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Kawu Sumaila: Senate Screening Based On Constitutional Eligibility, Not Ability To Deliver

The senator stated that there needs to be clarification on the 60-day deadline for submission of ministers.

Senate representative of Kano South, Senator Kawu Sumaila, has come out to affirm that the Senate will be thoroughly screening nominees of ministerial positions in a list submitted by the President.

The senate is set to commence screening of ministerial nominees Monday. Senate majority leader, Opeyemi Bamidele and the Chairman, Senate Committee of Media and Public affairs, Yemi Adaramodu insist that screening will be thorough as opposed to the previous “bow and go” ceremony held as ministerial induction.

In an interview with ARISE NEWS on Monday, Senator Sumaila stated that though the senate does not have the portfolios attached to do as much thorough screening as they would like, they have promised to probe each candidate in line with the “guiding principles of the constitution.”

However, Senator Sumalia agreed that the nominees who have served in National Assembly or public offices should “bow and go” due to their experience in the political field.

 Public concerns were brought up with worries about just how credible these candidates might be as there might not be enough time frame for the public to raise concerns and probes about their competence.

In reply to this the senator stated, “Definitely, those who are from the national assembly will take a bow and go . It is a conventional one. And secondly, the assumption of the senate is that anybody who goes through the election and elected as a member of national assembly who served in a particular period, his CV or resume must be know to  Nigeria and at least we assume that he is a man of a great character because he served the nation at a highest decision body. And it is a tradition anywhere that when you serve in an institution, that you have or deserve the respect of that institution.

“You see it is a convention, and you see you can’t run from convention. This democracy we are practising we are not the one who initiated the process we borrowed it from somewhere and anywhere you go there is due respect for somebody who served in that capacity. We are not in the senate to disqualify the nominee, because of his ability to deliver. All we are curious about is his eligibility.

“You can find some people who are standing trial in the competent court of law and they are protected by our constitution to stand election; to do everything unless and until there is a pronouncement from the court that you are convicted based on so-so offence. But for somebody to rise and accuse you and disqualify you, I think we are going against the dictate of the constitution.

“There is a qualification for you to become a minister in the federal republic of Nigeria. That qualification is to do with the constitution.”

Sumaila stated that the president and other security agencies would have already done the job of screening the candidates competence and credibility before submitting the list.

 He stated that if they are disqualified on a basis of failure to meet constitutional requirement, then the senate can also disqualify said nominee but not disqualify them based of trials being held in court.

“Definitely if you are disqualified or if you fail to qualify at the constitutional qualification, the senate will reject you”.

On another hand, Senator Sumaila who served as past President Muhammadu Buhari’s  Special Assistant o n National Assembly House of Representatives Matters, urged that senate should make more efforts to clarify the 60-day time frame given for submission of nominees noting that only the president only submitted 28 names for screening so far.

Glamour Adah

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