jedy- Agba from Cross River; Engr. Suleiman Adamu from Jigawa; Clement Agba from Edo State; Ambassador Maryam Katagum from Bauchi State; Dr. Muhammad Mahmoud from Kaduna State and Geoffrey Onyeama from Enugu State.
Out of the 43 Nominees that were screened throughout the exercise, 20 nominees were given the privilege of take a bow and go without being subjected to rigours of questioning by senators.
Throughout the period of the screening which started on Wednesday last week, barely twenty- four hours after the Senate received the list, with the take a bow and go tradition, the President of the Senate only allowed the Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, PDP, Abia South and the Senate Majority Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, APC, Kebbi North to Speak and thereafter asked the Nominees to go.
The twenty nominees who took a bow and left were Abubakar Aliyu from Yobe; Otumba Adeniyi Adebayo from Ekiti, Chris Ngige (Anambra), Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), George Akume (Benue), Emeka Nwajuaba (Imo), Adeleke Mamora (Lagos), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers).
Others are Tayo Alasoadura (Ondo), Mustapha Baba Shehuri (Borno), Timipre Sylva (Bayelsa), Niyi Adebayo (Ekiti) and Muhammadu Musa Bello (Adamawa),and Hadi Sirika from Katsina State.
Also excluded from scrutiny were four female nominees: Zainab Ahmed (Kaduna), Sharon Ikeazor (Anambra), Ramatu Aliyu (Kogi), Sa’adiya Farouk (Zamfara) and Pauline Tallen( Plateau State).
Also asked to take a bow were Senator Gbemisola Saraki from Kwara State and Ambassador Maryam Katagum from Bauchi State.
Recall that on Friday, the third day of the exercise, seven nominees were screened and they were Abubakar Malami from Kebbi State; Senator Hadi Sirika from Katsina; Dr. Osagie Ehanire from Edo State; Pauline Tallen from Plateau; Muhammadu Maigari Dingyadi from Sokoto State; Festus Keyamo from Delta State; and Dr. Ali Isa Ibrahim Pantami from Gombe State.
Those screened on Wednesday, were Uchechukwu Ogah, Abia State; Godswill Akpabio, Akwa Ibom State; George Akume, Benue State; Rotimi Amaechi, Rivers State; Ogbonnaya Onu, Ebonyi State; Olorunnibe Adeleke Mamora, Lagos State; Emeka Nwajuaba, Imo State; Arch. Olamilekan Adegbite, Ogun; Adamu Adamu, Bauchi and Sharon Ikeazor, Anambra State.
Those screened on Thursday were the Chairman, Committee on Petroleum( Upstream) in the 8th Senate, Senator Tayo Alasoadura from Ondo State who was accompanied by his Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State for the screening; Formet Deputy governor of Yobe State, Engr. Abubakar Aliyu from Yobe State; Mustapha Baba Shehuri from Borno State; Maj.General Bashir Salihi Magashi from Kano State; Ambassador Zubairu Dada from Niger and former Governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Martin Sylva.
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Also screened were Ramatu Tijani Aliyu from Kogi State; Otumba Adeniyi Adebayo from Ekiti State; Mohammed Abdullahi from Nasarawa State; Sunday Akin from Oyo; Senator Chris Ngige from Plateau State; Sa’adiya Umar Farouk from Zamfara State and Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed from Kaduna State.