Ministerial Screening: Presidency Backs Senate for Sparing Some Nominees

The Presidency has said that the special privilege accorded some ministerial nominees by the Senate in the ongoing screening is proper and in line with global parliamentary tradition.

Contrary to expectations, the Senate did not grill former federal and state lawmakers during the screening.

Female nominees and individuals that are leaders of the All Progressives Congress have been spared.

The President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, has consistently justified the practice, claiming it was also done in advanced democracies.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang, said the red chamber had done nothing wrong by adopting such practice.

Speaking with reporters on Friday night, Enang, a member of the National Assembly from 1999 to 2015, agreed with Lawan.

He said, “For anyone to qualify to be appointed as a minister, they must be qualified to be a member of the House of Representatives. So, it is taken that you are qualified and had already been screened.

“For you to have been a member of the House of Representatives or a Senator, it is taken that you are the person who earlier screened and passed other people. Therefore, having been a member of the institution, you are deemed to have gone through all the tests.

“Unless there is something which has arisen after your tenure can be seen and questioned, only then can any questions arise. That is even not a matter for the Senate; it is a matter which only the security agencies can say something about.

“So, the Senate is right in saying that if you were a member of the Senate and a member of the House of Representatives, you are deemed to be qualified and nothing has happened to demean that. It is a tradition that started in the United Kingdom and United States parliament and has become a parliamentary tradition everywhere.”

Enang said a former Minister of State for Aviation, Dr Hadi Sirika, who was a member of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, should not be questioned.


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