A FORMER Managing Director of Nigerian Breweries Limited, Mr. Festus Odimegwu and a former presidential candidate, Prof. Pat Utomi, are among the ministerial nominees that have been screened by the Department of State Service, The PUNCH learnt authoritatively on Sunday.
Those already said to have been screened as nominees for President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet also include a former Governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola; and a Lagos-lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN).
Also on the list are a former Chief of Army, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazu (retd.); an ex-chief executive of the Federal Inland Revenue, Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui-Okaru; a former finance commissioner in Lagos State, Mr. Wale Edun; and a former National Legal Adviser to the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, Abubakar Malami (SAN).
According to PUNCH it was learnt that the screening of the nominees had been concluded on Friday. Buhari had last week at a press briefing in Accra, Ghana, that he would name members of his cabinet this month.
Punch correspondents gathered that some of the nominees had appeared before the DSS.
None of the names on the list however confirmed that they had been screened when our correspondents contacted them on Sunday.
It was gathered that they had been instructed not to leak details of their screening to the media.
‘‘What was done was not physical screening but mainly background checking,” one of the already-screened nominees told one of our correspondents late on Sunday.
Multiple sources within the All Progressives Congress told The Punch on Sunday that Falana was favoured by a camp in the party to emerge as the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation.
A top APC chieftain said the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, had convinced Buhari to appoint Falana.
Tinubu and Osinbajo were said to have told Buhari that appointing Falana, who he jailed over 30 years ago, would boost his image as a ‘converted democrat.’
It was, however, learnt that Malami was being favoured by the President.
A source within the party added power blocs within Falana’s home state, Ekiti, might not be disposed to the choice of the human rights lawyer because he is not a member of the APC.
The APC has three former governors in Ekiti State: Niyi Adebayo, Segun Oni and Kayode Fayemi.
An APC top official said, “Falana has already been screened by the DSS. However, Buhari is closer to Malami who is from the North.”