New ministers: Senate clears 7 ministerial nominees

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      New ministers: Senate clears 7 ministerial nominees On June 30, 2011  ·            By BEN AGANDE, CHARLES KUMOLU, GBENGA OKE AND INALEGWU SHAIBU
    ABUJA—THE Senate, yesterday, confirmed seven of the 34 ministerial nominees presented to it by President Goodluck Jonathan. Before the confirmation proceedings began yesterday, the Senate approved 20 Special Advisers for the President.
    Three of the Special Advisers were Gen. Andrew Azazi (rtd.) National Security; Senator Joy Emodi, National Assembly; and Mr. Kingsley Kuku, Amnesty Programme. The remaining 17 approvals are to be filled in the next few days.
    Emodi commenced duty after being briefed by Presidency officials yesterday by leading the ministerial nominees to the Senate for the screening.
    The seven nominees confirmed by the Senate after an elongated sitting session that stretched from 10.00 am till 4.30 p.m. were Emeka Wogu, (Abia); Bala Mohammed, (Bauchi); Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke (Bayelsa); Elder Godsday Orubebe (Delta); Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu (Ebonyi); Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade (Ekiti) and Professor Ruqquaya Rufai (Jigawa).
    All the nominees confirmed at the Senate session presided over by Senate President David Mark, yesterday, served in the immediate past Federal Executive Council.
    Rigorous screening
    Expectations of a rigorous screening of the nominees as promised by the Senate Leader, Senator Vicftor Ndoma-Egba, SAN, on Tuesday did not materialise, yesterday, as the Senate did not honour its promise not to allow any of the nominees to bow and go.
    Erstwhile Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Allison-Madueke spent the longest time during the Senate sessions that commenced with erstwhile Labour Minister, Wogu. Allison-Madueke explained how the government was able to curb the incidence of kerosine explosion and the reason for the onslaught against her nomination to the cabinet by some segments of the society.
    [img height=250 width=412][/img] MINISTERIAL NOMINEES. From the left: Emeka Wogu, Caleb Olubolade, Peter Orubebe and Christian Chukwu checking through a list as they awaited their screening at the National Assembly, Abuja, yesterday. Photo: Abayomi Adeshida Asked on his performance as minister of Labour in the past administration and his opinion on the calls for a review of the revenue sharing formula, Wogu said that the country needs a new revenue sharing formula as the existing one is no longer realistic.
    Speaking on how the minimum wage of N18,000 was obtained, Wogu, said it was a product of wide consultation between the Federal Government and other stakeholders including state governments, local governments, organized labour and employers of labour.
    He said: “The minimum wage was as a result of painstaking consultation with state governors, local governments, organized labour and other stakeholders. It is coming ten years after the last minimum wage was arrived at. A lot of issues were taken into consideration including the availability of funds and how realistic it is for states to pay. All these issues informed the choice of N18,000 as minimum wage.â€

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