The announcement of the ministerial nominees on Tuesday, October 6, at the Senate plenary session has resulted to series of protests from various organisations and the All Progressives Congress in Lagos, Rivers and Oyo states respectively.
An envelope which contained the long-awaited list of the ministerial nominees was opened and announced by the Senate president, Bukola Saraki.
The protests came as the Senate announced Babatunde Fashola (the former governor of Lagos state), Rotimi Amaechi (the former governor of Rivers state) and Adebayo Shittu (a legal practitioner in Oyo state) from the list as the prospective ministers to work in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet.
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On the one hand, an anti-corruption group known as Integrity Group dissented the nomination of the former governor of Rivers state, Rotimi Amaechi, and petitioned President Buhari and the Senate expressing that Amaechi should not be one of the ministerial nominees, The Punch reports.
Amaechi was accused of alleged fraudulent practices during his tenure as governor in the state.
The group’s publicity director, Livingstone Wechie, alleged that Amaechi was currently being charged for exploitation and embezzlement in the state over the conversion of public funds to the tune of N70 billion into his personal foreign account.
The group said: “Amaechi should first clear his name over allegations of fraud concerning the sale of state power plants and conversion of proceeds of $302m, unlawful payment of over N4bn to Clinoriv Specialist Hospital and unlawful enrichment of a firm, Messrs Collect Nigeria Ltd. with public funds amounting to over N1.5bn.”
Wechie reprimanded the former governor for not appearing before the Justice Omereji-led judicial commission of enquiry which was set up by the current governor of the state, Nyesom Wike, for an explanation of how he had managed the state’s funds while in office.
On another hand, a civil organisation in Lagos, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), also petitioned the Senate against the nomination of Fashola.
The petition which was dated Saturday, October 3, had asked the Senate not to confirm the former Lagos boss if his name eventually appeared stressing that the legislative arm should deem it necessary to visit Lagos first before screening Fashola.
The executive head of the group, Debo Adeniran, in the petition titled “Visit the Lagos Fashola left behind before confirming his appointment as minister” said: “Albeit, if the rumour making the rounds in some quarters, which has also been confirmed by some sections of the media is anything to go by, we would say Nigerians’ hope for a true change has been dashed with the inclusion of some names that in a saner environment should not appear on the list, if integrity and honesty are the basis of the selection criteria.
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“We are therefore constrained at this point in time to bring to your attention our critical reaction to the rumoured nomination of the immediate past governor of Lagos state, Babatunde Fashola, as a minister in the new government.”
Also in Oyo state, The Punch reports that the ruling All Progressives Congress asked President Buhari to revisit his nomination of a legal practitioner, Adebayo Shittu, claiming that the ministerial-nominee was not a team player in the party.
The reports that the governor of the state, Abiola Ajimobi, had been against Shittu’s nomination was called off by the state APC secretary, Mojeed Olaoya. The secretary said that the issue was between the nominee and the APC and not with the governor.
Olaoya further said: “This is the party talking and not the governor. It was the party that wrote a letter to the governor asking him to convey our message on Shittu’s nomination to the president. We have published paid advertisement in the newspapers stating our position on Shittu’s matter.”
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But Shittu said that he contributed immensely to the success of the party and that he had nothing against Governor Ajimobi.
The state APC expressed sadness in not being compensated by the president recounting how the state party contributed to make sure that President Buhari won in the March 28 presidential election. The party stressed that the nomination of the legal practitioner is unacceptable to the people of the state.
The Senate president had said that the remaining names of President Buhari’s ministerial nominees will surface shortly as Nigerians remain expectant of the full list of the president's cabinet.