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Obasanjo’s ministerial nominee fumbles before Senate

Posted by By BASHIR UMAR, Abuja on 2005/05/24 | Views: 1033 |

Obasanjo’s ministerial nominee fumbles before Senate


Ambassador Bayo Yusuf, one of the two ministerial nominees who appeared before the Senate for confirmation Wednesday, wobbled and fumbled, as he could not answer the questions posed to him.

Ambassador Bayo Yusuf, one of the two ministerial nominees who appeared before the Senate for confirmation Wednesday, wobbled and fumbled, as he could not answer the questions posed to him.

Looking jittery and panicky while facing the entire membership of the Senate from the dock beside the Senate President, Bayo 59, was not only unable to answer the questions asked but also worsened his case by muttering irrelevant utterances.

An economist by training, the ambassador did not know the meaning of the acronym NEEDS, which stands for National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy, President Obasanjo’s current pet project of alleviating the suffering of Nigerians.

Asked by Senator Lawali Sa’idu to "define the economic measures by the president and its possible effects on Nigerians," the ministerial candidate said ‘well need (NEEDS) is different from want," igniting a thunderous booing "wo!!!" "woo," from the Senators.

He also failed to differentiate between "equity" and "capitalisation" when asked to comment on the on going N25 billion capital base by all banks in Nigeria. He simply went into another theory relating to investment by saying "we are too much in a hurry to enrich ourselves. If any Nigerian invests two naira in the morning, he expects to get N200 in the evening."

On his view about discipline in Nigeria as compared to Togo where he served as ambassador, Bayo Yusuf told the Senate: "there is absolute discipline in Togo, because they apply heavy sanction on any act of discipline, but in Nigeria discipline is nil."

On why he thinks the Nigerian refineries are dead while Nigeria continues to import refined petroleum for local consumption, his response was "I don’t have knowledge of what is going on in NNPC, but I know that we have local refineries that are working, but not producing sufficient oil."
Asked to state what he can possibly do to rescue NEPA in case he is appointed minister of power and steel, Ambassador Yusuf’s response was "as it is, power is generated from Kainji and some oil companies and they can be improved."

At this juncture, the members of the Senate's disappointment turned to annoyance and they shouted out "Bow and go,"… "Bow and go"… "Bow and go."
The Senate President, Ken Nnamani later ordered Ambassador Yusuf to be taken away.
Debating the issue, all but Senator Jibril Aminu condemned the nominee as unqualified for an exalted position of minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Senator Aminu’s reason for supporting Yusuf's nomination was "to give him the benefit of the doubt so that he could learn on the job."

But Senator Baba Kaila’s response to this was that Yusuf’s performance is "irreparably low and he can't learn anything on the job when the administration has only two years to go."
Senator Idris Ibrahim also expressed dismay that "the candidate who hails from Ondo State, home of learning, can be so shallow with the common trends of his chosen discipline, not to talk of administering the affairs of others."

Senator Ugochukwu Uba said "if an ambassador and prospective minister cannot answer simple questions on the tenets of his people and country, it will be a waste of time and resources for us to consider him.
Senator Sani Kamba submitted that if the man (nominee) "has condemned the entire country [Nigeria) as undisciplined and chose Togo as better, let him go back to Togo and take a job."
The Senate unanimously disqualified Ambassador Yusuf and confirmed Chinwe Nora Obaji (54), a teacher, animal scientist and PDP member who hails from Imo State.

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