The Senate will start receiving petitions against President Muhammadu Buhari’s ministerial nominees on Tuesday.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Ethics and Public Petitions, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, told one of our correspondents on Friday in Abuja that the committee would give the petitions prompt attention once they were presented.
He said as of Friday, no member of the public had formally submitted any petition against any of the ministerial nominees.
But Anyanwu noted that the committee might start receiving petitions as from Tuesday when the list would have been officially unveiled by the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
He said, “We have not been receiving petitions from members of the public obviously because the list of ministerial nominees has not been officially unveiled by the senate president.
“I think the petitions will start coming in as from next Tuesday after Nigerians would have known the nominees.”
Meanwhile, investigations by Saturday PUNCH revealed that some Peoples Democratic Party-controlled states have been warming up to oppose the clearance of any All Progressives Congress member that would make the list from their states.
Apart from this, some aggrieved members of the APC in some states were also said to have threatened to write petitions against any nominee that is not confirmed by the state chapter of the party as a member.
It was gathered that the Rivers State Government and the state chapter of the party had concluded plans to oppose a former governor of the state, Rotimi Amaechi, if he was nominated.
It was learnt that the state government might instruct senators from the state to oppose Amaechi’s nomination.
But when contacted, the state government and the PDP said they would prefer to keep mum on the report that Amaechi’s name was on the ministerial list.
The Media Assistant to the State Governor, Mr. Simeon Nwakaudu, said the state government would take a position after the senate must have read out the list on Tuesday.
Nwakaudu explained that everything about the content of the ministerial list would be mere speculation until it is read out by the National Assembly.
“Let the list be read first; if the list comes out, we will formerly take a position,” he said.
Similarly, the State PDP Deputy Publicity Secretary, Mr. Samuel Nwanosike, said the party would be thorough in its position on whether Amaechi’s name appeared on the list or not, but would have to wait until the Senate read out the list on Tuesday.
“When the Senate reads out the list, we will react. We are always thorough when we take a position on an issue. They said it is the Senate that will disclose the content of the list and that will be on Tuesday. We are waiting for them to do that,” Nwanosike added.
Besides Amaechi, those who were reported to be on the ministerial list included a former Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola; his Ekiti State counterpart, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; a former Governor of Anambra State, Chris Ngige; and a one-time Governor of Abia State, Ogbonaya Onu and an ex- former finance commissioner in Ogun State, Kunle Adeosun.
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria and former National Legal Adviser to the defunct Congress for Progressives Change, Malami Abubakar; a former governorship candidate of the APC in Taraba State, Aisha Alhassan; and a special adviser to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed, also made the ministerial list.
However, the founder, Engineer Sunday Adebayo Babalola Foundation, Mr. Sunday Babalola, and the Director of International Women Communication, Hajia Goroso Limota, urged the senate to thoroughly screen the nominees.
While Babalola spoke at Omu Aran, Kwara State on Friday during the inauguration of N2m scholarship to some students in secondary and tertiary institutions from Omu-Aran, Limota spoke in an interview with one of our correspondents in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, during the inauguration of the sustainable development goals among grassroots women.
Babalola cautioned against using religion, gender, tribe and other sentiments, instead of competence and merit, as yardstick for screening the nominees.
Limota urged the senate to reject the list if it did not contain at least 35 per cent of women.