UPDATE: How Senate confirmed Shekarau, other ministers

Minister of Education, Ibrahim Shekarau

Mr. Shekarau said most politicians’ defections are not based on selfish interests.

The Senate on Wednesday in Abuja confirmed the former Kano State Governor, Ibrahim Shekarau, and three other nominees for ministerial positions.

The confirmation followed the screening of the nominees by members of the Senate.

Mr. Shekarau, while answering questions, said that the reason why most politicians defected to other political parties was not usually based on selfish reasons or personal interests. He said most defections were due to circumstances or political developments around the environment at a particular time.

The former governor told the Senate that unemployment had continued to be a problem in the country because of the current education curriculum in the country.

He expressed the view that the 6-3-3-4 system of education remained the best system for Nigeria because it provided an avenue for students to acquire skills that would enable them to be self-employed.

Mr. Shekarau stressed the need for the industrial sector to be revived, saying the sector could offer employment to thousands of Nigerians “but not without first fixing the power sector.”

“The industrial sector needs a huge boost to address the unemployment problem in the country. The textile industry also needs to be revived because the decline in textile manufacturing is a major cause of unemployment, especially in the northern part of the country,” he said.

Abdu Bulama, another nominee, while answering a question on whether or not Nigeria should adopt electronic voting, said that although electronic voting was a reliable voting system, the country should not rush into it.

According to Mr. Bulama, electronic voting should be done in stages and on experimental basis and should start with by-elections or with council elections to see how it works.

“I will not be comfortable if we go all out now to use the device during the general elections because even the most advanced democracies still have challenges with electronic voting,” he said.

Adedayo Adeyeye, another ministerial nominee, told the Senate that insulation of judges from politics was not completely possible in Nigeria because it was not obtainable even in the most advanced democracies like America.

He said, “Insulation of judges from politics, I am yet to see a nation where that has been successful, not even America. I think the most important thing is to choose people who have proven integrity to the bench.”

Mr. Adeyeye then stressed the need for the Federal Government to give states some latitude to operate according to their peculiar cultural differences.

He said, “We believe in unity but I know that unity does not mean uniformity. States should be given a little room to take care of their cultural differences”

Stephen Oru from Delta, another nominee, said there was the need for polytechnic and university graduates to be treated in the same manner without any form of discrimination.

The Senate President, David Mark, who presided over the screening, asked the question as to whether it was the wish of the senate to confirm the nominees and the senators unanimously agreed.

Mr. Mark, however, expressed the hope that when they were eventually given portfolios, they would see the whole Nigeria as their constituency and not cling to their political parties or states of origin.

He said, “Coincidentally, all of them appear to have a background in education except Adeyeye who is a lawyer. The important thing is that irrespective of where they are deployed to, they should be able to contribute their quota when they are eventually given portfolios.”


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