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Ministerial Screening: ‘Buhari Comfortable With Senate Criteria’

President Muhammadu Buhari is comfortable with the criteria set by the Senate for the screening and confirmation of his ministers.

The UNION reports that the Senate, on Thursday, gave stringent conditions for confirming the 21-man list of nominees that were sent by Buhari to the Senate through the Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki.

But the Special Adviser to the President on Senate Matters, Senator Ita Enang, alluded that Buhari is not bothered with any condition that the Senate has set.

According to the immediate past Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business, the Senate is free to set its criteria for the screening of the nominees that have been scheduled to appear before it next Tuesday.

“My job is to relate with the Senate on matters that proceeds from the president and the ministry and to create a good working relationship between the President, the Vice President, all officers of the executive and the leadership of the Senate and the entire National Assembly.

“The Senate is the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the Senate is free to set its criteria for the screening of the nominees appearing before it. Our job will be to work with the respective senators, and work with the respective nominees to make sure that the senators are satisfied, and so that they can agree with the nominations.

“We will not dispute with the Senate over what they want because it absolutely lies in the heart and minds of the respective and distinguished senators to determine what to ask. “You cannot limit the questions that you can ask a nominee.

The senators are free, and the nominees will be free to answer the questions. So, the senators are within their rights to request what they want,” Enang said. On the issue of complete list, Enang said that the President has sent the list of the nominees to be screened, and that is what is before the Senate now Speaking on the gains of the recent meeting between Buhari and the leadership of National Assembly, Enang said that there were no rifts.

“The gains and resolutions of that meeting are as were stated by the President of the Senate in his briefing of the media, after the meeting. I am sure that you can begin to feel the political temperature that has descended in the minds and psyche of Nigerians that there are relationships between the executive and the legislature, which were thought to be on heat, has been fully perfectly and effectively restored, and the public is now aware.

“I want to say that the conjecture that there was a rift between the executive and the legislature were actually and definitely, and speaking on all honesty a conjecture; there wasn’t. But I am sure that the meeting as it were as stated by the Senate President really proved that there were no rifts.

“Of course you heard and remember that the President of the Senate said, he said those small talks were the things that were taken by the public to mean that there were crisis, there were divisions. “I’m sure if you interview Nigerians on the street, you will know that there is a perfect understanding that there is a good relationship between the executive and the legislature.

Of course, the executive maintains its powers under the Constitution and knowledge that it is the legislature that will approve its measures; it is the legislature that approves your budget, it it the legislature that approves your ministerial nominees.

“I’m sure you heard President Buhari constantly say that he will respect the function of each arm of government and the leadership and membership of each arm of government to do their job. It is impossible for any administration, knowing the power of the other over its own to want to deprive that of it.

“That is why in everything we do, we do it with the greatest respect for the National Assembly, the greatest respect to their powers, their membership and leadership because they are an arm of government. “The Federal Government is made up of the executive, the legislature and the judiciary and we will make sure that the respect is maintained and everybody does his job. Mr. President has always maintained that there will be no interference in the affairs of other arms of government,” he said.


-Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja


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