June 6, 2024

Central News

at the center of it

Abia senators stall Keyamo’s ministerial screening as confusion greets list

TWO senators of Abia State caused a stir in the National Assembly on Monday when they caused the Senate to re-think screening of Festus Keyamu as minister even as a minister-nominee’s name was said to be a fraud.

Senator representing Abia Central Darlington Nwokocha moved a motion for the suspension of the ministerial screening of the former Minister of State for Labour and Employment.

After Nwokocha moved the motion, his colleague from Abia-South Senatorial District, Enyinnaya Abaribe, seconded it, leading to a rowdy session at the red chamber.

Nwokocha had accused Keyamo who was a minister under the administration of the immediate past President, Muhammadu Buhari of disrespecting the 9th National Assembly and accusing the last parliament of being corrupt.

The lawmaker said during the Buhari administration, Keyamo was invited to explain the Special Public Works programme but he did not honour the invitation.The programme was coordinated by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) which was under the ministry Keyamo supervised.

The Federal Government had in 2020 earmarked N52 billion for the programme to recruit 1,000 youths from each of the 774 local governments for three months and pay them N20,000 each. Senate Public Account Committee subsequently began a probe on the matter but the then minister shunned the invitation by the committee.

Senate President and former governor of Akwa Ibom State Godswill Akpabio, thereafter took the decision to subject the motion to a voice vote but the lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on the matter.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu had on Friday nominated Keyamo as minister under his administration. Tinubu announced this in a letter addressed to Senate President Godswill Akpabio and read during plenary on Friday.

The president also withdrew the ministerial nomination of Maryam Shetty from Kano and replaced her with Dr Mairiga Mahmud.

Keyamo and Mahmud’s nomination followed the recent submission of the second batch of ministerial nominees by President Tinubu’s Chief of Staff, Femi Gbajabiamila, last week Wednesday.

The supplementary list came as a continuation of the first list of the 28 ministerial nominees presented by Senate President Akpabio the previous week.

Meanwhile, immediate-past governor of Kano State now national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abdullahi Ganduje, has thrown more light on the withdrawal of Maryam Shetty as a ministerial nominee by President Tinubu.

The withdrawal of the 30-year-old Dr. Shetty’s nomination while awaiting her screening by the Senate last week and her replacement with Mariya Mahmoud, also from Kano, had raised a lot of dust with many fingering the Ganduje family as the brain behind the dropping of Shetty.

But in an interview on Sunday night on Freedom Radio, Ganduje alleged that Shetty’s name was smuggled into the ministerial list as she is not a known person in the APC in the state.

“But what happened in this case is that we were not consulted. So we just heard her name on air. Initially, we didn’t complain, taking into consideration that Mr President has the right to appoint anyone. And as loyalists of the president who understand democracy, we accepted his choice,” Ganduje said.

“Also, the President’s attention was drawn to the social media reactions that followed her nomination. Sometimes people take actions, thinking they won’t be caught. But you will be surprised that all your actions are in the public domain. That’s what happened in this case.

“But again, we don’t know her, and since we don’t know her, we can’t vouch for her competency for the job. In the process of appointing ministers, the president has people who will advise him from different states. Also, it is the prerogative of the president to appoint whoever he deems fit as minister.”