he Senate, on Wednesday at plenary, screened and confirmed all the seven ministerial nominees sent by President Muhammadu Buhari on June 21.
Buhari had in a letter that conveyed the names of the ministerial nominees to the Senate, explained that the confirmation request was in accordance with the provisions of Section 147 subsection 2 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.
Out of the seven nominees screened and confirmed by Senate, three were excused from taking questions from lawmakers.
This was because of their legislative background and experience, in line with the tradition of the Senate, while four of the nominees answered questions from the lawmakers.
The nominees excused from questions at the screening were Goodluck Nana Opiah (Imo), Umar Ibrahim El-Yakub (Kano) and Ademola Adewole Adegoroye (Ondo).
Those who responded to questions included Henry Ikechukwu Ikoh (Abia) Umana Okon Umana (Akwa Ibom), Ekumankama Joseph Nkama (Ebonyi) and Odum Odi (Rivers).
Responding to questions earlier, Ikoh, a nominee from Abia, promised to contribute to the development of the nation’s economy, if confirmed, given his background in the private sector as an industrialist.
On how jobs could be created for the teeming unemployed youths, Ikoh re-emphasised the need for the establishment of modular refineries, to refine the nation’s crude oil locally.
This, he said, would help create more jobs and ultimately grow the economy further.
He also advocated the deepening of partnership between the Federal Government and the private sector, to create more industries.
This, he said, would also result in the creation of jobs.
He said there was a need to ensure that graduates of tertiary institutions possess technical knowledge that would enable them to become Job creators, especially in the local communities.
Responding to questions on how to improve the revenue and foreign exchange earnings to Nigeria, the nominee from Akwa Ibom, Umana Okon Umana, said the free trade zone was a veritable platform to improve the nation’s revenue earnings.
He advised that efforts should be made to improve Nigeria’s production sector for export, which would enable the inflows of foreign exchange .
The nominee from Ebonyi, when asked how he could contribute to youth development, given his youthful age, said there was need to ensure a national re-orientation for the youths, on a get-rich-quick mentality.
According to the 46-year-old nominee, the youths should be encouraged and enabled to seek the numerous opportunities in the country, instead of focusing on government jobs.
On the ASUU strike, he said there was a need for the Federal Government and ASUU to come to the round table, and reach a compromise on workable terms of resolving the strike.
He also said there was a need to provide more budgetary allocation to the education sector.
President of the Senate, in his remarks after the screening and confirmation, congratulated the ministerial designates on their confirmation by the Senate.
Senate thereafter adjourned shortly for a tea break to return to the plenary to pass the votes and proceedings.
I’ll put all arsenals together to make a mark- Ministerial designate
eanwhile, a ministerial designate, Goodluck Opiah, has said that he would put all arsenals together to make a mark in the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
Opiah, who made this known while briefing newsmen in Abuja after his confirmation by the Senate on Wednesday, said that he would do everything within his capacity to create an impact in the cabinet.
“I will do everything using the knowledge I garnered both in the private and public sectors over the years, to add my support to those of my colleagues, members of FEC.
“This is to ensure that we move this country forward with a view to finding solutions to the problems facing our dear country.”
On the short period he would have as a minister to make a mark, the nominee said that “In governance, an hour means forever. And so if I have one week, one month, or one year I think I will put all my arsenals together to leave a mark in wherever I will be.”
Opiah further said that as a former member of the House of Representatives, he was happy to be screened by the senate.
“I feel like been back home as a member of the National Assembly. I have come to meet the old colleagues, most of them staff of the national assembly.
“I feel overwhelmed by the level of cooperation between the House of Representatives and the senate.
“What happened earlier in the Red Chamber is an indication of the serious partnership between the Green and Red chambers.
“That is very commendable. We must do everything within our powers to encourage that partnership to continue to happen. It should be sustained if not deepened.
“I’m very happy to be nominated as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“I thank President Muhammadu Buhari for finding me worthy of this nomination,” he said.
Opiah was a former speaker, Imo House of Assembly and represented Ohaji/Egbema, Oguta, Oru West federal constituency.
He is currently the Commissioner for Petroleum Resources, Imo.
Others confirmed by the Senate included Ikoh Ikechukwu; Abia, Umana Umana; Akwa-Ibom, Ekumankama Nkama; Ebonyi.
Others are Umar El-Yakub; Kano, Ademola Adegoroye; Ondo and Odum Udi; Rivers.