World Bank Chief, 9 Others Screened By Nigerian Senate

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Ten of the 34 ministerial nominees forwarded to the Senate for confirmation as ministers of the government of Nigeria were today approved by the upper legislative house. At the resumed sitting of the senate this morning, the upper legislative house began a painstaking screening of the nominees with the former Special Adviser to the President on Power, Prof Bart Nnaji emerging the first to be thoroughly grilled.

Others that were grilled include the Managing Director of the World Bank, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who is tipped to be favoured for the Finance portfolio and the immediate past minister of finance, Olusegun Agangan. The trio of Erelu Olusola Obada, a former deputy governor to Olagunsoye Oyinlola in Osun state; Prof Okon Bassey Ita Ewa, a professor of Physics and Prof Viola Onwuliri, who was the deputy governorship candidate to Ikedi Ohakim in Imo were all also thoroughly screened.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

On the other hand, four of the nominees were simply asked to take a bow and go. The nominees in this group are the Acting National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mohammed Haliru Bello, Comrade Abba Moro, Samuel Ortom and Sen Idris Umar.

Though he was asked to take a bow and go, the nomination and screening of Bello generated so much interest on the floor of the senate as some senators questioned the rationale behind the recycling the 68 year old Kebbi born politician for over 40 years at the expense of the younger generation. The senate is expected to continue with the screening and confirmation of the ten remaining nominees tomorrow. So far, the president has forwarded the names of 35 nominees to the Senate with the name of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala coming in yesterday. The President also yesterday withdrew the nominee from Rivers State, Tonye Cole for undisclosed reason.

In the same vein, the hope of the nominee from Taraba State, Obadiah Ando is still hanging in the balance as the three Senators from the State continue to oppose his nomination for poor performance and total disconnection from his people.

Within the Senate, there is an understanding that when two of the three Senators from the state of a nominee is opposed to the nomination, the president is expected to either reconcile such differences or outrightly withdraw the nominee.


By Desmond Utomwen/Abuja

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