Thursday, July 19, 2007

Yar’Adua Drops Ministerial Nominee

The Presidential Liaison Officer to the Senate, Mrs. Florence Ita-Giwa, early on Thursday, sent an urgent message to Senate President David Mark, requesting to withdraw a name from the list for undisclosed reasons.

She refused to answer specific questions on why Mrs. Ibrahim’s case is different. Newsmen initially learnt the Kebbi nominee might have been dropped because of the security screening which might not have been in her favour. The details were not made available to newsmen; although an official of the National Assembly said the decision was for “security reasons”.

She was dropped because some politicians in the state said she was not a politician and should not have been nominated in the first place.

Newsmen checks revealed that among the three nominees whose names were originally sent from Kebbi, Muhammadu Bello Maieka was picked. But following a barrage of petitions against him, his name was dropped. The President was said to have specifically requested for a woman to be nominated from the North-Western State.

Mrs. Ibrahim, who was a commissioner in the old Sokoto State and a director at the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), was nominated without any consultations with the state party hierarchy, according to information. She is married to former Director-General of Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Alhaji Muhammadu Ibrahim, who hails from Kano State.

The last-minute withdrawal reduced the number of ministerial nominees from 35 to 34. The actual nominee whose name was withdrawn was not mentioned as Mark quietly skipped number 18 against which the name was originally listed and proceeded to reel out other names listed against numbers 19 to 35.

By the time he was through with the exercise, four states, namely Benue (where the Senate President comes from), Kaduna, Jigawa and Kebbi did not have nominees in the list.Just as in Benue where disagreements between the former governor, Senator George Akume and the Senate President have stalled the nomination of a minister from the state, a similar scenario is playing out in Kaduna State. The Isaiah Ballat Camp is pitched in a power play with the camp of the former governor, Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed Markafi.

This is delaying the nomination of a candidate from the state.It was not clear on Thursday night why Jigawa did not have a nominee yet, even though early indications were that Ahmed Malamadori had been picked.

Mark announced on Thursday that the screening and confirmation hearing would begin Tuesday, next week, assuring that the Senate would be thorough in the exercise.

The Senate President warned that nominees should not go out of their way to induce Senators to facilitate their clearance. He said any nominee discovered or caught attempting to induce Senators would be disqualified by the Senate.He also cautioned Senators against receiving gratification or gift from any nominee either on behalf of themselves or the Senate.

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