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Ministerial list: No “Bow and Go” Culture, PMB can’t be a Minister- Senate

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The ministerial list forwarded to the Senate by President Muhammadu Buhari, is about to go through furnace of the senators, who are set to give the nominees a tough and thorough screening.
Giving hint on what the process of the screening will be, Senate spokesman, Senator Dino Melaye, said it would no longer be business as usual but a proper procedure.
He disclosed that the nominees would no longer be treated in the usual “bow and go” culture, adding that senators were interested in hearing the nominees out.
Senator Melaye said the Senate would ensure the screening was done professionally, following the laid down legislative procedures.
The senator representing Abia North senatorial district, Mao Ohuabunwa, also spoke on Monday to indicate that a stringent screening process awaited the nominees.
He stated that a nominee must be qualified to be elected a member of the House of Representatives before he or she would be confirmed a minister.
According to him, the screening would be guided by the constitution and the rules of the Senate, insisting that “this time around, we have resolved we are going to be quite stringent, we are going to be sure that whoever is coming as the minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria must be somebody worth the salt, somebody we can rely upon and somebody who would have met the constitutional requirements of the appointments. We will stick to the rules.”
He also said it was wrong to refer to President Buhari as Minister of Petroleum, adding that the president could supervise ministers but could not be referred to as minister.
He insisted that all ministers must appear before the Senate for screening.
Senator Ohuabunwa also declared that Buhari was being misled to claim that he would be Minister of Petroleum because his name could not be submitted as a minister.
“I don’t think the president’s name will be on the list and I also don’t think that the president will say he is a minister, because to be a minister, one of the conditions is that you must be subjected to screening and approval of the Senate.
“He, as the chief minister, can be there to supervise any ministry, but he cannot be a minister. Whoever is advising him to be minister is not advising him rightly,” he said.
The senator also said the Senate would ensure that no one enjoyed the “bow and go” culture as, according to him, the fact that a nominee fulfilled the basic conditions did not guarantee him the right to “bow and go.”
According to him, “we will want you to talk to Nigerians to show that, at least, you are qualified to be a minister.”
He also assured that the Senate would treat every petition and allegations of corruption against any of the nominees by writing the anti-graft agencies for clearance.
“It will be against this Senate and indeed against the president and Nigeria for us to see a very strong allegation of petition that hinges on corruption and throw it away.
“Definitely, we will not. If we see a strong petition, we will definitely look into it and follow it to a logical conclusion.
“If it would require writing to the anti-graft agencies like ICPC or EFCC to give us a report on such a person, we will do that, because that is what screening is all about.
“Screening is not a tea party. In Cross River, for example, the appointees are going to write aptitude test. “Though I am not advocating that for the ministerial nominees, it shows that everybody now is serious and that if you are going to be a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, you should be a man of integrity and a man that we can rely upon at any time.
“Integrity is very important. If you have in one way or the other soiled your hands, it will be unfortunate, because the Senate will not just say carry go,” he said.
The lawmaker, however, said a situation where two or three senators from a state rejected a nominee may not lead to automatic disqualification, as, according to him, the Senate would look at issues dispassionately.
“We may not have made input into the nomination of the nominees, because it is the responsibility of the president, but subject to the confirmation of the Senate.
“So, as far as the Senate is concerned, we must make sure that the screening is done in accordance with the law of the country and if you have skeleton in your cupboard and to a large extent we can proof it, we will send you back to who brought you and that is the president.
“We are not considering waving any rule. Why should we wave the rule? If we want to do that, it should be before the screening. I believe that at the end of the day, Nigerians will be happy. “Some Nigerians were saying that they were expecting to see some names of the so-called saints. So it is now left for us to screen them and make sure that those that will make the list eventually will be men and women of integrity,” he added.
Culled from Tribune

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