President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua may have dropped the controversial Delta State ministerial nominee, Chief Peter Orubebe.
He was asked out of the Executive Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja yesterday just before the inauguration of four new ministers by Yar’Adua.
Orubebe was to be inaugurated along with the other four new ministers whose nominations were ratified by the Senate last week.
His political godfather, Chief Edwin Clark, was also asked to leave the chambers by security operatives during the recitation of the national pledge.
No official explanation was given as to what prompted his exclusion from taking the oath even though he had scaled the screening hurdle at the Senate.
THISDAY gathered last night that the controversial Delta State ministerial nominee was dropped following a negative security report.
ut another source, however, said Orubebe was not dropped as minister but that his nomination was suspended to allow for more consultation on his appointment.
hose who scaled the hurdle and were sworn in by President Yar’Adua were Chuka Julius Odom from Abia State, representing the Peoples Progressive Alliance; Ademola Rasaq Seriki, Peoples Democratic Party candidate to fill Lagos State second ministerial slot; Felix Hassan Hyat, PDP, Kaduna and Zago Hassan, PDP Taraba State.
erforming the swearing-in ceremony, the President charged the new ministers to provide selfless services to the nation as their nomination to serve in the government was a golden opportunity for them to prove their worth.
e said their participation in his government was also an avenue for them to demonstrate their uprightness and loyalty to their fatherland.
Prior to the commencement of the meeting, a minute silence was observed for the repose of the souls of late Eaglets’ coach, Mr.Yemi Tella, and House of Representatives member from Katsina State, Hon. Aminu Safana, who died last week in the fracas rocking the lower legislative chambers over the N529 million renovation contract.
Orubebe was nominated and cleared by the Senate to represent the South-south zone.
His nomination appeared to have enjoyed the support of the Vice-president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
Speaking with State House correspondents yesterday, Clark said there was nothing to fear over the dropping of Orubebe.
He alleged that few powerful individuals in Delta State were responsible for what happened to Orubebe.
It was learnt that the President had asked those powering Orubebe’s nomination to reach out to those opposed to the nomination.
Orubebe was said not to have done enough to win over those opposed to him.
The Delta State Government and some powerful forces in the state had opposed Orubebe’s nomination, saying he had earlier worked against the party.
But despite the opposition, the Senate nevertheless cleared Orubebe last week.
Orubebe had during the Senate screening apologised to those he had offended, saying he had extended the olive branch to the Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, a development that drew the sympathy of many of his friends and foes alike in the Senate.
Clark specifically fingered the immediate past governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, for being responsible for Orubebe’s travails.
Ibori had recently returned to the country from his trip abroad and sources said he came back partly to quickly drive the opposition against Orubebe’s appointment.
Orubebe was one of those who challenged Ibori’s re-election in court in 2003 and has also been mentioned as one of the persons behind the present travails of the former governor.
Meanwhile, President Yar’Adua has given portfolios to the four new ministers as follows: Ademola Rasaq Seriki -Minister of State (II), Agriculture; Dr. Alhassan Bako Zaku -Minister of State, Science & Technology; Felix Hassan Hyat -Minister of State, Transportation and Julius Chuka Odom – Minister of State, Housing & Environment.