11:12: Good morning from Lagos where Happenings.com.ng will be bringing you Live! updates of the Senate screening of President Muhammadu Buhari’s ministerial candidates. I am Samuel Ogundipe.
Yesterday, the Senate screened 10 of the first list of 21 would-be ministers the president sent on September 30.
After yesterday’s screening exercise, many Nigerians expressed their disappointment in the way and manner with which the senators cleared the nominees, saying the Senate President Bukola Saraki’s promise to extensively grill each of the candidates was reneged upon. Indeed, many of the candidates were asked what analysts considered to be soft-ball questions, while a good chunk of them got instruction to just “bow and go,” a luminous reminiscent of the past.
Amongst the 10 candidates screened yesterday were Chief Audu Ogbeh, Chief Ogbonnaiya Onu, Dr. Kayode Fayemi and Dr. Amina Mohammed.
Today’s edition is expected to include more drama and substance than yesterday, given the public record of the individuals expected to appear for screening.
Former Lagos Governor Tunde Fashola and Chief Rotimi Amaechi, ex Rivers State governor, are amongst those rumoured to be gearing up for Senate clearance today.
Amaechi’s case has become particularly interesting to political analysts who argue the former governor will unlikely be screened due to his failure to secure endorsement of 2 of the 3 senators from his state.
Mr. Victor Ohia, a legal analyst and criminologist, said it “will be unfortunate if the Senate screens Mr. Amaechi today.”
However, the Senate has said it will likely employ another screening mechanism in dealing with Amaechi’s case.
Senate rules require that a ministerial nominee must secure the support of at least 2 of the 3 senators representing the state in which such nominee hailed.
As usual, today’s exercise will be broadcast live from the Senate chambers on major government-owned mediums like NTA, FRCN and VON.
There’s no official hashtag for the event, but #MinisterialScreening seems to be popular with Nigerians on the micro-blogging Web site, Twitter; and this is where we’ll be tweeting.
Follow @Happenings9ja for Twitter updates of the event.
11:21: Microfinance Bill SB57 2015 is the first Senate business for the day as read by the Clerk of the Senate
11:27: Senators continue initial reading of pending bills, live-blogging will resume as soon as the ministerial screening exercise commences…
11:46: Senate moves motion for confirmation hearing of nominees
Those announced to be screened today, include:
11:47 Motion to allow APC National Chairman, Dr. Odigie Oyegun to enter the Senate chambers adopted.
11:48 First ministerial candidate to be screened today, Babatunde Fashola, the former Lagos State governor, enters the Senate for screening.
11:58: Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe of Abia States asked Mr. Fashola if he, indeed, spent N78M to build a personal Web site. Also asked him what his concept of loyalty is.
12:01: Fashola says those who benefit from Value Added Tax must contribute to it.
12:03: Fashola: Between 2003 to 2015, individuals paying taxes in Lagos State grew from 500,000 to 5 million.
12:05: Fashola: No state in Nigeria is unable to generate incomes internally
12:05: Fashola: My approach was to see criminals as competitors, while Lagos governor.
12: 08: Fashola: Nigeria has about 500,000 standing policemen. We are under-policed.
12: 10: Fashola: I propose six zonal commands for the police force
12:15 Fashola: My knowledge of Abuja not as deep as that of Lagos, because I have lived all my life in Lagos.
12:18: Fashola: Nigerians expect too much from their leaders, who are mere mortals.
12:21: Fashola: As governor, I have never signed a check. I don’t sign a check. None of my commissioners signs checks.
12:27: Fashola: Nobody in this life has ever accused me of giving my word and going back on my word.
12:41 Fashola: Every investment we make in infrastructure really helps to grow the economy.
1:02: Senate asks Fashola to take a bow and leave after fielding questions for an hour, which is the longest so far.
1:03: Senate begins screening of Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC.
1:22: Kachikwu: It’s absolutely essential that every Nigerian household uses gas, added that efforts are underway to make sure that a gas cylinder is given to every household.
1:48: Kachikwu: I will have no option than to appear if invited by National Assembly. And I will also send monthly reports.
1:52: Kachikwu: I will always respect and deliver the rights of Nigerians to information about the activities of government under my control.
2:26: Kachikwu: NNPC has one of the best retirement packages in Nigeria.
2:28: Kachikwu: Every country in the world, like Qatar and UAE, is leaving Nigeria behind in the area of gas development.
2:29: Senate concludes screening of NNPC GMB, Ibe Kachikwu. He spoke for over 1hr20mins.
2:57: Ngige: In 1999, I was one of those who constructed the vehicle called the Peoples Democratic Party. Senate is a family.
2:59: Ngige: We produced the first health bill that gave Nigerian people framework that gave the good health system we have.
3:09: Al-Hassan: Corruption in the judiciary has little or nothing to do with money. It takes many forms. She also added that layers should stop hobnobbing with judges because of conflict of interests. She was immediately asked to take a bow and leave.