Ahead of tuesday’s screening and confirmation of the first batch of ministerial nominees by the Senate, President Muhammadu Buhari monday submitted a second list of nominees to the Senate President Bukola Saraki.
The names of ministerial nominees, according to THISDAY sources, likely to have made the new list include Dr. Okechukwu Enyinna Enelamah (Abia State), Mr. James Ocholi (Kogi State), Professor Isaac Adewole (Osun State), Professor Claudis Omoleye Daramola (Ondo State), Hon. Khadija Bukar Abba Ibrahim (Yobe State), and Alhaji Adamu Adamu.
Others on the list are Professor Anthony Anwuka (Imo State), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri (Bayelsa State), Brig.-Gen. Dan Ali (rtd), and Hajia Aisha Abubakar.
Enelamah, a medical doctor, is the Co-Founder and CEO of African Capital Alliance, a leading private equity firm on the African continent. He has a wealth of experience in investment banking having worked for Goldman Sachs in London and New York and Arthur Anderson in Nigeria, and holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a CFA charter.
He has served on a number of boards of blue chip companies including Dorman Long Engineering Ltd., Corner Stone Insurance Plc and UAC Nigeria Plc.
Daramola is a professor of education in the University of Ilorin, while Hon. Abba Ibrahim, a former first lady of Yobe State, is a past Commissioner for Transport in the state and a three-term member of the House of Representatives.
Adamu is a veteran journalist who once worked for New Nigerian Newspapers and was a member of Buhari’s Transition Committee.
Anwuka is a former Secretary to the Imo State Government, while Adewole is a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan and a professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
Ocholi was until recently the former National Deputy Legal Adviser of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), who recently contested for the governorship ticket of the party in his state but lost to Abubakar Audu. He was earlier a governorship aspirant on the platform of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the state.
Senator Lokpobiri represented Bayelsa West Senatorial District in the National Assembly until 2015 and was once Speaker of the state assembly, while Brig-Gen. Mansur Dan Ali just chaired the APC Bayelsa State Gubernatorial Primary Committee after the first botched primary in the state.
Confirming the submission of the new list, Saraki’s spokesperson, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu, said the names were submitted by the president’s Chief of Staff, Alhaji Abba Kyari, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, and his counterpart in the House of Representatives, Hon. Abdulrahman Kawu, at about 1.30 pm monday.
He said: “The list has been received by the Senate president. We received it this afternoon, and the list was brought by the Chief of Staff to the President, Alhaji Abba Kyari. He was accompanied by the SSA to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator lta Enang, and his counterpart in the House of Representatives, Hon. Sumaila Kawu.”
On whether the list was the last on the ministerial nominees, Olaniyonu said: “We don’t know until the Senate president opens the envelope tomorrow (today). We don’t know the number contained. We can just assume that this is the last batch. I am not sure it will extend to a third batch.”
The submission of the second list coincided with the decision by the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to suspend further investigations into the petitions against the appointments of a former Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi and Amina Mohammed as ministerial nominees.
A non-governmental organisation (NGO), The Integrity Group, had petitioned the Senate, seeking the disqualification of Amaechi by the parliament over the alleged mismanagement of N70 billion when he was Rivers State governor.
Another group also petitioned the Senate, seeking the disqualification of Amina Mohammed over the fact that she was nominated to represent Kaduna State when she actually hails from Gombe State.
While appearing before the committee yesterday, Amaechi, who was accompanied by his former Commissioner for Information, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, and two members of the House of Representatives, told the committee that the matter contained in the petition was already sub-judice because it was already before a court of competent jurisdiction.
Responding, the panel’s chairman, Senator Samuel Anyanwu (Imo East), said since the case was pending before a court, “as a very responsible committee, it is in our rule that we will not entertain any matter before the court since it would be sub-judice”.
He added: “We have a petition against Amaechi. And there is a letter from his lawyer that they have a pending case in the court. We also received a White Paper indicting him and we also received a Federal High Court judgment that says that Amaechi cannot stop the judicial commission from investigating him.
“He went to the Appeal Court and the matter is pending in the Appeal Court, and in our Senate Rules, once a matter is in court, we will not dwell on it.
“What we are going to do is to package the documents, look at their nature and we will be able to do our report and send to the Senate by tomorrow (today) or next tomorrow.”
In Mohammed’s case, she urged the committee to disregard the charge against her, saying she is not from Kaduna State as contained in the petition.
She said: “I was brought up in Kaduna. My father lived there but I have no connection with Kaduna State. I am an indigene of Gombe State and the assumption is that I would be representing Gombe in the cabinet.”
Earlier, the petitioner, Mr. James Kanyip, informed the committee that the grouse of his people was that Mohammed was nominated to represent Kaduna State in the cabinet.
However, he said since Mohammed had clarified that she was not nominated to represent the state, his petition was no longer necessary and thereby withdrawn.
Speaking with journalists, Anyanwu, who said his committee received only two petitions against Amaechi and Mohammed, explained that they had been treated.
He said: “So far, we have treated the two petitions and the committee is about putting down our report, which might be ready tomorrow (today) and if we cannot conclude it tomorrow, then we will move to the next day.
“This is something that is very important to the Senate and we must take a very firm decision and scrutinise our report very properly. Nobody has been cleared.
“It is our report and whatever report that we turn out, the entire Senate will dwell on that report and clear whoever that the report has cleared.
“We have not turned out our report. We only said that the matter we have before us is in court and there are other conflicting issues which we are yet to resolve and that is why we are trying to put our report together.”
Meanwhile, the presidency has stated that Buhari will leave the post of petroleum minister vacant after signalling that he would take the position.
“He can’t be president and oil minister at the same time,” Femi Adesina, a presidential aide, said by phone to Bloomberg yesterday from Abuja.
“He will supervise the ministry, so there will be no petroleum minister. Maybe he will appoint a minister of state, which is a junior minister.”
Nigeria’s Senate will begin vetting Buhari’s cabinet nominees today. Buhari had sent a list of 21 names to the lawmakers on September 30, without saying which portfolios the candidates would get.