Senate clears Adewole, five other nominees on Tuesday

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The Nigerian Senate on Tuesday cleared six ministerial nominees to complete 11 candidates yet to be confirmed by the red chamber.

The six candidates screened following the resumption of ministerial screening were Professor Isaac Foloruinso Adewole, Bawa Bwari, Zainab Ahmed, Geoffrey Onyeama, Retired Brigadier General Mansur Mohammed Dan Ali, Usani Usani Uguru.

The Senate began their screening with Professor Isaac Foloruinso Adewole, who is a current Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan and a Professor of Obstetrics & Gyneacology.

Adewole who while introducing himself, spared time to recognize Osun state Senators, Jide Omoworare, Isiaka Adeleke & Senator Sola Adeyeye.

He vowed ‘to service with patriotism and commitment; I shall bring my modest experience to serve’ if confirmed as minister. While fielding questions, Senators including Ali Ndume probed Adewole on matters of cultism in Nigeria’s campuses, issues of abortion and asked him about strategies to improve educational system of the country.

In his response, Adewole said, ‘On Cultism, we looked at intelligence methods and we also enlightened parents. We need to put money in Education. We need to recognize Education as Vital to the Economy.

On abortion and education system, he said that, ‘I have dedicated my life into preventing issues such as maternal mortality, infant mortality etc. If I am made Minister of Health, I will make sure the MRO Project in your State doesn’t rot’.

He suggested that, ‘We need to look more into Open and Distance Learning as well as Technical and Vocational Education’ and notes that some women cannot afford delivery fees in hospitals, suggesting need to partner Churches to ensure safe delivery.

When asked by Senator Akpabio about how to stop ‘sex for marks’ in the tertiary institution and what he will do to prevent issues of women giving birth in Church.

Adewole responded when asked by Senator Yayi Adeola on whether it needful for total overhauling of the Nigerian Medical System, he said, ‘On Doctors & Housemanship, what we need is a connection between Health and Education. With need more Nigerians involved in NHIS.’

On high rate of youths unemployment, Adewole said, ‘I tell my Students, the Certificate is a Visa, yet you still need a Ticket. In respect to funding and infrastructures, there is a difference between allocation and release, without TETFund the entire University System would have collapsed.”

‘As a Nation we should not relent because we can get it right. Prostate Cancer is the leading form of cancer among men. We can reduce the rate of Infant Mortality and Maternal Mortality to an acceptable rate,” he said.

‘On privatisation of primary care, if there is enough funding, there should be no need for privatisation. On movement, every human being seeks for greener pastures. What we need to do is improve our environment. The issue of brain-drain is complex and not just peculiar to Nigeria,” he continued.

‘As a Nation we should not relent because we can get it right. Prostate Cancer is the leading form of cancer among men. We can reduce the rate of Infant Mortality and Maternal Mortality to an acceptable rate,” he said.

Following Adewole’s departure, Bawa Bwari hit the floor and only lasted few moments after responding to questions from the Senate President Bukola Saraki on his plans if named minister the FCT before to was asked to take a bow and go.

“Right now I cannot say exactly what I will do, I have to go in first to see the areas that needs to be touched. We need to look at the master plan and see the areas that need to be developed. There are some areas in the FCT that harbour hoodlums, we need to look into all that,” Bwari said.

Coming on afterwards was Geoffrey Onyeama from Enugu, who is a veteran accountant, received questions from Senators bothering on how to improve the capital market, second Niger Bridge, Biafra issue and corruption which he responded to saying, ‘Nigeria is literally and figuratively the Giant of Africa.’

Just after Onyeama took a bow and go, Zainab Ahmed of Kaduna State, storm the Floor of the Senate, introducing herself and as well took time to appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari for her nomination and Senators of Kaduna origin Shehu Sani, Hunkuyi Suleiman and Danjuma La’ah.

Ahmed, who spoke about her 16 years long experience at the Nigerian Extractive Industries’ Transparency Initiative, NEITI, urged the Senate to consider the audited reports of the agency.

She was asked about ways of tackling corruption and blocking leakages, issues of non implementation of budgets, means of attracting foreign investors as well as matters bothering on free trade zones.

On her experience, Ahmed said that, “I have been the ears of NEITI since 2010 and i’m still the ears of NEITI but i’ll tender my resignation if confirmed”.

Ahmed said that, “I am one Nigerian that cares about the return of the Chibok Girls. I’ll support every plan in place to rescue the girls. The Recommendations Of Audits and Panels should be implemented. We shouldn’t just keep them on the Shelves’.

‘If we collectively fight corruption and impunity, we will not continue to have unemployed youth. To promote anti-corruption stance, we need to be accountable and transparent in all our dealings,” she said.

‘On identifying leakages: The oil and gas sector has a lot of leakages but the NNPC is looking into them.”

Earlier Usani Usani Uguru, who hails from Cross River introduced as a pastor and acknowledged the Senators from his state who are Rose Oko, Gershom Bassey and John Owan Enoh.

Uguru who responsed to questions about management of inter-communal clashes, enviromental issues and religious intolerance among others.

He said that,”There is the need for continuous dialogues on boundaries. The problems of the Niger Delta aren’t the problems of the North East; each one has its peculiarities’, sressing that, ‘kidnappers are initiated or coopted by taking advantage of their idleness”.

He also said that, “Environmental problems can not be remedied based on legal actions alone”.

Thereafter, retired Brigadier General Mansur Mohammed Dan Ali, came on and spoke about his military records and history in the army before venturing into politics.

Dan Ali who was questioned on the admission processes into the National Defence Academy, military’s ability to meet deadline on ending against Boko Haram, said the December deadline for military on tackling insurgency is progressive.

With 11 cleared, six remaining ministerial nominees are expected to have their screening when the Senate resume its next legislative sitting on Wednesday.

So far, 18 candidates have been confirmed, 11 already cleared with no confirmation yet including embattled former Rivers governor Rotimi Ameachi and six still awaiting screening.