PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan, on Tuesday, sent two letters to the Senate, seeking its confirmation of 12 ministerial nominees, as well as the consideration and approval of the newly appointed Chief of Defence Staff and three other service chiefs.
Senate President, David Mark, read out the list of the ministerial nominees, as contained in a letter dated January 20, 2014, but which he received from Jonathan shortly before the commencement of plenary session.
Those on the list included Senator Musiliu Obanikoro (Lagos); Aminu Wali and Hadjia Jamila Salik (Kano); Mrs Lawrencia Laraba Mallam (Kaduna); Mrs Akon Etim Eyakenyi (Akwa Ibom); Honourable Mohammed Wakil (Borno); and Abdul Jelili Oyewale Adesiyan (Osun).
Others were Dr Khaliru Alhassan (Sokoto); Tamuno Danagogo (Rivers); Mrs Asabe Asmau Ahmed (Niger); General Aliyu Gusau (Zamfara) and Mr Boni Haruna (Adamawa).
Danagogo, a former Commissioner for Urban Development in Rivers State, left the Governor Rotimi Amaechi-led administration in a controversial move late 2013.
He was reported to have told members of PDP at Abonema, Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State, that he remained a member of PDP, adding that he was more confortable in PDP that joining the All Progressives Congress (APC) with Amaechi.
President Jonathan, in the letter to the Senate, said he sent the list to the Senate in compliance with the provisions of Section 147 (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.
In his second letter, the president also asked the Senate to confirm for immediate appointment Air Marshal Alex Badeh as Chief of Defence Staff; Major General Kenneth Minimah as Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral Usman Jibrin as Chief of Naval Staff and Air Vice Marshal Adesola Amosu as Chief of Air Staff.
Meanwhile, the Senate resumed plenary session on Tuesday, after one month recess without the anticipated tension, following the threat of defection by some aggrieved Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members.
Noticeably, known arrowheads of the planned defection into the All Progressives Congress (APC), including Senators Bukola Saraki (Kwara Central) and Mohammed Jubrilla (Aldamawa North), were seen in their usual seats in the two PDP rows in the upper chamber of the National Assembly.
Briefing newsmen immediately after the session, which lasted more than two hours, chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Media and Public Affairs, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe, said there was no tension of defection in the Senate as being speculated.
“We have our plenary without any mention of defection, but the point is that all matters that are brought to the Senate will be dealt with on the floor, in accordance with the laws and rules that guides debates in the Senate,” he said.
Abaribe also said notwithstanding the fact that political activities in the build up to the 2015 elections would be heating up the polity, the Senate would not allow itself to be distracted from its primary responsibility to Nigerians.
Meanwhile, President Jonathan has appointed former national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, as the chairman of Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC).
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Pius Anyim, conveyed the appointment in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja, on Tuesday.
Anyim, in the statement, also announced the appointment of Dr Ghaji Ismaila Bello as Director-General, National Population Commission (NPC), with effect from January 8, 2014.
Tukur, it will be recalled, resigned his position as national chairman of PDP last week and had since been replaced with ex-Bauchi State governor, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu.
The position of NRC chairman was formerly held by Alhaji Kawu Baraje, former factional chairman of PDP, who had since led his faction to fuse into the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Baraje resigned as chairman of the corporation in the height of the PDP crisis late 2013.
It will be recalled that President Jonathan, at a meeting where Tukur’s resignation as national chairman of PDP was announced, said “Tukur is not guilty of any offence and I am going to give him an assignment that is tougher than PDP chairman.”
In another development, Tukur has congratulated the new national chairman of PDP, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, describing his appointment as “a call to serve the fatherland.”
Tukur, in a message he personally signed, in Abuja, said the emergence of Alhaji Mu’azu was a manifestation of his unique leadership abilities.