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Ministerial List: I hope Ambode Wasn’t Used and Dumped – Tanko Yakasai

Elder statesman, Tanko Yakasai, speaks on the new ministerial nominees and how their ongoing screening by the Senate. Excerpt…

Tanko Yakasai: President Muhammadu Buhari's delay in submitting the ministerial list is not justified / Photo credit: rumbunilimi.com
Tanko Yakasai: President Muhammadu Buhari's delay in submitting the ministerial list is not justified / Photo credit: rumbunilimi.com

The president has nominated nine people from the northwest and only six from the southeast to fill his cabinet. Do you see that as being fair?

Well, the constitutional requirement is one from each zone. The southeast has five states. So, they have been given one extra.

The northwest as seven states and have two extra. I don’t know why he did it, but so each zone has been given one allotment,

I think it is alright.

What I said is that some of the nominees are perceived to be fantastically corrupt. And I said that will make mockery of his anti-corruption campaign. I stand by that position. If he is fighting corruption, he should not be seen to be encouraging people who are perceived to be corrupt instead of taking them to court

You have described some of the nominees as corrupt. Are you willing to name those you have in mind and will you encourage the senate to reject them?

Did you read my statement? What I said is that some of the nominees are perceived to be fantastically corrupt.

And I said that will make mockery of his anti-corruption campaign. I stand by that position.

If he is fighting corruption, he should not be seen to be encouraging people who are perceived to be corrupt instead of taking them to court.

Are you ready to name them?

They know themselves. I don’t need to explain anything.

And I think most people have a fair idea of what I have in mind. Now, senators are elected, I am not elected.

It is up to them to discharge their responsibilities according to their conscience. I don’t want to dictate to them.

Nigerians have been reacting on social media. The two nominees from Kano are close to 70 or over 70 years old. Overall, there is virtually no young person in the 43 people nominated. Has the president been fair to young people?

I am the wrong person to discuss this issue with. I am 93. By December, I will be 94. If you think that older people should be discarded, really, I would be the wrong person to discuss it.

So, you are telling me I am useless. By your mindset, I have no use because of my age. I know what you are asking. I don’t determine people by their age, I determine people by their capacity, what they can do and what they cannot do.

Given the number of returnees, I do not expect any big change in the policies of government in the new dispensation

Ahead of the elections, there was a push to get then governor of Lagos, Akinwunmi Ambode to step down for the present governor. There were speculations he was promised a ministerial position. Were you surprised when his name did not come up on the list?

I heard that rumour. When his name did not appear, I was surprised. I hope he was not used and dumped.

Are you hopeful that the nominees will perform better that the previous set of ministers?

In my statement, I said, given the number of returnees, I do not expect any big change in the policies of government in the new dispensation.

The last point I want to emphasise is that given the fact that all the nominees were known to the president for many years, I feel his delay in submitting the list is not justified.

He had to submit the list because the senators were going on recess. If they hadn’t told him that may be by now, he would not have submitted the list to them. And I don’t know what his reason for that.

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