On July 27, President Tinubu forwarded the first group of 28 ministerial nominees to Parliament for approval. A second batch of 19 nominees was sent on August 2, with a few changes, and following eight days of screening, 45 persons received confirmation.
However, former Kaduna State governor Nasir Elrufai, Senator Abubakar Sani Danladi, and Stella Okotete had their confirmations withheld due to security concerns. Senate President Godswill Akpabio stated that these nominations are still awaiting security clearance.
Yemi Adaramadu, the Senate spokesperson, suggested that the Senate may take further action on these three nominees upon further communication from the executive.
A long list of confirmed nominees includes individuals such as Ekperikpe Ekpo, Heineken Lokpobiri, Betta Edu, John Enoh, Abubakar Momoh, Nyesom Wike, Tahir Mamman, and many others.
A contentious debate arose around El-Rufai, with Senator Sunday Karimi presenting a “strong petition” against him. While some senators supported El-Rufai’s competence, others voiced concerns about security, unity, and national cohesion.
A similar controversy emerged during the screening of Abubakar Danladi from Taraba State, who faced allegations that he was barred from holding public office for 10 years by the Supreme Court. He denied this, and the issue was left unresolved pending further study.
A contentious session ensued in the Senate over a motion to suspend the screening of former Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo. Senate Minority Whip, Darlington Nwokocha, accused Keyamo of disrespecting the 9th National Assembly and implied corruption in the disbursement of N52 billion under the Special Public Works programme during Keyamo’s tenure.
Nwokocha proposed the suspension of Keyamo’s screening until an investigation into the fund allocation was completed, a motion seconded by Enyinnaya Abaribe. The motion led to heated arguments among lawmakers, with Senate President Godswill Akpabio struggling to maintain order.
The Senate eventually went into a closed-door session to resolve the issue. After about three hours, Keyamo returned to the screening, apologized to the lawmakers for his past conduct, and explained the payment process of the public works programme, insisting on its transparency.
Following his apology and explanation, Senator Godiya Akwashiki encouraged his colleagues to accept Keyamo’s apology. This led to Senator Ali Ndume moving a motion for the Senate to accept Keyamo’s apology, which was adopted unanimously. Keyamo was then excused without further questions.