President Bola Tinubu yesterday sent the first batch of 28 ministerial nominees the senate with Bauchi, Cross River and Katsina states allotted two ministerial positions apiece
The list contains names of nominees from 25 states, leaving out 11 states. It also has four former governors, seven women and 17 others.
The states not yet represented are Lagos, Kano, Adamawa, Bayelsa, Gombe, Kebbi, Kogi, Osun, Plateau, Yobe and Zamfara.
The names which were read at the plenary by the senate president, Mr. Godswill Akpabio, include the former governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike (Rivers) and his Kaduna, Ebonyi and Jigawa counterparts, Nasir El-Rufai, David Umahi and Abubakar Badaru.
Also making the first batch of nominees are the acting chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Abubakar Kyari (Borno); the party’s women leader Beta Edu (Cross River); John Eno, (Cross River); former minister of state, health, Ali Pate, (Bauchi); Ambassador Yusuf Maitama, (Bauchi), Ahmad Dangiwa (Katsina); Hanatu Musawa, (Katsina); Nkeiruka Onyejiocha (Abia); Lateef Fagbemi, (Kwara); spokesman for the president, Dele Alake, (Ekiti); a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Adebayo Adelabu (Oyo);
The names of Abubakar Momoh (Edo); Uche Nnaji, (Enugu), Doris Aniche (Imo), Mohamed Badaru (Jigawa), Ekperikpe Ekpo (Akwa Ibom), Olubumi Tunde-Ojo, (Ondo), Stella Okotete, (Delta), Uju Ohanaeye (Anambra) and Bello Goronyo, (Sokoto); publisher of Blueprint Newspaper, Mohammed Idris (Niger), Olawale Edun (Ogun), Imman Suleiman (Nassarawa), Joseph Utsev, (Benue) and Sani Danladi (Taraba), are also contained in the list.
Meanwhile, the chief of staff to the president, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila disclosed that new ministries would be created.
Speaking to journalists yesterday in Abuja after handing in the ministerial list to the senate, Gbajabiamila said: “Mr President intends to separate portfolios or restructure the ministries in such a way that you might be hearing of new ministries that were not standalone ministries before.”
He also stated that the president took his time to sift through the list of nominees and “dissected those names with a fine-tooth comb.”
He explained that the names were sent to the Senate without specific portfolios attached to give the President enough flexibility to decide who handles what portfolio.
He said, “I like the idea of attaching portfolios because it makes it necessary for the Senate to know exactly what you’re asking and looking for.
“As good as that sounds, it straitjackets the President to pigeonhole one person in an office or the other. What happens if he changes his mind? Do you then bring the person back for screening again? This is because the President is at liberty to change his mind.
“But for now, it’s been thought wise that we stick to the tradition of sending the names and then while the screening processes are going on, it allows Mr President and his team to look at the portfolios and the characters and see how they fit.”
On the remaining nominees, he said the “12 or maybe 13 will be forwarded to the senate in the coming days.”
He revealed that the cabinet should be fully formed and functioning within the next two weeks.
“Work should start in earnest for them in the next week or two because I don’t see the Senate wasting too much time in the confirmation, not because they’re not going to do a thorough job, they will do a thorough job.
“But they will balance it with the knowledge that in this time that we are in, time is of the essence.”
Also speaking yesterday, the spokesman for the senate, Mr Yemi Adaramodu (Ekiti South), said the screening of the ministerial nominees would begin on Monday, July 31.
He said the lawmakers would have started “our vacation” on Thursday (yesterday) but had to shelve it until they were done with the screening.
“We were supposed to proceed on our vacation today (Thursday) but it has been suspended for this screening. We are starting the screening on Monday. We are not going to allocate time to nominees to talk.
“We will start by 11am on Monday and other days at 10am. We are ready to sit all day to screen them, with no limitation of hours. We won’t even time them. We would listen to them reel out their blueprint to us. The screening would be done in the presence of Nigerians,” he said.