THERE was division in the Senate on Tuesday, August 1, over the screening of former governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El Rufai, for a ministerial position following his nomination by President Bola Tinubu.
A high level of insecurity was recorded in Kaduna State during El Rufai’s tenure as governor. If confirmed by the Senate, he will be heading a ministry for the second time as he was minister of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
After El Rufai’s presented his profile to the upper legislative house, Senate President Godwin Akpabio opened the floor for questions, leading to a division among the senators. While some senators believed the former Kaduna governor should take his bow and leave, others, including Senator AbdulAziz Yari representing Zamfara West and Senator Karimi Sunday from Kogi West, chose to quiz him.
Karimi Sunday questioned his handling of security challenges in Kaduna and also submitted a petition, wrapped in a brown envelope, to the Deputy Senate President Barau Jibrin, who briefly presided over the senate during the questioning.
Yari, a former governor of Zamfara State, asked El Rufai three questions bordering on energy, power and electricity.
However, the Kaduna North senator, Ibrahim Khalid argued that El Rufai has proven his ability and strength and should be allowed to take a bow and leave without answering the questions asked by his colleagues.
He also said that the Senate should approve his nomination, stating that the people of Kaduna and the three representing senators have resolved and agreed to support his nomination.
He said: “I wish to inform the senate that the three senators of Kaduna state in consultation with the people of Kaduna across the political divide have resolved and agreed that we should support the nomination of this very important nominee (El Rufai). He’s well known nationally and internationally and has the capacity to continue with the good deed he has been doing when he was a minister.
“In this regard, I want to urge the senate to consider this and also based on the established precedence since yesterday in respect of his colleagues, the two governors who came and appeared before us-nobody asked them questions because of their pedigree, they were asked to take a bow and go.
“We therefore asked the senate, even with the questions that were asked, to do ask the nominee to take a bow and go. We know him and know he’s capable.”
Also, Senator Sani Musa of Niger State applauded the nominee and urged the Senate to allow him to take a bow and leave, stressing that other things can be determined during the confirmation stage.
Meanwhile, while attempting to answer questions on insecurity in Kaduna State after addressing queries on power and energy, El Rufai was interrupted by the Senate President who had just returned to the hall.
An official of the Senate standing by the nominee switched off his microphone, while Akpabio said the Senate will look into the petition submitted against him together with other petitions submitted against some other nominees.
The ICIR on July 27, reported that President Bola Tinubu nominated 28 persons for screening and confirmation as ministers by the 10th Senate.
Tinubu sent the list containing the nominees to the Senate through his Chief of Staff, Femi Gbajabiamila, on Thursday, July 27.
Among the nominees are former governors Nyesom Wike (Rivers); David Umahi (Ebonyi); Nasri El Rufai (Kaduna); and Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa).