Indications are rife that several All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftains whose names are reportedly on the ministerial list of President Muhammadu Buhari, has begun intense lobbying of senators in order to get a smooth sail in the screening process.
According to The Punch, some of the nominees, including former state governors have started contacting the senate president, Bukola Saraki and other senators because they are wary of the hard stand senators could take against them during the screening.
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The senate leader, Ali Ndume, has confirmed that the screening of the nominees will begin on Wednesday, October 7, after the names must have been read on the floor of the upper chamber on Tuesday, October 6.
A senator from the North Central region, who declined to be named, confirmed the rumour, saying he was aware that some nominees had reached out to the senate president and other senators.
On his part, the APC member representing Oyo South Senatorial District, Senator Adesoji Akanbi, said no senator would play politics with the screening of the ministerial nominees.
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“The fact that some of the people whose names had been published in the media have been reaching out, is a possibility in politics,” he said.
He added: “Nobody in his right senses will deliberately play politics with a sensitive issue like the screening of ministers. This is not the time for anybody to say he wants the legislature to hit back at the executive or the presidency over the current relationship between the two tiers of government.
“I am not saying that we should not do our jobs as lawmakers, what I am saying is that we should not deliberately frustrate the clearance of ministerial nominees, that does not also mean that those who fall short of expectation in glaring circumstances should not be dropped”
Meanwhile, the chairman of the senate adhoc committee on publicity, Dino Melaye, has urged Nigerians to await the reading of the list by the senate president before expecting the official reaction of the upper chamber.
He said: “Questions for the nominees won’t be based on their educational qualifications alone but will also on their morals, character and antecedents because we won’t allow Nigerians to accuse the Senate of approving somebody with questionable character as President Buhari’s minister”
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In a related development, there are strong indications that some Peoples Democratic Party-controlled states are warming up to oppose the clearance of any APC member from their states that would make the president's list.
Yinka Odumakin, the publicity secretary of the Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, on Thursday, October 1, said Buhari’s ministerial list was not worth the wait.
Recall that Buhari sent the list containing the names of the ministerial nominees to the Senate on Wednesday, September 30, for screening.
According to a top presidency source, a last minute change by Buhari favoured the former governor of Anambra state, Chris Ngige, whose name came in at the eleventh hour.
Buhari was said to have used five factors to determine the appointment of his ministers, they are, strict adherence to principle of non-interference in choosing his cabinet, integrity or pedigree; selfless service; old acquaintances and less exposure to political influence.