Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Wednesday received the ministerial nominees list at about 4:56pm from the Presidency but said the content of the presidential communication would be read on Tuesday.
The Senate had adjourned plenary at 2:00pm on Wednesday till Tuesday, October 6.
Sources said 21 names were contained in the list.
The Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, in company with the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang, delivered the list in a sealed envelope to the Senate President in his office.
Saraki, who left the office around 5:30pm, later spoke to journalists through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Alhaji Yusuph Olaniyonu, explaining that the list would be read on the floor during plenary Tuesday next week.
“The Senate president received the ministerial list around 5:00pm this evening but no action would be taken on it until next week Tuesday. The envelope is still sealed,” Olaniyonu told journalists.
But The PUNCH learnt that a former Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola; and a former Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, made the list.
Also said to be on the list are Kayode Fayemi, a former governor of Ekiti State; a former Governor of Anambra State, Chris Ngige; and a one-time Governor of Abia State, Ogbonaya Onu.
Malami Abubakar, SAN, a former National Legal Adviser to the defunct Congress for Progressives Change; Aisha Alhassan, a former governorship candidate of the APC in Taraba State; and Amina Mohammed, a special adviser to the Secretary-General of the United nations, Ban Ki-Moon, also made the ministerial list. Same for a former finance commissioner in Ogun State, Kunle Adeosun.
Curiously, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Ibe Kachikwu, is said to be on the list, perhaps to combine his headship of the NNPC with junior petroleum minister. portfolio. Buhari has already announced himself as the substantive Minister of Petroleum.
The President had pledged that his ministerial nominees would be submitted to the Senate for screening and approval before the end of September thus raising fears on Wednesday that Buhari had failed to keep his promise to Nigerians.
Also, the Senate had earlier on Wednesday announced that the President had yet to send the list of ministers.
The Chairman, Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Media and Publicity, Dino Melaye, who addressed journalists shortly after the Senate had adjourned to Tuesday next week, however urged Nigerians not to lose hope because the September deadline given by Buhari would not expire until midnight.
Melaye had said, “We want to announce that we are still waiting for the ministerial list from Mr. President and I want to advise that there is no need for agitation as September expires by 12 midnight today (Wednesday).
“We want to assure Nigerians that as soon as we get possession of this list we will communicate same to Nigerians through the National Assembly Press Corps.”
He had also reiterated his earlier statement that the Senate “will attend to the ministerial nominees expeditiously but diligently, once the list was sent by the President.”
“Due process will be followed and I repeat that it is not going to be business as usual; we are going to properly screen all nominees and only those who meet the constitutional and moral requirements shall be cleared,” he had added.
Melaye explained that the Senate would as from next week start the consideration of all the communication earlier presented to it by the President concerning some appointments made while the Senate was on recess.
Buhari had on Tuesday sent a letter to the Senate, seeking the confirmation of the appointment of Prof. Umaru Garba Danbatta as the Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, for a first term of five years.
Buhari in another letter sought the confirmation of the appointment of Dr. William Babatunde Fowler as Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Board for a four-year term while in another letter, the President sought the confirmation of the appointment of the Managing Director and three executive directors for the Assets Management Company of Nigeria.
The nominees are Kuru as Managing Director; Kola Ayeye, Eberechukwu Uneze and Aminu Ismail as executive directors.
However, the Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, had during plenary on Tuesday expressed concern that the Senate president did not read out the list of ministerial nominees despite the fact that newspapers had reported that it was in the Senate.
Akpabio, who had raised a point of order, citing order 14, also noted that the situation became worrisome in view of the fact that the September 30 deadline promised by Buhari would lapse on Wednesday.
But Akpabio’s argument had been countered by the Deputy Senate Leader, Bala Ibn Na’Allah, who explained that the list could still be sent before midnight on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Senator representing Osun Central Senatorial District, Prof. Olusola Adeyeye, was on Wednesday announced as the Senate Chief Whip by Saraki.
Adeyeye was unanimously endorsed by the South-West caucus of the All Progressives Congress in the red chamber on June 24.
His name was on the list of principal officers approved by the APC leadership as contained in a letter addressed to the Senate president by the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie – Oyegun, on June 23.