• en

Nigerian Senate Confirms 45 Ministers-Designate, Including Keyamo Despite Initial Pushback 

Nasir El-Rufai, Stella Okotete and Danladi Abubakar are yet to be confirmed.

The Nigerian Senate has approved for appointment 45 of the 48 ministerial nominees sent to them for screening by President Bola Tinubu.

Yet to be confirmed are former Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, Executive Director, NEXIM Bank,  Stella Okotete and Ministerial Nominee from Taraba State, Danladi Abubakar, who are all awaiting further security screening. 

The process which hasn’t lacked drama saw the most contentious moment at the very end when former deputy  labour minister Festus Keyamo faced senators as the last of the 48 names to be screened. 

The Senate chamber was thrown into rowdiness for several minutes and eventually forced to go behind closed doors after some lawmakers vehemently kicked against the nomination of the senior lawyer.

Keyamo initially had everything going well for him as he mounted the rostrum, reeling out his very intimidating credential as an attorney of the law.

He informed the Senate how he had spent the last 30 years using the instrumentality of the law to advance the course of democracy and the rule of law and even how he used his expertise in law to strengthen the powers of the senate.

Trouble however started for Keyamo when the Deputy Minority Whip, Darlington Nwokocha – turned the power of the Senate on him. 

Coming under Order 88(1), Nwokocha drew senate attention back to events in 2020 and around the issue of Public Works Funds, amounting to N52 billion.

Keyamo was the Minister of State for Labour and Employment at the time and had run into conflicts with lawmakers over the management of the funds appropriated by the National Assembly to pay 1,000 Public Works employees recruited in each of the 774 Local Government Areas.

Nwochocha recalled how Keyamo at that time denied lawmakers as representatives of the people the opportunity to oversight the exercise and even refused to honour invitations from both chambers of the National Assembly to explain how the money was disbursed and the impact it had on the people.

It was payback time -and senators were ready to take their own pound of Keyamo’s flesh.  

Abia South Senator, Enyinnaya Abaribe  recalled Keyamo’s behavior very vividly and quickly seconds the motion that his ministerial screening should be suspended until the time the nominee fully accepts to subject himself to the questions by the National Assembly over the N52 billion Public Works Funds.

By this time, the Keyamo’s screening had effectively divided the senate with some senators calling on the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio to call for division and put the question again for those in support or against Keyamo’s nomination.

At this point, Senate had become completely rowdy with Keyamo rooted to his feet, his fate squarely in the hands of the lawmakers.

The Senate was eventually forced behind closed door with Akpabio rising to his feet in his bid to call senators on both sides of the divide to order.

However, after a break which lasted a few hours – during which Akpabio made a quick dash to the Presidential Villa to meet with Tinubu – the Senate reconvened.

When the Senate doors reopened, it was to a subdued Senate and a remorseful Keyamo who tendered an unreserved apology to the Senate for his conduct.Hide original message

Attempts by some senators to subject him to further scrutiny was deflected by the Senate President as Keyamo’s apology was accepted abd he was allowed to take leave of the senate.

At the end, Senate confirmed the appointment of all 48 ministerial nominees – including Dr. Bosun Tijjani from Ogun state who also had a difficult time over his unpleasant tweets about Nigerian lawmakers.

Omor Bazuaye 

Follow us on: