For ministerial nominees, the battle for cabinet seats is not yet over, despite the appearance of some of them before the Senate.
They have three more hurdles to cross before they can be confirmed minister. They are:
- verification of credentials of each of the 43 nominees;
- a voice vote on each nominee to determine the final decision; and
- consideration of petitions against some of the nominees.
The Senate has received a petition against a nominee, who is said to be a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) financier. Some All Progressives Congress (APC) are up in arms against their opposition colleagues on the issue.
PDP senators are, however, intensifying their lobby to allow the nominee from the Southsouth to scale the hurdles on merit because he has defected to the APC.
Senators spent the weekend reviewing the credentials of some of the nominees.
It was learnt that the outcome of the screening of the credentials will play a significant role in determining the confirmation of any nominee.
It was also gathered that weighty petitions might force the Senate to disqualify nominee.
A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The ministerial nominees have three more hurdles to cross. These are the screening of their credentials; review/consideration of petitions against any nominee; and the final stage of the ongoing Confirmation Hearing where the fate of each nominee will be determined by voice vote.
“We are currently reviewing the credentials of some ministerial nominees. We have noticed some discrepancies in some credentials and Curriculum Vitae of some nominees.
“The verification of the credentials is not a thing we can do as at the time they appeared before the Committee of the Whole to gauge their views on the state of the nation.
“We want to ensure conformity with Section 147(5) of the 1999 Constitution which says no person shall be appointed as a Minister of the Government of the Federation unless he is qualified for election as a member of the House of Representatives.”
Senate Leader Dr. Yahaya Abdullahi said “All Senators have the credentials of the ministerial nominees and they are screening them.”
The Senate has received a petition against a nominee from one of the states in the Southsouth.
The petition has pitted APC Senators against their PDP colleagues.
A ranking APC senator said: “We have discovered that the nominee used to be a major financier of the PDP. We believe his coming into the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari will make him a mole.
“The haste at which our PDP colleagues are lobbying for his confirmation made the whole process suspicious. We think the President should not play into the hands of the opposition.
“Our position is that the nominee should be dropped.”
But a PDP Senator said: “We are pleading with our APC colleagues to consider the nomination of the candidate on merit but not on partisan basis or just on mere suspicion. This nominee was once in PDP and defected to APC.”
Section 147 (1) of the 1999 Constitution says: “There shall be such offices of Ministers of the Government of the Federation as may be established by the President.
“Any appointment to the office of Minister of the Government of the Federation shall, if the nomination of any person to such office is confirmed by the Senate, be made by the President.
“Any appointment under subsection 92) of this section by the President shall be in conformity with the provisions of Section 14(3) of this Constitution.” (The Nation)