Ministerial Candidates Rush to Submit Asset Declaration Certificates

  • Senate screens nine more nominees today  
  • How South-east PDP govs’ moves to nominate potential ministers failed

Iyobosa Uwugiaren and Deji Elumoye in Abuja

Most of the 31 ministerial nominees already screened by the Senate who failed to attach photocopies of the asset declaration certificates to their Curriculum Vitae (CV) have perfected plans to turn in those vital documents by today, THISDAY has learnt.

THISDAY gathered that some of the nominees had met with their state caucuses at the Senate where they made commitment that the asset declaration certificates would be made available to the upper chamber before the end of today’s screening.

THISDAY also learnt at the weekend how some leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) frustrated efforts by some governors of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to recommend candidates to President Muhammadu Buhari that could be appointed as ministers.

Sources said among the ministerial nominees affected by the Senate order that would-be ministers should produce their asset declaration certificates were former governors, ex-senators, former ministers and former deputy governors and House of Representatives members.

The sources told THISDAY that the leadership of the Senate after the screening last Friday, had impressed it upon the state caucuses on the need to ensure that their respective state nominees send in copies of their asset declaration forms by today.

A senator told THISDAY that the issue of the asset declaration forms might be played up by some senators at the point of confirming those nominees already screened by the Senate tomorrow.

This, he said, informed why the leadership of the Senate directed that all nominees should turn in their asset forms by today.

It was gathered that the remaining 12 out of the 43 ministerial nominees sent to the Senate for confirmation last Tuesday that would be screened today and tomorrow were expected to have attached their asset declaration certificates as a condition for their screening.

Senator Lawrence Ewrudjiakpo (Bayelsa East) at last Friday’s screening of some of the ministerial nominees had raised Order 121 of the Senate Rules to complain that most, if not all the nominees, had failed to attach their asset declaration forms to their CV.

Order 121 of Senate Rules provides that “the Senate shall not consider the nomination of any person who has occupied any office contained in Part 1 of the Fifth Schedule of the constitution prior to his nomination unless there is written evidence that he has declared his assets and liabilities as required by Section 13 of Part 1 of the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Such declaration shall be required for scrutiny.”

The screening of the nominees continues today as nine of them, including former Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (Lagos);  Dr. Muhammad Mahmoud (Kaduna); former Senator Gbemisola Saraki (Kwara); former Governor of Osun State, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola (Osun) and Goddy Jedy-Agba (Cross River) take their turns.

Others to be screened are Sulaiman Adamu (Jigawa); Clement Agba (Edo), Maryam Katagum ( Bauchi) and former Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama.

The three nominees for screening tomorrow are Sabo Nanono, former Information Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed (Kwara) and Saleh Mamman ( Taraba).


Ministerial Appointments: How APC Leaders Frustrated South-east PDP Governors’ Nominees


And as the Senate sets to conclude the screening of the ministerial nominees tomorrow, THISDAY gathered last night that the South-east PDP governors felt disappointed over the non-inclusion of their ministerial nominees submitted to the president on the list sent to the Senate last week.

As part of their political deals with Buhari-led APC during the last presidential election, some state governors of South-east: Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia); Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) and David Umahi (Ebonyi), were said to have submitted some names to the president for consideration as ministers.

But a source in the presidency said the governors predicated their decisions on the need for the president to form a “government of national unity”, taking into consideration the seemingly resentment against Buhari in the geo-political zone.

However, sensing the dangerous political implications of the PDP governors’ moves, some leaders of APC, led by the former Governor of Lagos State, Senator Bola Tinubu and the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, were said to have told the president that assenting to the PDP governors’ requests would amount to undermining the ruling party in the South-east.

“Few days before the release of the ministerial nominees by President Muhammadu Buhari, some PDP governors from the South-east put so much pressure on the president to accept the names they submitted for ministerial appointment.

“But we told our leaders and the president that accepting the names would amount to finally killing our party in the South-east geopolitical zone. It would have been impossible to rationalise the decision and explain to APC leaders in the zone, who took the risk of campaigning for us during the last general election,” the source told THISDAY in Abuja.

A senior official of PDP told THISDAY that the party’s leadership was aware of the failed moves by the governors, but stated that their actions did not have the support of the party.

“We are aware of the shameful act by some of South-east governors; but they are on their own. Our party is still in court contesting the fraudulent so-called victory of President Buhari and APC at the Presidential Election Tribunal. And we are sure of retrieving our victory,” the PDP chieftain, who pleaded anonymity stated.

The PDP bigwig spoke on how the same governors almost frustrated the PDP presidential campaign in the zone during the last general election.

“You remember it took us time to fix the South-east presidential zonal rally; none of the South-east governors was ready to host the rally. For example, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State told us specifically he would not host.

“It was when they discovered that their people were hugely against their move to strike a deal with APC that they quickly made a U-turn, pretending to be supporting our candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

“They were not happy that Atiku Abubakar nominated Peter Obi as his running mate. And all efforts by our presidential candidate and the leaders of the party to pacify them failed,” the senior PDP member said.

Against the PDP governors’ plan, Buhari last week nominated Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah (Abia); Dr. Chris Ngige (Anambra); Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu (Ebonyi); Dr. Geoffrey Oyeannma (Enugu) and Dr. Emeka Nwajuba (Imo) as ministerial nominees from the South-east.