National Assembly Resumes Today, DSS Clears 21 Nominees

Uncertainty over principal officers A total of 21 ministerial nominees have been cleared by Department of State Services (DSS), multiple sources told Daily Trust. The clearance by the intelligence agency comes ahead of today’s resumption of the two chambers of the National Assembly from their recess.

It was further gathered that list of the nominees would be transmitted to the Senate for screening and confirmation in line with the 1999 Constitution soon. The presidency had severally pledged to Nigerians that the constitution of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) won’t be delayed this time around. In 2015, it took the president six months to send the list of his ministerial nominees to the Senate.

Security and presidency sources confirmed to Daily Trust that the DSS has cleared a total of 21 of the nominees. A security source, who spoke anonymously, said the vetting is being conducted discreetly in order not to jeopardize or politicize the process. It was gathered that the DSS Department of vetting, headed by a deputy director was in charge of the vetting of the nominees. A source close to the presidency, said so far 21 nominees have been cleared by the DSS from different states. The source said, however,‎ that while there was an official communication by the DSS to the presidency on the clearance of 14 of the nominees, that of seven of them was yet to be officially communicated.

“The screening has been going on since about four weeks ago. Based on what I know, there were no issues with most of the nominees invited by the DSS. I know that 21 of them have been cleared so far. Out of that number, 14 have their clearance communications with the presidency. “But the official communication for seven of them has not reached the presidency yet, although they have been cleared.‎ If you add the two together, that gives you 21 nominees that have been cleared so far,” the source said. Asked about when the National Assembly would get the ministerial list, the source said it would not exceed the next two weeks.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, recently said in an interview that President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet will become a reality in July after the National Assembly resumes from its recess. “They’re still working on some of the names of the nominees from the states. The final list of all the nominees should be ready this week. But I doubt if the Senate will get it this week. It may have to be next week or in the next two weeks,” the source said.

Among those cleared, Daily Trust gathered, were some immediate past ministers. Two of the former ministers have intimated their aides of their clearance, it was gathered. The president had on May 28 dissolved the federal cabinet and but his key aides including the SGF, Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, among others, have continued to discharge their duties without being reappointed.

How DSS is screening nominees It was learnt that a confidential list of candidates was submitted to the DSS. The agency then carried out background checks on each of the candidate. The intelligence agency also requested the candidates to submit curriculum vitae (CV), which it then vetted to confirm if there is conflicting information or false claims. “Sometimes we even send our officers to listed schools and work places to confirm the veracity of the details contained in the CV.

“Often institutions and organizations receive written requests from the Service with enquiries about candidates being vetted,” the source said. It was gathered that weeks ago some of the nominees were individually invited to the headquarters of the DSS for an interview, for face to face verification or clarifications.

Our correspondent further gathered that the DSS had written their findings on some of the nominees to the presidency for necessary action. Uncertainty over principal officers Daily Trust learnt that as the two chambers of the National Assembly resume today, there is still uncertainty as to who gets what with regards to various principal officers. Sources said both the APC and PDP have reached an advanced stage in picking those that would form the principal officers for both majority and minority parties.

But it was learnt there was no final decision yet on both sides. At the Senate, it is not yet clear who will become Senate Leader as Senators Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa) and Yayaha Abdullahi (Kebbi)‎ are said to be considered for the seat. Other positions, namely Senate Chief Whip, Deputy Senate Leader and Deputy Chief Whip are still unclear. As for the PDP leadership in the Senate, the party had settled on Sen Eyinnaya Abaribe (Abia) as Minority Leader, Emmanuel Bwacha (Taraba) as Deputy Minority Leader and Clifford Odia as Deputy Minority Whip. But the party was said to be considering replacing Odia with Sahabi Ya’u from Zamfara State.

Doguwa will be House leader – Oshiomhole In the House of Representatives, the APC National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole ‎announced yesterday that ex-Chief Whip Alhassan Ado Doguwa, being the most ranking member from the Northwest, will be the House Leader.

‎Speaking when a delegation led by the Kano State Deputy Governor, Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna, visited him in Abuja yesterday, Oshiomhole said: “To whom much is given, much is expected. Kano has given us a lot as a party, has given a lot to our president and we must therefore reciprocate. “This is the sentiment that formed the idea of zoning the leadership of the House to Kano and of course, you will also realise that the gentleman who happens to be my namesake as far as my collation goes, is the most senior ranking member in the House of Representatives. “By going with this tradition, people will realise the benefits of loyalty, consistency and of team spirit.

When people learn from that, Nigerian democracy will mature much more. I have no doubt whatsoever.” But Oshiomhole was silent on other principal officers’ positions in the House. A source said‎ a meeting held last night and the names of principal officers of the House may be announced today. He however said

“The list being paraded in media reports and on social media are just speculations, and the APC National Working Committee (NWC) has said so.” The source added that it would be premature to expect the announcement of the names of the principal officers today‎. He, however, explained that underground consultations and lobbying by lawmakers are still ongoing. ‎But a member of the committee, Abubakar Yunusa (APC, Gombe)‎, said: “It’s the intention of 9th Assembly to be mindful of the machinery that brought it in. We have a platform, a political party, which brought us into office.

What the speaker has promised to do in terms of the opposition is a statement of fact.” Another member, Bamidele Salam, (PDP, Osun, said the office and seats were ready as at the time of filling this report. “I want to believe that the resumption on Tuesday is not threatened‎. Mr. Speaker is a man of his words and I believe he will deliver on all the commitments he made during the campaigns.”


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