Chris Steven, Abuja
The petition by some stakeholders from Sokoto state against the nomination of Aisha Abubakar as a minister in the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has triggered protest in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja as such petition was described as unfortunate and an affront on women folks.
Senator Ibrahim Gobir had submitted the petition which he said came from stakeholders from Sokoto State to the effect that the nominee should be dropped from the list and be replaced with a ‘more competent person’ from the state.
However, in a protest against the petition, a group, Concerned Stakeholders for Good Governance (CSGG) argued that there was no basis for the petition, especially as the nominee is qualified for a ministerial appointment.
Their protest came barely 24-hours after entrepreneurs in the country faulted the petition and commended President Muhammadu Buhari over the appointment of the nominee who they went further to describe as a proven international development-driven expert.
Speaking in Abuja at the weekend, President of CSGG, Emmanuel Ojembe observed that there is already disenchantment from women against the petition, owing to the few number of females appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He stated that there was no way anyone would convince Nigerians that the president settled for who he was not convinced would assist him deliver his campaign promises for an appointment into his cabinet.
Ojembe wondered how a nominee who serves as Director, Corporate Services at the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) and who had worked as Managing Director/CEO of Abuja Enterprise Agency as well as chairman of Kwali Microfinance Bank could be said to be incompetent.
He alleged that those opposed to her nomination were simply not comfortable that a woman was appointed from the state.
The President further insisted that it was time for those who seek political compensation to know that it is no longer business as usual in terms of appointments in the country.
According to him, it was rather such international development-driven experts like Aisha Abubakar that should be fished out and called to come and help in repositioning the country at this crucial time.
“It is our belief, as a group, that the Senate is knowledgeable enough to know who is competent or not and not portfolio stakeholders who may have positioned themselves for political offices and were angry that the president disappointed them,” he said.
He went further to say, “Let those who said the nominee is not qualified come out and say what parameters they used in measuring the competence. They should be told that their rather frivolous petition is not needed to distract the respected lawmakers at this time.
“We are afraid to say that these people seemed to be suggesting that the Senators are, in themselves, incompetent to read through a curriculum vitae and spot competence in a nominee.
“Perhaps, they need to be told that Aisha Abubakar was a senior bilateral cooperation officer at African Development Bank where she was responsible for channeling bilateral and concessional resources to the Bank’s operational departments for project implementation
“Maybe they also need to know that the nominee was responsible for promoting, negotiating and administering cooperation agreements between the bank and external donor agencies for the facilitation of pre-investment studies.
“In terms of educational qualification, we want to put the petitioners on notice that Aisha Abubakar studied both history and international studies and development studies from the University Of Warwick, and the University of Leeds
“Our advice to them is that they should exercise patience as future appointments could be in their favour and not try to pull a nominee down without provocation
“We wish to advise that Nigerian should join hands with Mr. President to achieve the change philosophy of the present administration. This time presents an opportunity which Nigerians cannot afford to miss.”
Meanwhile, speaking on Aisha Abubakar’s appointment, Folashade Williams who spoke on behalf of the entrepreneurs said that President Buhari showed great commitment towards repositioning the country by the appointment.
Folashade noted that apart from exhibiting confidence in women, the president had nominated a candidate with an intense desire to serve the country and contribute her quota to the development of its natural resources.
She described the nominee as possessing the ability to establish priorities, plan, coordinate and monitor own work.
According to her, the nominee is a progressive that is needed to actualize the goal of improving all sectors of the country.