Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, on Monday, explained that the red chamber withheld the ministerial confirmation of three nominees because the upper legislative arm was “still awaiting security clearance”.
The Senate, however, approved and confirmed the ministerial nominations of 45 other appointees of President Bola Tinubu after a voice vote.
The Senate President said, “Just to mention that for the avoidance of doubt, the Senate has so far approved and confirmed the nomination of 45 ministers out of the total 48 ministerial nominees sent to us by the President, Commander in Chief of the Armed Force of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The others are still awaiting security clearance.”
The three nominees yet to be confirmed by the Senate are ex-Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufa, Senator Abubakar Danladi from Taraba State and ex-Nexim Bank Managing Director, Stella Okotete (Delta State).
The 45 nominees cleared by the Senate are Festus Keyamo, Mariya Mahmoud, Lola Ade-John, Bosun Tijani, Isiak Salako, Tahir Mamman, Maigari Ahmadu, Zephaniah Jisalo, Shuaibu Audu, Yusuf Sununu, Bello Matawalle, Alkali Saidu, Ahmed Gwarzo, Atiku Bagudu, Simon Lalong, Ibrahim Gaidam, Aliu Abdullahi, Gboyega Oyetola, Heineken Lokpobiri and Tunji Alausa.
Others are Dele Alake, Lateef Fagbemi, Muhammad Idris, Ali Pate, Doris Uzoka, Dave Umahi, Wale Edun, Uche Nnaji, Adebayo Adelabu, Ekperikpe Ekpo, Hannatu Musawa, Musa Dangiwa, Nyesom Wike; Abubakar Kyari, Nkiruka Onyejeocha, Bello Muhammad, Badaru Abubakar, Joseph Utsev, Olubunmi Ojo, Betta Edu, Uju Kennedy Ohaneye, Abubakar Momoh, John Enoh, Iman Suleiman Ibrahim, and Yusuf Tuggar.
On Tuesday, August 1, 2023, the Senate screened El-Rufai, a two-term governor of Kaduna from May 2015 to May 2023, and one of the nine ex-governors in the ministerial list of the President.
During El-Rufai’s screening on the floor of the Senate, Senator Karimi Sunday from Kogi West Senatorial District raised a “very strong petition” against the ex-Kaduna governor that bothered on insecurity, unity, and national cohesion.
Sunday, who praised El-Rufai’s performance as Kaduna governor and minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) some 20 years ago, said, “but I have a very strong petition against you that bothers on security, unity and cohesiveness of the Nigerian nation and I think that petition has to be considered along this screening exercise”.
There was, however, a loud resistance from the Senators against the subject and the Senate President intervened saying, “Distinguished colleagues, perhaps I should inform you that I have received petitions from many other people in respect of other nominees but this is not where we are to deal with petitions. Our job here is to screen and of course, we can refer petitions to where petitions would be dealt with.
“These are the nominees of Mr President. If it is something that is a formal petition before the Senate, we will look at it formally but there are certain petitions that we have to refer to the Presidency or security agencies to look at and that has nothing to do with us.
“I think by the time we are going with the issue of confirmation and approval, we will so advise. So, I will want to plead with my brother (El-Rufai) to take a bow. So, don’t bother about (addressing the petition). Thank you.”