Senators Protest Against Secrecy About Ministerial List | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Senators Protest Against Secrecy About Ministerial List

Posted: Sep 30, 2015 at 5:28 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)
Attn News Editor
Rotimi Akinwumi
Attempts to raise opposition against President Muhammadu Buhari over the secrecy and inconsistencies surrounding the alleged drafting and submission of ministerial list to the Senate was thwarted by President of the Senate, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, yesterday.
News went viral on Tuesday that the list of the nominees have been submitted to the office of the Senate president by the Special Assistant to the President on Senate Matters, Senator Ita Enang and that the list will be read on the floor yesterday.
However, with nothing of such happening at yesterday plenary, Senators who had hoped to get a glimpse of the list could not contain their angers.
In bringing the issue to limelight,  Senate minority leader,Godswill Akpabio, on behalf of all Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senators, raised a motion, citing section 14 ?of the Senate standing rule which dealt with matters of privileges of Senate and Senators, drawing the attention of the Upper legislative Chamber to the fact that the failure to submit the list as promised had put the Senate under unnecessary pressure.
He sought to have condemnation rained on the presidency for the anomaly.
Meanwhile, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu confirmed to leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday at the party’s secretariat that the news of the submission of the list to the Senate was a fluke, saying that as at yesterday morning, nothing of such existed in the senate.
At yesterday sitting,  Akpabio said that the fact that President Buhari had repeatedly stressed his readiness to submit the list of min?isterial nominees before the end of September had put the Senate and Senators under pressure arguing that  Nigerians had been made to believe that the Senate was delaying the confirmation of the nominees.
He asked the Senate President to openly disclose to Nigerians whether or not the list had been sent to him by President Buhari and he (Saraki) was hoarding it.
?But before the Senate President could respond, the Senate deputy majority leader, Ibn Na’Allah, swiftly rose in defence of President Buhari pointing out that although the President had promised to submit his list in September, it was still too early to condemn him because September 30th which was yesterday, the last day of September would only end by 12.00 midnight adding that the doors of the Senate were opened till that time.
?Saraki then upheld Na’Allah’s submission and ruled Akpabio out of order saying:
“Thank you the Leader of the Senate. I am sure the Minority Leader is well satisfied with your explanation. So, I have to graciously rule my Minority Leader out of order” he said.
Efforts to get official confirmation on the status of the ministerial list was not successful as Senator Ita Enang, was unwilling to comment on the issue when he was asked to confirm if the list had been submitted to the Senate President or not.
Asked for his comments on the controversy generated by the so called ministerial list, he said “I am happy to receive you in my office, but I will not comment or grant interview on that matter. I hope you will understand, thank you.”
However,  Senate’s spokesperson, Senator Dino Melaye at a press conference shortly after the Senate session, said emphatically that the list is not with the Senate yet.
He promised on behalf of the Senate that the list will be made public as soon as the presidency submits it as expected.
“Senate is still expecting the ministerial list and will communicate receipt of the list once it comes” he said.
He urged that there was no need for agitation by Nigeria.
Melaye further disclosed that the Senate will begin considerations of all communications from Mr President Buhari from next week.
Also yesterday. Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, confirmed tacitly that the list has not been submitted to the Senate as he mocked the APC government saying he had always known that the APC government was comfortable without ministers.
Ekweremadu who spoke while submitting the report of the post election review committee to the leadership of the PDP at the party secretariat said “I am not worried because I knew they would never be ready with the list on the 30th. So, I predicted what is going on. Because the APC seemed to be very comfortable ruling without the ministers which is an obvious breach of our Constitution because the framers of the Constitution envisaged  government of unity. And this can only happen through a cabinet, where you have ministers from all the states.
“So, in their wisdom, they provided that there would be a minister from each of our state and that is the only provision in our constitution that made reference to indigene. It said those ministers must be indigenes of those states. That means that every part of this country must be represented at the cabinet so that they can make their own contribution and ensure that they are all included in the policies of this country and this is particularly lacking.
“So, it is indeed very unfortunate that this is happening. I just hope that the President will as quickly as possible bring the list of the ministers to the Senate so that we can look at it and possibly confirm them so that every part of this country will be included in the governance of our country.”
It would be recalled that the Senate had on Tuesday assured the presidency that once the list is submitted, it will be treated with dispatch and dispassionately.
Saraki had in an address to welcome Senators from the six week recess on Tuesday said?; “I want to urge you all my colleagues to ensure that what is uppermost in our minds as we begin the constitutional task of screening of ministerial nominees is the overall interest of our country, informed by the enormity and the urgency of the challenges before us.
“Once the list is submitted, let us ensure that we treat it with dispatch and thoroughness.”