Ministers Yet To Be Inaugurated As Buhari Awaits Senate Confirmation Letter


Lack of communication from the Senate to the Presidency on confirmation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s ministerial nominees is delaying the inauguration of the new Federal Executive Council.

Though the Senate had announced the confirmation of 36 nominees as minister-designates, our correspondent learnt that the upper chamber had yet to officially communicate the confirmation to the Presidency.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang, on Sunday confirmed that the Senate had yet to communicate to the Presidency on the matter because doing so would require a Senate plenary.

“The communication cannot be done until when the senators in plenary approve the votes and proceedings of the decision taken at the last week’s sitting of the Senate,” Enang told one of our correspondents on the phone.

Buhari had on the last day of September forwarded a list of 21 persons to the Senate for confirmation. He also sent another batch of 16 names on October 2 though he later withdrew the name of one of the nominees.

While the Senate had earlier confirmed 18 nominees at first, the upper chamber confirmed the remaining 18 nominees last Thursday at a time the President was attending the third summit of the India-Africa Forum in New Delhi.

Buhari returned to the country late on Friday and there have been speculations that he would inaugurate his ministers during the week.

Already, the social media have been awash with different permutations on how the President would assign his ministers’ portfolios.

Multiple government sources on Sunday said the government was not bothered by social media permutations and that it would be wrong for the President to work on social media reports.

“Remember that the President sent the lists to the Senate formally with top presidential aides delivering them to the Senate President. It follows that after the confirmation, the Senate leadership should also write back to inform the President that his nominees have been screened and confirmed,” one of the sources said.

When contacted on the telephone, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, confirmed to our correspondent that Buhari had yet to receive any communication on the nominees from the Senate.

He also confirmed that the President would wait for a letter from the Senate conveying to him the confirmation of his nominees before sweating in the ministers.

Shehu expressed the optimism that the confirmation would be communicated to the President this week.

He said, “As I am talking to you now, the President is yet to receive any message from the Senate that the ministerial nominees have been cleared.

“Maybe the Senate will do this when it resumes this week but it has not done so yet.

“It is only when that is done that the President can go ahead to swear in the nominees to become members of the Federal Executive Council.”

Shehu also disowned the list being published, especially in the social media, on the allocation of portfolios to the ministers-designate.

He said the list did not emanate from the Presidency though he said those behind the list had the right to speculate.

The 36 persons who have been confirmed by the Senate to be ministers are Senator Udoma Udo Udoma , Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Chief Audu Ogbeh, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazzau (retd.), Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Hajia Amina Ibrahim Mohammed, Suleiman Hussaini Adamu and Ibrahim Usman Jibril.

Also cleared and confirmed as ministers are Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, Abubakar Malami, SAN; Senator Chris Nwabueze Ngige, Senator Aisha Jummai Alhassan, Mr. Solomon Dalong, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun and Senator Hadi Sirika.

Others are Rotimi Amaechi, Adebayo Shittu, Bukar Ibrahim, Cladius Omoleye Daramola, Prof. Anthony Onwuka, Geoffrey Onyema, Dan Ali, James Ocholi, Zainab Ahmed, Okechukwu Enelamah, Muhammadu Bello, Mustapha Baba Shehuri, Aisha Abubakar, Heineken Lokpobiri, Adamu Adamu, Isaac Adewole, Abubakar Bawa and Pastor Usani Uguru.

As of Sunday, Dambazau, a retired soldier from Kano State, was being speculated to handle the defence ministry, while Amaechi, ex-Governor of Rivers State, was being tipped to be in charge of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, according to the speculation, will be headed by Audu Ogbeh, a one-time national Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party; and Ocholi will handle the Ministry of Justice.

For the education and foreign affairs ministires, Adewole, an outgoing Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan; and Fayemi, an ex-governor of Ekiti, were being tipped respectively.

The National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, Lai Mohammed, is seen as a natural candidate for the information ministry while the Group Managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Ibe Kachikwu, is said to be the junior minister in the petroleum ministry. Already, Buhari had said he would be the Minister of Petroleum.

Also Sirika is being tipped for the Minister of Aviation while the Ministry of Finance may have both Enelamah and Adeosun, among others.