Yabagi Sani, the Chairman of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), has openly expressed disappointment at President Bola Tinubu over the character of his ministerial lists forwarded for confirmation by the Nigerian Senate.
Sani, who noted that he highly regards Tinubu as a figure that personifies democracy, accused the President of choosing politicians who had been rejected by the people during the 2023 elections as ministerial nominees.
Speaking on Wednesday when he was featured on Channels TV’s Politics Today, Sani did not mince words about how disappointed he was to see names of politicians who have “baggage” on the lists.
According to him, it sends the wrong message for Tinubu to “put faces that personify corruption as your lieutenants” because the ministers would be exercising his powers in whatever ministries he’s assigning to them.
Noting that some of the nominees do not hold the best interests of the people at heart, the IPAC chairman said: “You know why I’m so disappointed? President Tinubu personifies the politics of this country (and) democracy. He lived all his life as a democratic individual who fought with his life to ensure that we have the democracy that we are enjoying today.
“So, how can you come and then embark on policies that you know are anti-people and you now put people that you know were rejected? Some of the people that he put as ministers contested and were rejected by the people (in the 2023 election).
“So, how can you then bring them through the back door and say they must preside over the affairs of the people? That’s not the kind of country that we want to have. We must begin to give Nigerians confidence,” he said.
While Sani did not mention names, the immediate past governor of Zamfara State, Bello Mattawalle, and ex-Kebbi State governor, Abubakar Atiku, fit his description.
In May 2023, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) confirmed that it was investigating Matawalle for allegedly diverting a N70 billion loan sourced from a bank for purported execution of projects across the local governments in Zamfara.
The former governor, who was listed among the second batch of ministerial nominees Tinubu sent to the Senate on Wednesday for confirmation, had accused the former EFCC chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, of going after him because he denied him (Bawa) $2 million bribe.
Meanwhile, Bagudu, who served as Kebbi governor from May 2015 to May 2023, was listed in the Pandora Papers investigation led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists as being “involved with all the offshore front companies and bank accounts – from the British Virgin Islands to Ireland, Switzerland, England, Guernsey, and Jersey – used to steal and launder billions of dollars belonging to Nigeria under the Abacha regime as a director.”
The Pandora Papers investigation also revealed that the former Kebbi governor was “signatory on accounts or prime beneficiary” of the offshore accounts as shown in U.S. court documents and incorporation filings.
Tinubu, according to the IPAC chairman, should have picked persons with capacity and without links to corruption as ministers to avoid dampening the spirits of Nigerians who voted for him hoping that he would make a difference.
“When you talk of capacity and when you talk about track record, we have people that have capacity and track record.
“And for God’s sake, it is not about the minister. The minister does not work alone, he has experts around him but if you bring somebody that has baggage surrounding him, what do you think the other lieutenants would do? Don’t put faces that personify corruption as your lieutenants because what the ministers are doing is that they are exercising your powers of Mr. President in those ministries. They are the presidents actually. So don’t tell me that this people are you,” Sani added.
PeoplesActs News reported that President Tinubu sent additional 19 names to the Senate in his second batch of ministerial nominees for confirmation.
Among the nominees are former Osun State governor, Adegboyega Oyetola; former Kebbi governor Atiku Bagudu; former Zamfara governor, Bello Matawalle; former Yobe governor, Ibrahim Geidam; former Plateau governor, Simon Lalong; a former senator from Bayelsa State, Heineken Lokpobiri and Shuiabu Abubakar Audu, son of a former Kogi State governor, Abubakar Audu.
Former senators on the new list are Sabi Abdullahi from Niger State, Alkali Ahmed Saidu from Gombe State, and Heineken Lokpobori from Bayelsa State.
A former chairman of the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Zephaniah Jisalo, also made the second list.
The second came after the Senate had concluded the screening of the 28 ministerial nominees on the president’s first list.