On Monday next week, the newly nominated ministers will appear before the senate for screening. But people like Seantor John Owan Enoh and the others who have served in the National Assembly before now, will merely take a bow and walk away.
The others, like Chief Nyesom Wike, who have had no history of service either in the state or national legislature, will have to face the senators for some drilling sessions. Hopefully, that is.
One of the nominees that Nigerians will like to listen to is the tough talking Wike. And he would be expected to tell the world if he would accept to be a minister, having vowed before now, that he would never be.
This will be about his integrity and may be the most interesting aspect of the screening; that is if the senators will have the courage to confront Wike with this particular question, or even make any reference to his earlier vow.
For those who may have forgotten, Wike had said in August last year, that he was not interested in and would not accept a ministerial position. He had said “only one person can be a minister from a state, I will not be a minister. I will not.”
The then Rivers State governor spoke in Port Harcourt during the commissioning of the newly constructed VIP lounge at the Port Harcourt International Airport Omagwa.
But his name was on the list of nominees submitted to the National Assembly by the president, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. More than 24 hours after, Wike is yet to reject the offer in line with his earlier vow. Let’s wait and see what plays out on Monday.
But if Wike ends up accepting the offer and he is screened and cleared, and considering his record of performance in Rivers State, which ministry will Tinubu deploy him? Will it be ministry of works where he can have the opportunity to construct flyovers and roads in all states of the country? Can Tinubu surrender this ministry considered to be very rich, to Wike, who is not his party member in flesh and blood?
If Tinubu will find it very easy to fix Wike in one of the ministries, it may not be that easy to decide on where to send Senator John Owan Enoh, a former university teacher, a prominent farmer and sociologist turned finance expert.
Owan Enoh’s experience as university lecturer for about six years and his continued interest in the field of education means he will do well in the federal ministry of education. As a farmer, who owns and manages a very large farm in his state, employing hundreds of people and contributing so much to the GDP of the country, it means he will also do well as minister of agriculture.
But that is not where it ends for him. While serving as member of the House of Representatives, he was deputy chairman of the committee on appropriation. That was where he demonstrated his capacity in the area of fiscal responsibility. It is said that he made very brilliant insight and remarkable contributions to the Fiscal Responsibility Act with emphasis on prompt presentation of annual budgets within the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).
When he returned to the lower chamber of the National Assembly for a second term, he was appointed chairman, committee on finance. It was under his leadership that the committee conducted an investigative hearing on non-remittance of Internally Generated Revenues(IGR) into the consolidated revenue account by government ministries, agencies and statutory corporations. What followed was an inflow of funds in excess of N400 billion into the government coffers. By the time he returned to the House for a third term, he became chairman of the committee on appropriation.
In 2015, Owan Enoh was elected senator to represent the Cross River Central Senatorial District. Again, he was considered worthy to head the senate committee on finance. He headed a joint committee that investigated the financial activities of System Specs, a software provider that charged one per cent for transferring N2.5trillion to the TSA and in effect collected billions of naira as commission. As a result of his committee’s work, the senate slashed the N7.6 billion accrued charges to System Specs, Commercial banks and the Central Bank of Nigeria for transfers to Treasury Single Account. Nigeria became richer. So, will Tinubu consider him to serve in the ministry of finance? This is a puzzle that will be unravelled by Tinubu himself, in the coming days.