Ministerial Screening: Nominees lobby Yakubu Dogara


Yakubu-Dogara-695x336As the ministerial resumes today, some nominees, yesterday laid siege to the office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara.
A senior aide to the Speaker who spoke to journalists on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to make any official statement, said the visit was part of an ongoing intense lobby by nominees who are currently facing opposition from powerful forces from their respective states.
Some of the nominees who were sighted included Heineken Lokpobiri from Bayelsa State, Aisha Abubakar who is currently battling to get clearance from the Senate committee on Ethics and Public Petitions, among others. They were led by the two National Assembly aides to President Muhammadu Buhari, Senator Ita Enang and Sulaiman Kawu.
According to Dogara’s aide, the nominees are trying to lobby some Senators opposed to their nomination, through some powerful members of the lower chamber. He said about seven nominees were currently in a closed door meeting with Dogara at the time of filing the report, while more were expected to join later.
Journalists who were initially alerted to be on ground to cover the meeting, were later barred from gaining access to the venue of the meeting. Beside Speaker Dogara, the House leader, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and other principal officers of the Green Chamber were present.
“Some nominees who are yet to be screened and confirmed by the Senate are with the Speaker right now. I cannot authoritatively tell you why they are there. But one of them said they came to see how Dogara can help them lobby his friends in the Senate to give a soft landing during the exercise tomorrow (today).
“I saw the nominee from Bayelsa state. I also saw that woman (Aisha Abubakar) who is trying to get the support of her Senators to get confirmed. The professor from Yorubaland was there. In all, there were about seven in number. I did not see former governor of Rivers state, Chibuike Amaechi. I do not know if he will be part of those that will come later,” the aide said.
Meanwhile, the Senate committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, has dismissed a petition filed by a women group against Ms. Aisha Abubakar.
The women had in a petition signed by one Hajia Balaraba Abdullahi and submitted last Thursday by the Senator representing Sokoto East, Ibrahim Gobir during plenary, argued that Abubakar’s nomination be rejected by the Senate. The petitioners alleged Ms. Abubakar was not known to the people of Sokoto State.
They had also claimed in the petition that the nominee was from the same local government area with Governor Aminu Tambuwal, saying that her clearance would alter the political arrangement of the state, arguing that as far as appointments of public officers are concerned, it was a bad deal.
However, members of the 13-member Senate committee were unanimous in their decision to throw out the petition during their final meeting yesterday.
In their argument, they said the document was not in the first place, addressed to Senate President, Bukola Saraki, but to President Mohammadu Buhari and that a copy was merely sent to Saraki as a formality.
A member of the committee, Senator Joseph Obinna (PDP, Ebonyi Central), was the first to dismiss the petition, stressing that the document was not meant for the senate in the first instance because it was not properly addressed.
Speaking in the same vein, Dino Melaye, (APC, Kogi West), noted that the committee should not be treated because the petitioners, apart from writing it in long hand, did not state any specific aspect of the constitution, breached by the nominee.
Senators Jeremiah Useni (PDP, Plateau South) and Binta Garba (APC, Adamawa North), argued that since Abubakar had been confirmed to be an indigene of Sokoto State, the allegation that she was not a member of the APC should be ignored.
The nominee and her lawyer, Dr. Bukola Akinola had argued that the petition was written by faceless authors who did not leave any definite address.
The petitioners led by Abdullahi, who also appeared before the panel were told to go and channel their document properly through the senate president.
Chairman of the committee, Samuel Anyanwu, who spoke with journalists on the findings of the committee regarding Abubakar and former governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Amaechi’s report said: “There are petitions and we are treating them. The reports will be presented tomorrow (today) and by the time it comes out, the press will have it. I can assure you that the report will be ready tomorrow (today).”-The sun


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