By Uche Amunike
The Senate has received President Muhammadu Buhari’s new ministers list, sent to them for screening and confirmation, as contained in three separate letters and read during plenary by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, Tuesday.
In the letter, President Buhari explained that he made the request according to the provisions of section 147 (2) of the Nigerian constitution.
The nominees are as follows: Henry Ikechukwu Ikoh (Abia State), Umana Okon Umana (Akwa Ibom State), Ekumankama Joseph Nkama (Ebonyi State), Goodluck Nnanna Opiah (Imo State), Umar Ibrahim El-Yakub (Kano State), Ademola Adewole Adegoroye (Ondo State) and Odum Odi (Rivers State).
Recall that some ministerial positions have remained vacant after some former Ministers resigned from their Ministerial positions in other to chase after their political ambitions by contesting for other offices.
The Ministers who resigned include the former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; former Minister of Niger-Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio; former Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba; former Minister of Mines and Steel, Uche Ogah; former Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Ogbonnaya Onu and a former Minister of State for Niger Delta, Senator Tayo Alasoadura.
Out of the 7 of them, Rotimi Amaechi, Ogbonnaya Onu, Godswill Akpabio and Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba contested for the Presidential primary election. None of them, however clinched the ticket.
Uche Ogar on his part, scaled through the fractional Abia State gubernatorial primary election, while Tayo Alasoadura contested the APC Senatorial primary election, but lost out.
They all resigned according to the provision of section 84(12) of the Electoral Act which states thus: ‘No political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted for at the convention or Congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election.’
Even though the Appeal Court already declared that section unconstitutional, the case was moved to the Supreme Court for a final ruling.
These Buhari’s New Ministers will however, face screening on another day that the legislative session will hold.
Meanwhile, three senators from the APC have resigned their membership of the party. They are Senators Ahmad Babba-Kaita who represents the Katsina North Senatorial District, Francis Alimikhena, representing Edo North Senatorial District. They both defected to the People’s Democratic Party, while Senator Lawal Gumau of Bauchi South Senatorial District dumped the APC for the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).
They notified the Nigerian Senate of their resignation and defection through one of the letters received by the Senate, during plenary on the same Tuesday that Buhari’s New Ministers were announced.
As it stands, the likes of Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige, Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen and Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, who initially showed the interest to contest for elective positions, but eventually chickened out, were not mentioned in the list. As at press time, their status is still unknown.