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Cablegate: Update On Ministerial Nominees

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PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHUJA #1559/01 2011332
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 201332Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0323
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHWR/AMEMBASSY WARSAW 0460
RUEHCD/AMCONSUL CIUDAD JUAREZ 0461
RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS 7452
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 001559

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DOE FOR CAROLYN GAY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM NI
SUBJECT: UPDATE ON MINISTERIAL NOMINEES


ABUJA 00001559 001.2 OF 002


---------
SUMMARY
---------

1. SUMMARY: The stage is almost set for the formation of President
Umaru Musa Yar'Adua's cabinet as forty ministerial nominees will
learn their fate on Tuesday, July 24. The Senate adjourned Thursday
night after screening 38 out of 40 candidates. They plan to
reconvene Tuesday, July 24 for a hearing on the whole slate followed
by an up or down vote. However, five of the candidates faced further
investigation due to allegations they submitted forged documents
certifying their required participation in the National Youth
Service Corps. Two candidates, Tukar el-Sudi (Taraba) and Amadu
Ahmed (Kaduna) were not screened on July 19 despite being listed on
the schedule. Unfortunately, other than these few instances, the
screening exercise was mostly for show including the allowance of
several candidates to bow and take a seat with no questioning at
all. Overall the process did not expose a majority of the nominees
to challenging issue-based questions, making it difficult to assess
their true competency. END SUMMARY

--------------------------------
FIVE NOMINEES BEING INVESTIGATED
--------------------------------

2. Five ministerial candidates faced further investigation due to
allegations they submitted forged documents detailing their
participation in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). After
graduating from university, all Nigerians are required by law to
serve one year in the NYSC before beginning their career.
Unfortunately, people have been known to pay for fake documents to
avoid serving and allow them to start their career sooner. Although
the identities were not officially announced, it is believed that
the following are among those being investigated: Emeka Okechukwu
(Anambra), Adetokunbo Kayode (Ondo), Ibrahim Tukar el-Sudi (Plateau)
and Adamu Ahmed (Kaduna) and one other unknown nominee. Senate
Majority Leader, Teslim Kolawole Folarin (Oyo Central), stated that
the NYSC would be contacted to verify the authenticity of the
respective documents and the result of the investigation would be
received by Monday, July 23, prior to the confirmation hearing
scheduled for Tuesday, July 24.

-------------------------------------
TWO CANDIDATES DROPPED FROM SCREENING
-------------------------------------
3. At the commencement of the screenings on July 19, Senate
President, David Mark, announced that although seven names were
scheduled to be screened that day, only five would actually be seen
prior to adjourning. It is unclear why the two candidates, Tukar
el-Sudi (Taraba) and Amadu Ahmed (Kaduna), remained unscreened, but
it fuelled speculation that they may have been withdrawn from the
list of nominees. El-Sudi is allegedly bogged down by a series of
petitions against him forwarded by political leaders in Taraba.
Opposition to Ahmed emanated from the Kaduna Forum, a pressure group
that stated Ahmed had never been instrumental to the success of the
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and does not represent the interest
of the people.


-------------------------
NOMINEES ALREADY SCREENED
-------------------------

4. The Senate completed screening of the following nominees: Abba
Sayyadi Ruma (Katsina), Senator Akinlabi Olasunkunmi (Osun), Mrs.
Grace Ekpiwhre (Delta), Aishatu Jibril Dukku (Gombe), John Ogar Odey
(Cross River), Bode Augusto (Lagos), Mrs. Fidelia Akubata Njeze
(Enugu), Aderemi Babalola (Oyo), Bagudu Hirse (Plateau), Halima Tayo
Alao (Kwara), Gabriel Aduku (Kogi), Yayale Ahmed (Bauchi), Igwe
Aja-Nwachukwu (Ebonyi), Godwin Abbey (Edo), Odein Ajumogobia
(Rivers) and John Akpanudoedehe (Akwa-Ibom), Dr. Shamsudeen Usman
(Kano); Senator Mohammed Sanusi Daggash (Borno), Chief Sarafa Tunji
Isola (Ogun), Prince Adetokunbo Kayode - SAN (Ondo), Mrs Diezani
Allison Madueke (Bayelsa), Emeka John Okechukwu (Anambra), Tijjani
Yahaya Kaura (Zamfara), Ahmed Garba Bichi (Kano), Mohammed Ahmed
Gusau (Sokoto), Abdulrahman Hassan Gimba (Niger).

------------------------------------
NOMINEES SCREENED BUT NOT QUESTIONED
------------------------------------
5. It came as a surprise that Ojo Maduekwe (Abia) was not asked a
single question but told to take a bow and leave. When Maduekwe's
name was first announced, he did not have the support of his local

ABUJA 00001559 002.2 OF 002


Senators. Initially, all three opposed his candidacy and submitted
petitions against him. However, the situation was later resolved
when Maduekwe met with the Senators and brought them into agreement
about his nomination. Others who were granted the privilege of
taking a bow without answering any questions included: the ANPP
nominee from Plateau, Ibrahim Dasuki Nakande; the Benue nominee
Michael Kaase Aondoakaa; and Dr. Jerry Agada. Although the other
candidates screened on July 19 were questioned, none encountered
challenging policy-based inquiries that would demonstrate their
abilities.
------------------------------------
SPECULATIONS ON PORTFOLIOS
------------------------------------
6. Although still undecided, there is speculation about which
portfolios will be assigned to the nominees. Chief Ojo Maduekwe,
current national secretary of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party
(PDP), who has been in the corridors of power since the Sani Abacha
era and is familiar with both local and international politics, is
thought to be assigned the Foreign Affairs Ministry. Dr. Usman
Shamsudeen, a deputy governor with the central bank, having a vast
knowledge of fiscal policies is likely to be responsible for the
Finance Ministry. Yayale Ahmed, an astute administrator and
immediate past head of the federal Civil Service will most likely
run the Federal Capital Territory; while General Godwin Abbey (rtd),
a former military administrator of Rivers State, could oversee the
Defense Ministry. Finally, it is thought that Former President of
the Nigeria Bar Association and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria,
Adetokunbo Kayode, is likely to be assigned the Justice Ministry
despite the current investigations allegedly taking place against
him.
---------
COMMENT
---------
7. COMMENT: If the current investigation into the NYSC certificates
of five of the nominees reveals that they submitted fraudulent
documents, disqualification is expected and the spotlight will be on
the Senate as they decide how to proceed during the final
Confirmation Hearing scheduled for July 24. Though the Senate
confirmation is meant to ensure the best possible candidates become
Ministers, the screening process so far has leaned more towards show
than substance. There has been little questioning on real issues,
making it hard for observers to evaluate the caliber of nominees,
some of whom are relative unknowns and others who are career
politicians. END COMMENT.

GRIBBIN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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