Senate Draws Battle Line With Buhari, Declines Confirmation Of RECs
Nigerian Senate appears set to protest what it considers as deliberate disregard for the Red Chamber by the Executive.
Speaking after an executive session that lasted for about two hours on Tuesday, Senate President Bukola Saraki, said discussions focussed on the workings of the National Assembly.
According to him, the Senators resolved to protect and defend the Senate as an institution of government by pushing ahead with the discharge of its constitutional duties without fear or favour.
Saraki said, “The Senate at the closed door deliberated on issues concerning the workings of the Senate and National Assembly. The Senate resolved to defend and protect the integrity of the institution and we would not be intimidated by any form of attacks while performing our constitutional responsibility.”
In pursuit of this resolution, the Upper Chamber immediately sent clear message to President Muhammadu Buhari, that it would no longer be business as usual, by standing down his request for confirmation of 27 appointees as Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) for two weeks.
President Buhari forwarded the 27 names for confirmation as RECs for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in accordance with sections 14(3)(a) of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
The Senators who were visibly not happy with Mr. Buhari’s leadership style, fumed that some of the nominees have been acting in that capacity for a long time in disregard for constitutional provision that says Senate must confirm such appointments.
The case of Ibrahim Magu, who has been acting as EFCC chairman for over one year now without confirmation was cited.
It will be recalled that some appountees of the President like the Customs Boss Hameed Ali and SGF Babachir Lawal, recently demonstrated disregard for the Senate.
Senator Francis Alimikhena, while supporting that the confirmation of RECs be stood down, said “Let’s hear from President Muhammadu Buhari on Magu’s case, Magu is terrorising us, because we disqualified him.”
After exhaustive deliberations, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, moved a motion for the Senate to stand down the request for confirmation of the 27 RECs and was seconded by Senator Clifford Odia.
Senate President Bukola Saraki thereafter, put the question to the floor on whether the request should be granted but majority supported the confirmation being stood down.