Senators had a rowdy session yesterday over what some of them called ‘skewed’ appointments into federal boards and agencies by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The senators were divided along regional and party lines on the matter, with members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) alleging that Buhari’s recent nominations fell short of federal character.
The bone of contention was a letter Buhari sent announcing the nominations of the Chairman, Managing Director and members of the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA).
The board is to be headed by Tunde Lemo from South West with Nurudeen Abdulrahman Rafindadi as the Managing Director and six others from the six geopolitical zones as executive directors.
Those nominated as executive directors are Buba Silas Abdullahi, Babagana Mohammed Aji, Engr Shehu Usman Abdullahi, Loretta Ngozichukwu Aniagolu, Mujaidu Stanley Dako and Vincent Oladapo Kolawole.
After Senate President Bukola Saraki read the letter, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu protested by raising a point of order on federal character in the appointments made recently by the president, especially those of heads of agencies.
EKweremadu said he could not support the appointments by the president, where certain sections of the country were favoured against others.
The recent nominations the president made were; Dr Bello Tukur Ingawa as the chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC), from Katsina State and Musiliu Smith (Lagos) as the chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC).
Senate Leader Ahmad Lawan (APC, Yobe), however noted that federal character should be viewed from a broader perspective of appointments into all federal boards and agencies instead of just one or two.
The matter divided the senators with those of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) supporting Ekweremadu, while senators of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) opposed him.
The Senate was thrown into rowdiness with senators shouting at one another as Saraki watched. It took Saraki several minutes to bring the uproar under control, appealing to his colleagues to calm down for a decision to be taken.
Consequently, it was resolved that the matter be referred to the Senate Committee on Federal Character. Saraki therefore referred the matter to the committee and directed that it should submit its report on Tuesday.