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Senate Begins Screening Of Ministerial Nominees, Today

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The Upper Chambers of the National Assembly will today commence the screening of 31 ministerial nominees submitted to it by the Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.

Last Tuesday, the Acting President sent to the Senate list of nominees that will form the crop of the new cabinet. This development came about a week after he announced the dissolution of the Federal Executive Council constituted by the ailing president Musa Yar;Adua.

Out of the 31 ministerial nominees, eight of the dissolved cabinet made the new list while 23 are fresh hands. The eight returning ministerial nominees include Odein Ajumogobia, Adetokunbo Kayode, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke, Nuhu Sumo Wya, Senator Akinlabi Olasunkanmi, Godsday Orubebe, Prof.  Dora Akunyili, and Fidelia Njeze.

The 23 others that made the ministerial list are Mrs Josephine Anenih, Prof.  M.K. Abubakar, Navy Captain N.S. Olubolade (rtd), Dr. Chris Ogiemwonyi, Ndanusa Alao, Umaru Aliyu and Murtala Yar’Adua. The remaining lucky ones are Nduese Essien, Abubakar Mohammed, Olusegun Aganga, Labaran Maku, Sanusi Daggash, Emeke Nwogu, Bello Adokiye, Josephine Tapgun, Adamu Maina Waziri, Ernest Odebola and Suleiman Bello.

 The ministerial nominees list which attracted mixed reactions soon after it was made public in the Senate, however laid to rest days of lobbying by interest groups and political heavy weights to have their candidates included in the list.

Even when critics accused Jonathan of assembling what they called “greenhorns and lacking political experiences  “sources from his office disagreed, saying that the crop of the new ministerial nominees are experienced technocrats and professionals that are assembled to give a fresh breath to good governance towards a better Nigerian society.

Thought the Senate has promised a fair screening exercise for all the nominees, it may not be out of place to see anti-Jonathan senators being difficult during the screening in order to frustrate the nominees efforts to scale though.

Meanwhile, the Senate President, David Mark, is skipping this year’s International Parliamentary Union (IPU) conference in Bangkok, Thailand to enable him to preside over the screening of the ministerial nominees.

Mr. Paul  Mumeh, the Chief Press Secretary to the Senate president, made the announcement in a statement on Friday in Abuja.  

The world parliamentarians are expected to discuss issues on threat to security and peace, democracy and human rights, sustainable development as well as finance and trade across the globe.

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Yiaga Africa Blames Govt For Voters’ Apathy

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Independent election observer group, Yiaga Africa, has expressed worry that increasing voters’ apathy as witnessed in the Anambra governorship election may not have been caused by insecurity but increasing loss of confidence in government.
A board member of the group, Ezenwa Nwagwu held the view in Awka during a post-election reflection meeting with leaders of Civil Society Organizations.
Nwagwu reiterated that the ugly trend was not necessarily occasioned by insecurity that had always heralded elections in the past, but growing disconnect between the government and the masses, saying it is time populace held government to account to bridge the gap.
He said: “Election is over. Now we have to watch governance and the only way to do that is to clearly design pathways through which we can hold the government accountable.
“One of the ways is for the citizens to engage the government with budget process. Government every year estimates what it uses the people’s resources to do for them.
“Unfortunately, the people involved don’t show any interest, and four years later, the same people will start complaining that government has failed, even when there was nothing to track.
“We need to see how the Media and Civil Society groups can collaborate and produce what I call a citizen charter demand that they can hand over to the new Governor-elect.
“They can liaise with other professional bodies to conduct infrastructural assessment in the state and use that as a document to organize a town-hall meeting to engage government officials.”
Nwagwu also identified what he termed “fear and complaint industries” as major impediments to the growth and development of the state, insisting that the two factors must be shut to enable people of the state enjoy democracy dividends.
He added: “We need to close up the two industries of fear and complaint that have gripped the state, especially after the election so people can leverage the benefits of governance.
“If we continue with this scare-mongering and complaints, we will only succeed in having few persons taking over the government and dictating the pace.”

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CVR: Fresh Registrations Hit 4.2m

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said that fresh registration in the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) has hit 4,297,494.
The commission disclosed this in the second quarter, week seven, weekly update released by the commission in Abuja recently.
The commission said that as at 7 a.m. on Monday, November 22, 1,856,771 persons have completed their online and physical registration.
According to statistics provided by the commission, 1,856,771 persons who completed their registration, include 941,098 males, 915,673 females.
It also added that 741,183 persons completed their registration online, while 1,115,588 completed it through physical registration.

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Saraki Visits Benue Over Presidential Ambition 

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A former President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, has visited Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State over his ambition to vie for President in 2023.
Saraki, after a close door meeting with Governor Ortom, also met with the State Working Committee members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to familiarise them with his intention to kick start consultations for his ambition to rule the country.
He said that the nationwide defection of party loyalists from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the PDP was an indication that there might not be anyone left in the party before the next election.
“A party that cannot organise its affairs has no business leading this country. A party that has organised its affairs is ready in leading this country and that is the PDP,” he said.
Saraki added that the North Central Zone has paid its dues by working so hard in keeping the country together as one united entity just as he pointed out that, “this time we must stand for our own and charity begins at home.”
The ex -senate president, who was accompanied on the visit by former Governor of Kogi State, Idris Wada, former National Chairman of the PDP, Kawu Baraje, Senator Suleiman Adokwe and Prof Iyorwuese Hagher, Chairman of Council, Saraki for President Campaign, thanked the Benue governor for standing out for the zone.
Earlier, Governor Ortom, eulogised Saraki for being one of those Nigerians that had contributed immensely to the development of democracy.
Ortom said it was time to rescue the country from bottom, a position it was placed by the APC government, to the top, adding that Saraki deserves the presidential seat to enable him salvage the country from its current mess.
On his part, the State Chairman of the PDP, Sir John Ngbede, represented by his deputy, Isaac Mfo, said the party in the state had remained intact even as he assured the presidential hopeful that they would back his ambition to rule the country.

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