November 20, 2008

Budget '09 still hangs, Senate to screen 13 ministers

PRESIDENT Umaru Yar'Adua will not present the 2009 budget to the National Assembly today as earlier scheduled. The earliest the budget may be presented to the National Assembly is next week.

But the President yesterday submitted names of 13 ministerial nominees to the Senate for screening and confirmation.

The shift in the date of presentation of the budget was at the instance of the leadership of the National Assembly. It cited the need for more consultations between the Executive and the Legislative arms of government on details of the budget proposals.

A source said that there was a need for the harmonisation of areas of disagreement between both arms of government in order to ensure an easier passage of the Appropriation Bill when it comes to the national legislature.

The Presidency had earlier moved today's Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting to 2.00 p.m. in order to present the budget proposals to the National Assembly. With the change, the Council resumes today's sitting at its usual time of 10.00 a.m.

A source said: "It is not that the budget is not ready. Everything about the budget is ready for presentation. But the National Assembly is not ready. And we have to wait until they are ready to receive the President. We expect a new date to come from the leadership of the National Assembly."

Special Adviser to the President, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, had last Sunday told journalists that the President would present the budget estimates this week. He, however, stated that the actual date for its presentation would be decided by the National Assembly leadership.

Quoting Section 147(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, Yar'Adua in a letter read by Senate President David Mark named as his nominees Prof. Dora Akunyili from Anambra State; Senator Ibrahim Kazaure, Jigawa; Dr. Rilwanu Lukman, Kaduna; Dr. Ibrahim. Y. Lame, Bauchi; Dr. Shettima Mustapha, Borno; and Dr. Sam Egwu, Ebonyi.

Others are Mr. Nuhu Somo Way, Kaduna; Mr. Ibrahim Isa Bio, Kwara, Mr. Sani Mohammed Ndanusa, Niger; Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, Ogun; Senator Bello Jibril Gada, Sokoto; Alhaji Jibril Maigari, Yobe and Alhaji Ikra Aliyu Bilbis, Zamfara.

Yar'Adua wrote: "It is my hope that this exercise will receive the usual kind expeditious consideration of the distinguished members of the Senate of the Federal Republic."

The President also told the lawmakers in another letter that he would be in the National Assembly to present the 2009 Appropriation Bill.

He wrote: "I crave the indulgence of the National Assembly to grant me the slot of 12:00 noon, Wednesday, November 19, 2008, to formally address the joint session of the National Assembly on Budget 2009.

"While I thank the distinguished members of the Senate of the Federal Republic for the constancy of your co-operation and understanding, please accept, distinguished Senate President, the assurance of my highest consideration.

The ministerial nominees and their profiles are:

Prof. Dora Nkem Akunyili: Current Director-General, National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration (NAFDAC). Born on July 14, 1954, she holds a 1985 Ph.D. from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where she was Senior Lecturer before her appointment to NAFDAC. Prof. Akunyili is a Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of London, Fellow of the West African Post-Graduate College of Pharmacists, holds a Certificate on Senior Management Skills from Royal Institute of Public Administration, London, and is currently Chairman, West African Drug Regulatory Agencies Network and Vice Chairman, International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force. A member of numerous international professional organisations, she has received over 540 awards and recognitions, including from Transparency International, Time Magazine New York, International Chamber of Commerce, the International Pharmaceutical Federation, and holds National Honour of the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, OFR. She became a professor in 2000.

Dr. Rilwanu Lukman: Currently Honorary Adviser on Petroleum to the President, Dr. Lukman was born on August 26, 1938. Trained at the Royal School of Mines, University of London, he has also attended the Institute of Prospecting and Mineral Deposits, University of Mining and Mineral Exploration, Austria, and McGill University, Canada. He was OPEC President for eight consecutive times, and later served as Secretary-General of the Organisation for two terms. His international awards and recognitions include honorary degrees from Italy, USA, Knight of the British Empire, Officer of the Legion d'Honneur, France, Order of Liberator, First Class, Venezuela, as well as doctorate degrees from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, University of Maiduguri and University of Benin. He also holds the national honour, CFR.

Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin: Currently Director-General, National Agency for the Control of AIDS, he was born on February 6, 1949, and attended University of Ibadan, University of Birmingham, Cornell University Medical School, New York and Harvard Centre for Population Studies. A member of the Royal College of Physicians, Fellow of the Post-graduate Medical College of Pathology, Fellow of the West African Post-graduate Medical College and Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London, Prof. Osotimehin is also member of numerous other professional bodies. He has been a consultant to the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, UNFPA and has published over 60 papers.

Dr. Sam Ominyi Egwu, former Governor of Ebonyi State, was born on June 20, 1954. He holds a doctorate degree in agronomy from the Enugu State University of Science and Technology and was Commissioner for Education in Ebonyi State. He was also Head of Department of Crop Science, ESUT; Chairman, University Staff School Management Board, among many other positions. He has published over 10 papers and has 30 awards and 21 traditional titles.

Alhaji Ibrahim Isa Bio: Currently, the Speaker, Kwara State House of Assembly. Bio was born on April 24, 1957 and holds a Pharmacy degree from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria and an MBA from Ogun State University. He was a member of the House of Representatives from 1999 to 2003. A two-term member of the State House of Assembly, Bio was the state Commissioner for Health between 1990 and 1992. He is a member and Fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) as well as Commonwealth Parliamentary Association of Nigeria (CPA).

Dr. Shettima Mustapha, former Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, was born on November 26, 1939, and holds a 1979 doctorate in plant breeding/agronomy from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria. A Fellow of the Genetic Society of Nigeria and member of the American Society of Agronomy as well as the Agricultural Society of Nigeria, Dr. Mustapha has many publications and has the national honours of CON and OFR. He has been a consultant to the FAO, IFAD and UNDP. A consummate politician, Dr. Mustapha has participated in the formation of several political parties, including NPP/GNPP, PSP/SDP, APA, UNCP and the PDP. He was the pioneer National Treasurer of the PDP, a position he held between 1998 and 2001.

Dr. Ibrahim Yakubu Lame, B.Sc Political Science, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria and Ph.D. higher education administration, Ohio University, Athens, USA, was born on February 10, 1953. An educationist of outstanding quality, he had been the Assistant Registrar of Bauchi College of Arts and Science, Bauchi State, in 1978 and rose to become the college's principal in 1984. He was Commissioner for Education between 1985 and 1987. Dr. Lame was elected senator in 1992. He was the PDP pioneer deputy national secretary in 1998, a position he held until he was appointed Senior Special Assistant to President Olusegun Obasanjo in August 1999.

Alhaji Ikra Aliyu Bilbis was born on February 13, 1957 and holds an advanced diploma in Public Administration. He was member, House of Representatives (1992-93). He was for a brief period, January 10 - May 29, 2007, Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Environment, Housing and Urban Development, 2007. Shortly before then, he had been the National Chairman of the Accord Party of Nigeria (May-November, 2006). Bilbis was also a two-term Chairman, Tsafe Local Government Council, Zamfara State (1997-2001 and has been a member of the Board of Trustees of ALGON since 2001.

Alhaji Sani Mohammed Ndanusa was born on May 5, 1957 and holds a master's of science degree in waste and waste water engineering from Louhborough University of Technology, UK. Ndanusa has extensive civil service experience that spans over two decades. He served as General Manager, Niger State Water Board between 1999 and 2001 from where he became a permanent secretary in charge of the board. He is presently the state Commissioner for Transportation and Infrastructural Development.

Nuhu Somo Wya was born on July 15, 1952, holds a master's degree in architecture from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria. He worked briefly with the Kaduna Polytechnic from 1978 to 1981 before going into private practice. Currently the chairman/chief executive officer of Cibi Nigeria Limited, a Kaduna-based indigenous granite quarrying and processing company, Wya is a member of many business organisations including the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and NACCIMA.

Senator Ibrahim Musa Kazaure was born on November 12, 1954 and holds a national diploma in building and civil engineering. He was Commissioner for Health in Kano State in 1983. He was elected senator in 1992 and served as the Majority Whip. He was Chairman, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (2000-2004) and thereafter served as Ambassador of Nigeria to Saudi Arabia with concurrent accreditation to Oman, Yemen and Qatar from 2003 to 2007. Within that period, he was also Nigeria's Permanent Representative to OIC Mission in Jeddah Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Alhaji Jibril Maigari: Born in 1958 he holds a higher national diploma in public administration and has held senior positions in the State Ministry of Agriculture.

Senator Bello Jibril Gada: Born in 1954, Gada attended Bayero University, Kano and Ahmadu Belo University Zaria. He was in the Senate between 1999 and 2003 on the platform of All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) representing Sokoto East Senatorial District. guardian online

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