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Confirmation: Senators open up on Buhari’s nominees’ logjam

Senators yesterday reaffirmed their position on the confirmation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s nominees, insisting that the resolution on the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC),Ibrahim Magu must be respected.

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The senators, had following the comment of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo in July, this year on Magu, put a stop on confirmations. It would be recalled that the EFCC acting chairman was rejected twice by the Senate.

Osinbajo, in April as the then acting President said the Senate confirmation was no longer necessary, citing some sections of the constitution. 

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Specifically, Osinbajo cited Section 171, saying: “ the constitution rightly said that certain appointments must go to the Senate such as ministerial and ambassadorial appointments.”

But a cross section of the senators mostly members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who spoke to Daily Trust on Sunday said only the sack of Magu would end the impasse. 

In separate interviews, the senators who cut across the North and Southern regions said they shifted their position to screen RECs in July to avoid constitutional logjam in the country.

Daily Trust on Sunday reports that since the resolution on Magu, the senators stopped the confirmation of Buhari’s nominees, except that of 12 Resident Electoral Commissioners that was done on the 19th of July, this year.

It was gathered that aside the President’s request on confirmation of nominees for the Deputy Governor and four members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), more than 40 others are pending at the Senate.

While Buhari’s request on the CBN appointees has been read, his letters on Pension Commission (PenCom),  Code of Conduct Bureau (CBB), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC), Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) among others, are said to be in the archive.

Our correspondent reports that no legislative action has been taken on the CBN appointees, about 40 days after the letter was read on the floor.

A ranking senator who has been in the National Assembly for over a decade said the delay on the President’s request on the CBN appointees was due to the Magu impasse. 

“Traditionally, on the following legislative day, the request should have been referred to the appropriate committee for screening of the nominees. However, because of the failure of the Executive to act on our resolution on Magu, no action has been taken on it,”he said.

Blaming the executive and the Vice President for aligning himself with Falana, he said the constitution created the logjam.

“It is a constitutional lacuna but we will not go to court, let the Executive do that, otherwise the impasse will not end until the end of this administration, “the South-west senator said.

Another senator, who hails from the North, lamented that the Presidency refused to act on their decision on Magu.

“We did our work, they said we cannot do what we asked and now they’ve brought another set of nominees for confirmation; do you expect us to do it ? No, we will not do it. Is Magu the only person who can head EFCC ?

“Section 24 of the constitution says all arms of the government must be allowed to do their jobs. Then, why not us in the Senate? What we are doing is not about us but the system. The system must be strengthened for the benefit of all, “he said.

He said unless the resolution of the Senate on Magu is respected, they will not confirm the nominees of the President, except those who are captured in the constitution.

 “If the confirmation of ministerial or ambassadorial nominees is brought to us, we will do it, but all others will have to wait until this issue is resolved”, he said.

A source close to the principal officers said the confirmation of the nominees has been put on hold “till eternity”.

“Since they said Magu will be there till eternity, the nominees would not be confirmed till eternity. It has been said very clearly that no nominee outside or that is not captured in the constitution would be confirmed.

“Unless they respect the law, the nominees would not be confirmed. Let them be acting, that is their business. Ours is that our resolution must be respected. Laws must be respected and that’s all. Or else nothing will go well in the country. Even if it is a bad law, it must be respected and that’s all,” he said.

Asked how many confirmations are pending, he said:  “Yes, there are requests for the confirmation of some nominees but nothing will be done. Even the CBN nominees are not going to be confirmed. They too can go and resume in acting capacity. It is unfortunate that Falana and co have misled the Presidency.”

The source said: “This is why we are advocating that our institutions should be made to work not individuals.”

Speaking on the issue on Thursday, the spokesperson of the Senate, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC,Niger) said, “all I can tell you is that nothing has changed on the issue. Join us to strengthen our institutions for the benefit of the system not individuals.”

 


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