Anxiety As Saraki Unveils Ministerial Nominees Tuesday | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Anxiety As Saraki Unveils Ministerial Nominees Tuesday

Posted: Oct 5, 2015 at 6:59 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)


*We’ll Reject Incomplete List – Ohabunwa

*Buhari As Petroleum Minister Must Face Screening


By Rotimi Akinwumi, Abuja



Trouble may erupt on the floor of the Senate tomorrow, Tuesday when Senate President Bukola Saraki unveils the ministerial list sent to his office last Thursday by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Indications towards this emerged Monday evening when senators made public insights on how the screening and confirmation would be done.

Senators who spoke on the terms and conditions that would guide the screening at the National Assembly Monday hinted that the upper legislative  chamber would adopt stringent measures in line with the provisions of the Constitution.

Senator Mao Ohuabunwa (PDP-Abia North) stated emphatically that the list is expected to be complete, in line with the Constitution.

He made it clear that any list that does not cover the 36 states of the Federation would be opposed at the Senate.

He also disclosed that the Senate might invite Buhari to the chambers to undergo screening if he insists on holding the office of Petroleum Minister along with his job as the President of the nation.

This he noted is in line with the dictates of the Constitution, which makes it mandatory for anyone intending to hold office as a minister to undergo screening at the Senate.

“Constitution does not support ministers by batches. Every state must be represented but if the number is not complete, some of us may raise constitutional issues. Else, if we have to wait for another three months for him to send another list comprising representatives of other states, it means those states would be non-functional,” he said.

Speaking on reports that the President might want to be the Minister of Petroleum, the lawmaker said: “He can supervise ministries but cannot be a minister because if he is, he must be screened and approved by the Senate”.

Nominees who have petitions against their candidature will not be waved away, he disclosed, especially those who have cases with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

According to him, since the present administration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) would want to be remembered for curbing corruption, it would be a contrast to overlook any case of corruption levelled against any nominee.

“This government wants to be remembered for fighting corruption and it will be against the Senate to see a strong petition about corruption and ignore it.

“Even if it means writing the EFCC or Independent Corrupt Practices Commission to give us report, we will do so,” the senator said.

On the issue of usual style of asking nominees to take a bow and go, Ohuabunwa said it was assumed that the Senate would be guided by the Constitution and the rule of the Senate.

“We have resolved to be stringent. Whosoever would be coming should be someone who has a track record. However, being a former lawmaker shows you are qualified but you will still be expected to answer some questions,” he said.

He added that Senators or governors may not have input into the nomination, the screening would nevertheless be done in accordance with the laws of the federation.

Chairman of the Senate ad hoc committee on publicity, Dino Melaye, had disclosed last week that the screening of ministerial nominees would not be business as usual.

Melaye said: “In our screening of ministers, it will not be business as usual. The era of ‘take a bow and go’ are over.

“The right people will be made ministers without any political or religious affiliation.”