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Drama in the Senate: Festus Keyamo’s Ministerial Screening Sparks Firestorm

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ABUJA, Nigeria – Chaos erupted in the Nigerian Senate on Monday, August 7, 2023, during the screening of Festus Keyamo, SAN, the last nominee of President Bola Tinubu to appear before the upper chamber.

The trouble began when, following Keyamo’s presentation, Senator Darlington Nwokocha moved a motion to step down Keyamo due to his previous refusal to appear before the 9th National Assembly to answer questions regarding his activities as the then Minister of State for Labour and Employment.

This motion was seconded by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, and Senate President Godswill Akpabio put the question to the senators.

However, tensions quickly escalated as multiple senators began to speak simultaneously, causing a breakdown in decorum and order.

Senate President Akpabio exerted considerable effort to restore calm to the chamber, after which the Senate decided to suspend Keyamo’s screening and enter a closed, or Executive, session to discuss the matter further.

This incident has cast a cloud over the usually routine process of nominee screenings, and it remains to be seen what the outcome of the Executive session will be for Keyamo’s nomination.

Tinubu Replaces Kano’s Maryam Shetty in Ministerial Nominee List, Adds Keyamo for Delta

President Bola Tinubu unveiled a significant cabinet reshuffle on Friday, August 3, 2023, nominating Festus Keyamo, a former Minister of State for Labour and Employment.

In a surprising move, the President also withdrew the ministerial nomination of Maryam Shetty from Kano, replacing her with Dr Mairiga Mahmud.

The announcement was made in a formal letter addressed to Senate President Godswill Akpabio and was read during the Senate’s plenary session.

The letter detailed the President’s decision to introduce these changes, signifying a potential shift in the administration’s policy approach.

The nomination of Mr. Keyamo, a well-known legal practitioner and political figure, indicates President Tinubu’s desire to draw on experienced and established individuals within his government.

Mr. Keyamo has previously served the country in various capacities and is considered a strong advocate for labor rights.

On the other hand, the withdrawal of Ms. Shetty’s nomination and her replacement with Dr. Mahmud, whose background and qualifications have yet to be fully detailed, has sparked discussions and speculations across political circles.

The reasons behind this sudden replacement remain unclear, leaving analysts and pundits to ponder the underlying motives.

President Tinubu’s administration has been working on implementing various reforms and policy initiatives.

The reshuffle may reflect an attempt to bolster these efforts, leveraging the expertise and political acumen of the nominated individuals.

In his letter to the Senate, President Tinubu did not elaborate on the reasons behind the changes, leaving room for interpretation and analysis by political experts.

The Senate is expected to deliberate on the nominations in the coming days, and the confirmation process will likely attract significant attention, given the prominence of the individuals involved and the unexpected nature of the changes.

These nominations come at a critical time for Nigeria, as the country faces complex challenges on several fronts, from economic recovery to ongoing security issues.

The reshuffle may be seen as a strategic move by President Tinubu to strengthen his administration’s ability to navigate these challenges effectively.

In the meantime, political observers will be keenly watching the developments, analyzing the potential impact of these nominations on the country’s political landscape, and awaiting further details from the administration on the vision and direction behind these significant changes.

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