Senate confirms Fashola, Lai Mohammed, 16 others as Nigerian ministers

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The Senate on Wednesday confirmed the nomination of 18 candidates for appointment as ministers by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Following the continuation of screening of nominees, which started on Tuesday with the screening of 10 candidates, eight more nominees were screened on Wednesday, bringing the total number to 18.

Those so far screened and confirmed for appointment are Udoma Udo-Udoma, Kayode Fayemi, Audu Ogbe, Ogbonnaya Onu, Osagie Ehanire, Abdulrahman Danbazzau, Lai Mohammed, Amina Mohammed, Suleiman Adamu, and Ibrahim Usman Jibril, who appeared before the Senate on Tuesday.

Others are former governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola; Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Emmanuel Kachikwu; Abubakar Malami; former governor of Anambra State and senator, Chris Ngige; Aisha Alhassan; Solomon Dalung; former commissioner for finance in Ogun State, Kemi Adeosun, and Hadi Sirika.

Wednesday’s screening was quite different from the previous day with nominees fielding several questions, save for the three former members of the red chamber, Ngige, Alhassan and Sirika, who each spent less than 15 minutes.

The Senate had penciled down 10 names to be screened on Wednesday, including former Rivers State governor Rotimi Amaechi and Adebayo Shittu. However, only eight nominees were screened as the process was cut short to make time for the confirmation.

Amaechi’s screening has been deferred to Thursday as the senate ethics committee could not submit its report on its investigation into a petition against the former governor from a group in Rivers State.

Unlike yesterday when the session was lively, as it was interspersed with jokes, especially from Minority Leader Godswill Akpabio, today was more business-like, with the likes of Fashola, Kachikwu, Dalung, and Adeosun taking time to lecture the senators on what they are bringing to the cabinet and how best they think the country can be run.

Ngige was asked to take a bow and go without fielding questions while Alhassan and Sirika answered a couple of questions from the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, before also being asked to bow and go, as the senators tried to support their former colleagues.

Amaechi and Shittu will hope to be cleared tomorrow, Thursday, which is the last day the Senate set for the screening of the initial 21 nominees.

The last nominee on the list, Ahmed Isa Ibeto, from Niger State, had his nomination withdrawn today by the President possibly because another nominee, Abubakar Bawa Bwari, who is on the second list, is from his state.