54 days after inauguration, 21 govs work without commissioners

No fewer than 21 out of 28 states across the country have yet to swear in their commissioners, findings by Saturday PUNCH have revealed.

According to the constitution, state governors have until July 27 to send the list of their commissioners to their various Houses of Assembly, whose confirmation they must get before their swearing-in.

However, with barely six days to the stipulated date, only seven states have sworn in their commissioners since the governors’ 2023 inauguration.

On May 29, 2023, more than a dozen governorship candidates who emerged winners in the March 18 governorship elections and April 15 reruns took their oaths of office.

Out of 36 states, 28 inaugurated their governors, which consist of 18 newbies and 10 returning governors.

Findings by Saturday PUNCH revealed that Abia, Delta, Ebonyi, Jigawa, Kano, Rivers and Taraba states had sworn in their commissioners after their lists were sent to and confirmed by the state Houses of Assembly.

The 21 states yet to swear in their commissioners are: Benue, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau, Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, and Yobe states.

Others include Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Enugu, Akwa Ibom and Cross River statesThere are 10 returnee governors: Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos); Dapo Abiodun (Ogun); Babagana Zulum (Borno); Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe); Bala Mohammed (Bauchi); AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq (Kwara); Seyi Makinde (Oyo); Abdullahi Sule (Niger); Ahmadu Fintiri (Adamawa), and Mai Buni (Yobe).

Out of these governors, Fintiri has sworn in only one commissioner, Afraimu Jingi (Commissioner for Justice) since his second term kicked off.

Meanwhile, lawmakers across party lines said that they were in the dark over the whereabouts of the list of ministerial nominees by President Bola Tinubu.

The lawmaker in separate interviews said they were unaware of what stage the ministerial list was, and did not have any information on the names of those embedded in the letter.

President Bola Tinubu’s administration was inaugurated on May 29 when the former President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) handed over the mantle of leadership to him.

The 1999 Constitution, as amended, gives the President a minimum of 60 days to constitute his cabinet out of which Tinubu has about eight days left to unveil his ministers.

The PUNCH had reported that the presidential spokesman, Dele Alake, recently said that it was only President Tinubu that could decide when to submit the list of the nominees to the National Assembly as well as those to make the list.

Alake further noted that the President would not miss the 60 days window.

Determined to meet the deadline, it was gathered that the President had forwarded the names of some individuals to security agencies for clearance, but top sources said their clearance might not be an indication that they would make the list when the nominees would be eventually presented to the Senate for screening.

According to sources, the list containing the ministerial nominees was delayed due to security checks by the Department of State Services to allow for proper scrutiny.

Although the list of ministerial nominees has yet to be made public, notable former governors, including Nyesom Wike, Atiku Bagudu, and Aminu Masari are rumoured to be among the nominees.

Responding to issues bordering on the ministerial list, Senator Victor Umeh, (Labour Party, Anambra Central) said he was not aware of the stage of the ministerial list.

He also debunked stories claiming that the Senate, during an executive session, discussed the ministerial list.

He said, “I don’t know anything about the list. I am not speaking to you as an authority because I am not a spokesperson but I am not aware of the arrival of the list to the Senate.

“The Senate’s closed-door meeting has nothing to do with the ministerial list as reported; rather it was due to other issues. The report of the Senate discussing ministerial list in a closed-door session is fake and misleading.”

Also, an APC lawmaker in the South-West, who begged for anonymity, said that he could not tell at what junction the ministerial list was but he was certain that the Senate would accommodate it whenever it got delivered here.

The Senator said, “I don’t know anything about the list. It may get here towards the end of the month. But sincerely I know nothing about it and since I don’t have an interest in it, there is nothing to be eager about. Whenever the list gets here, the Senate would consider and screen them.”

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