Buhari’s ministerial list to be ready this week – Lawan

The ministerial list of President Muhammadu Buhari will be forwarded to the Senate before the end of this week, Senate President Ahmad Lawan has said. Lawan, who was speaking at plenary after a Point of Order was raised by Sen Albert Bassey Akpan (PDP, A/Ibom), said the Executive arm was working very hard on the ministerial list. Akpan had in his Point of Order raised under personal explanation urged the president to send the names of his ministerial nominees as the senators would soon embark on their annual recess. Coming under Order 43, Akpan said: “Mr President, in view of the yearly long recess both the Senate and the House of Representatives will embark upon in two-week time, there is need to urge President Muhammadu Buhari to forward the much expected ministerial list to the Senate for screening and confirmation. “This is very important because if such list is not made available for the required legislative attention before we embark on the long recess, there will be no ministers and by extension, federal cabinet for the President to work with till September. “Making the list more urgent now from the President before our long recess is the fact that if it is not made available, concerted efforts being made by both arms of government to return the yearly budget cycle to January-December will be defeated. “On this note, I call on the President of the Senate to inform President Muhammadu Buhari on the need to send the list before we embark on our annual recess,” Akpan said. But Lawan indicated that based on discussions he had with some top government officials, the list should be sent to the Senate before the end of this week. The Senate President also said that senators should be ready to make sacrifices and wait to screen and confirm the ministerial nominees before proceeding on the annual recess. The lawmakers’ annual recess, which is to last for eight weeks, is expected to commence on July 25. But the senators may extend it in order to conduct the ministerial screening and confirmation. “Let me on the strength of this motion inform the Senate that the Executive arm of government is working very hard on the ministerial list. “In fact, the list, based on information at my disposal, will be forwarded to us by the President before the end of this week. “May I therefore appeal to us all to be ready to make the necessary sacrifice in terms of sufficient time to be spent in carrying out thorough screening and confirmation of appointments of the expected ministerial nominees,” Lawan said. Daily Trust had last week reported that 21 ministerial nominees were screened and cleared by the Department of State Security (DSS). It was gathered that more nominees have so far been screened and cleared by the DSS between last week and this week. Though the list of the ministerial nominees is still shrouded in secrecy, a source who is familiar with the matter told Daily Trust last night that majority of the ministers that served during Buhari’s first tenure are likely to return. The source, however, declined to mention names of the affected ministers. Buhari seeks approval for 15 special advisers Meanwhile, Buhari yesterday submitted to the Senate request for the appointment of 15 Special Advisers. Citing section 151 of the 1999 Constitution, which confers on him the power to appoint Special Advisers to assist him in the performance of his functions, the President requested the kind consideration of the Senate to appoint the 15 Special Advisers. The request, which was received by the office of the Senate President after plenary yesterday, is expected to be read at plenary today. Shock in presidency over Lawan’s announcement There was shock in the presidency following the Senate President’s announcement that the ministerial list would be sent to the Senate before the end of this week. Our correspondent reports that immediately after Lawan made the announcement, the news filtered around the Villa. Around that time, our correspondent saw the two presidential aides on National Assembly, Senator Ita Enang (Senate) and Umar Ibrahim El-Yakub (House) going to the president’s office. After their meeting, the duo did not speak to reporters. Contacted, Enang declined comment on Lawan’s announcement, saying “I cannot add or detach from what the President of the Senate has said.” Also, one of the top aides of the president in the Villa said he was shocked by the Senate President’s announcement. “Ministerial list this week? I don’t know anything regarding that. What I know that has been sent was the president’s request for approval of his Special Advisers,” he said, pleading not to be named. Daily Trust reports that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, had been quoted in the media as saying that the president’s cabinet will become a reality in July. How ministerial screening is conducted Daily Trust reports that the first step for the ministerial screening is the forwarding of the names of the nominees by the president to the Senate President, who will in turn read it to senators at plenary. The list of the nominees is forwarded with their CVs. Thereafter, the Senate will fix a date for the commencement of the screening at the plenary. The nominees will be invited through the presidential aide on National Assembly Matters (Senate) to attend the screening one after the other. The Senate will suspend its relevant rules to allow the nominees access into the chamber. They will be led by the same presidential aide one-by-one. During the screening session, the nominees are asked questions on wide range of issues by the senators. However, in the case of nominees who were once members of the National Assembly, the senators may ask them to take a bow as part of their tradition. Daily Trust reports that the screening, which is done in batches, usually takes between two and three weeks, depending on the mode adopted by the Senate. After the screening, a date will be set aside for the confirmation of the nominees, which is done one after the other at plenary. The Senate President will ask his colleagues ‘Will the Senate approve the confirmation of (nominee’s name) as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?’ Senators will in turn respond through voice vote to either approve or reject the nomination. After the confirmation hearing, a letter will be transmitted by the Clerk to the National Assembly (CNA) to the president, communicating the confirmation or rejection of the nominee(s).  

Daily trust

Hassan Usman Author

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