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EDITORIAL: Senate and Screening of Executive Nominees

In one of its regular sittings recently, the Senate adopted a resolution to suspend the confirmation of nominees for appointments forwarded to it by the Executive Arm of the government. 

The Senate predicated its decision on the Executive’s insistence to retain the Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), Alhaji Ibrahim Magu, whose nomination, it turned down on two occasions. 

By the Senate decision therefore, all those nominated for certain positions in the federal government will have to wait indefinitely since their assumption of office is only possible upon confirmation by Senate as prescribed by Law. 

Among those whose fate now hangs in the balance are 13 Resident Electoral Commissioners(RECs) of the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC), whose nominations are awaiting the approval of the Senate. 

Also affected by this decision are Commissioners of the Pensions Commission of Nigeria (PENCOM) whose appointments are equally awaiting the Senate’s nod.

It is unfortunate that the Senate’s decision has unwittingly victimized innocent Nigerians who are in no way connected to the issues that led to its refusal to accept Magu’s nomination as the EFCC boss.

The Senate, by its decision is approbating and reprobating at the same time in the sense that, while it has severally declared its willingness to take decisions that would move the country forward, this particular decision is directly at variance with its earlier   avowed commitment. 

There is no justification whatsoever, to punish the nominees who are willing to serve their fatherland on the basis of a matter they have little or no connection nor influence over.

In the case of the RECs, the Senate actually screened some of the nominees who have since been posted to their respective states. The sudden halt of the process is, therefore, unpatriotic, tardy and clearly an after thought.

It has even been suggested in some quarters that the decision was actually targeted at INEC to arm-twist the electoral agency to abandon the recall process of a vocal member, Dino Melaye from Kogi-West Senatorial District.

Assuming this is the case, why would the Senate punish the nominees who are yet to join INEC and therefore, not party to the recall process? What justification is there to hold nominees for other executive positions to ransom like the PENCOM Commissioners?

Against this background, we call on the Senate to rescind this unpopular decision and commence forthwith, the screening of nominees for executive appointments so that the individuals concerned can assume office and contribute their quota to nation building.

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