President Goodluck Jonathan may have started strategising for the 2015 polls with his nomination of a former Governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Shekarau, Senator Adedayo Adeyeye, Dr. Stephen Orhu and Dr. Abdul Bulama as ministers. Senate President David Mark announced the names of the nominees while reading a letter from Jonathan during plenary on Wednesday. The letter read, “In accordance with Section 147 subsection 2 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, I have the honour to forward the underlisted ministerial nominees for consideration for Senate confirmation.
“Dr. Bulama, Yobe State; Dr. Oruh, Delta State; Mallam Shekarau, Kano State; and Adeyeye, Ekiti State. “It is my hope that this exercise will receive the usual kind expeditious consideration of the distinguished members of the Senate.” The President also attached the curriculum vitae of the nominees in his letter. The mention of Shekarau, who recently dumped the All Progressives Congress, for the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, caused a stir as some senators giggled over his nomination. Three out of the four ministerial nominees will fill the gaps created by the exit of the former Minister of Niger Delta, Elder Godsday Orubebe (Delta); a former Minister of Police Affairs, Caleb Olubolade (Ekiti); and a former Minister of State for Finance, Yerima Ngama (Yobe).
It will be recalled that Hadjia Jamilia Salik from Kano State was among the 12 ministerial nominees forwarded to the Senate for confirmation by the President in January but she was not screened. Our correspondents noted that Kwara and Anambra states had yet to get ministerial nominees to fill their slots following the removal of Mr. Bolaji Abdulahi(Kwara State) as Sports Minister in March and Ms. Stella Oduah(Anambra), as Aviation Minister. Our correspondents learnt that the nomination of Shekarau was part of moves by the President to shore up support for his 2015 ambition in Kano State.
Kano is one of the states with the highest number of voters in the country. It had 5,135,415 registered voters in 2011. Shekarau, who contested the Presidency in 2011 on the platform of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party, was one of the founding fathers of the All Progressives Congress.
He, however, defected to the PDP when his political foe and the state Governor, Rabiu Kwakwanso, dumped the PDP for the APC. Shekarau’s anger worsened when the APC national leadership handed over the party’s structure to Kwakwanso. The ministerial nominee was then asked to go and work with the state governor. Jonathan had left Abuja for Kano to formally receive Shekarau into the PDP barely 24 hours after a terrorist attack on a bus terminal in Nyanya, near Abuja. The President’s decision drew public condemnation at home and abroad. Adeyeye, it was learnt, was appointed for stepping down for the PDP governorship candidate in Ekiti State, Mr. Ayo Fayose. He is to help the PDP build its support base in the state ahead of 2015 elections. Oruh, who is the incumbent National Vice-Chairman, South-South of the PDP , is expected to draw from his experience as a party mobiliser to consolidate the party’s hold on the zone.
Jonathan on Wednesday evening met with members of the PDP Board of Trustees inside the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The meeting which started at about 8pm was still ongoing as of press time. The BoT members were led to the meeting also attended by Vice-President Namadi Sambo by their chairman, Chief Anthony Anenih. The meeting held behind closed-doors came 24 hours after members of the party’s national caucus met at the same venue. The party leaders will continue their consultation on Thursday (today) at the national headquarters of the party where the meeting of its National Executive Committee will hold. When contacted for comments over Shekarau’s nomination, the Interim National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said, “I am not surprised. It simply shows you the level of self-interest. I won’t say more than that for now.” Efforts to reach the Kano State Chairman of the APC, Alhaji Umar Doguwa, were unsuccessful as his mobile telephone indicated that it was switched off.