Controversy trails Ministerial Nominees

Criticisms and outright rejections trail the release of the names of ministerial nominees’ mane by acting President Jonathan Goodluck. Sources say The nominations of Professor Dora Akunyili, Olusegun Aganga, Prince Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, Senator Sanusi Daggash,, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN) and Miss Josephine Tapgun may not fly at the Senate.

Lagos PDP rejected nominee Aganga, while a group asked the Acting President to appoint a professional as minister of the Federal Capital Territory and the Ogun West senatorial district in Ogun State alleged that the nominations showed the continued marginalisation of the district.

Some senators on Thursday afternoon started a campaign to have Mrs. Joy Emordi, who was sacked from the Senate by a Court of Appeal in Enugu, replace Prof. Akunyili. Both Emordi and Akunyili are from Anambra State.

The aggrieved senators who are mostly from the north are venting their anger on Akunyili because she tendered the Memo at an executive council of the federation meeting calling for the elevation of Goodluck Jonathan to Acting President due to President Yar’Adua’s incapacitation.

A group, Friends of the Federal Capital Territory, has also written to the Acting President to appoint a seasoned technocrat as substantive minister of the FCT. The group’s letter to Jonathan was dated Thursday, March 22, 2010.

Four other nominees also face opposition from members of the Senate who are scheduled to screen the nominees next Monday. They are former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode; former Minister of National Planning, Senator Sanusi Daggash; Managing Director at London office of US investment bank, Goldman Sachs, representing Lagos, Mr. Olutoyin Aganga, and Kogi’s Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN).

Goodluck Jonathan dissolved the federal cabinet last week Wednesday after holding a marathon meeting with Ministers. Acting President Goodluck Jonathan had last week dissolved the cabinet to pave way for the constitution of a new Federal Executive Council.

However, the release of the names sparked off controversies with many condemning the calibre of those lined up for screening by the Senate.

The upper chamber of the National Assembly is billed to commence the screening of the nominees on Monday.

The request of Friends of the FCT came at a time Abuja residents have been condemning and protesting against the actions and policies of the immediate past FCT Minister, Senator Adamu Aliero, and his predecessor, Alhaji Aliyu Modibbo.

The letter, which was addressed through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, reads, “Your Excellency Sir, bearing in mind that the FCT ministerial position is a very sensitive one, according to Section 299 of the 1999 Constitution, we urge you to stand out once again by appointing a tested professional as the Minister of the FCT.

“In view of the above, therefore, we, on behalf of FCT residents pray you to set aside political, ethnic and religious considerations in appointing the next minister.

“Politicians are only interested in land allocations and contract awards. We need a minister that will work. It is time to develop the FCT.”

Meanwhile, a socio-political group, Ogun West Mandate, on Thursday, kicked against the nominees picked from the state, saying the choice from the two other senatorial districts in the state had further underscored the disdain with which the West was being treated.

In a statement in Abeokuta by the group’s President, Mr. Dapo Oke, and Secretary, Mr. Bori Akinleye, the group contended that the recent list of ministerial nominees had further marginalised the people of Ogun West, a zone that had not enjoyed federal appointments in the last 11 years.

The two ministerial nominees from Ogun, Senator Jubril Martins-Kuye and Mr. Awodele Alao, hail from the East and Central senatorial districts of the state respectively.

Expressing shock at the nominations, OGWM lamented that the zone had never benefited from any federal appointments, including ministerial, presidential advisers, ambassadorial and board appointments since the return of democracy.

The group noted that all federal appointments had been the exclusive preserve of the people from Ogun Central and Ogun East.

“The latest development showed that some forces within the state are on the rampage to psychologically exterminate the Ogun West people,” it said.

Oke and Akinleye demanded the withdrawal of the state’s two ministerial nominees and their replacement with one that accommodates an Ogun West indigene.

Also, the nomination of Miss Josephine Tapgun as minister representing Plateau State in FEC left the Peoples Democratic Party and Governor Jonah Jang dazed.

Sources say the governor had forwarded three names and had indicated his interest in the sacked chairman of the party, Prof Dakum Shown.

The nomination of Tapgun was said to have been concluded in Abuja without the inputs of either the governor or the state chapter of the party.

It was further gathered that the governor had virtually relocated to Abuja to lobby for a possible replacement of the nominee.

Secretary of the sacked Dakum Shown faction of the party, Mr. Daniel Dakim, said that since the nominee was from the state, the party had nothing against her nomination.

Meanwhile the Chairman of the caretaker committee, Chief Abu King-Shulluwa, said in an interview that his committee had no hand in the nomination.

He said, “Who do I know. I don’t know what you want me to say.”

Tapgun, who is a younger sister of a former governor of the state, Mr. Fidelis Tapgun, replaced Ambassador Bagudu Hirse, who until the cabinet dissolution was the minister of state, External Affairs.

The older Tapgun is also a member of the caretaker committee set up by the National Working Committee of the party after the dissolution of the Dakum Shown-led executive committee.

The Lagos State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has kicked against the nomination of Mr. Olusegun Olutoyin Aganga, as the state’s representative in the Federal Executive Council.

The Secretary of the party, Mr. Olatunji Shelle, told reporters yesterday in Lagos that the party was against the nomination because Aganga is not from the state and therefore cannot represent the interest of the people.

Shelle said: “We are aware and appreciate that nomination into the Federal Executive Council is an exclusive prerogative of the President. However, we wish to categorically state that Mr. Olusegun Olutoyin Aganga is not from Lagos State. Our investigation revealed that he is from Sabongida Ora in Etsako Local Government Area of Edo State.”

The party explained that it had earlier forwarded three names: Hon. Tunde Salau, Chief Bode Oyedele and Hon. Moshood Salvador to the Presidency for consideration, adding that it was shocked when Aganga’s name was announced.

Shelle stressed that the nominee did not attend any party meeting nor participated in any of its activities.

Lamenting the insensitivity of the situation, Shelle said: “The state chapter of the party is in the dark and appeals that the nominee be dropped in the interest of peace, fairness and equity.”

He cited Section 1477(5) of the Constitution, which states that “no person shall be appointed as a minister of the Federation unless he is qualified for election as a member of the House of Representatives. ”

Also yesterday, a group kicked against the two ministerial slots given to Ogun State.

The Yoruba Youths for Good Governance (YYGG) wondered why the state should be given two slots after producing a former President and the current Speaker of the House of Representatives.

“Of all the states in Yorubaland, why should Ogun State be allotted two slots? Already, the state produced a former president, and an incumbent Speaker of the House of Representatives among others,”it said.

A statement by the group’s Chairman, Adebari Adejumo and Secretary Olabisi Adelakun noted: “In terms of population and land mass, Ogun State is not the biggest in Yorubaland; why should it be given two slots?

“Whoever fights for the slot of a politically, professionally and socially unknown person has no interest of Ogun and Yorubaland at heart,” adding: ” YYGG says no to skewed federal appointments in Yorubaland.”