Nigeria is for the first time ever, testing the constitutional provision mandating the President to submit his Ministerial list within a particular time frame and President Tinubu could face impeachment by the parliament in the event that he breaches the constitution
The Lawmakers had on Tuesday, stepped down important items on the Order Paper and adjourned plenary as Senators including the President of the Senate left the National Assembly to attend the 60th Birthday Anniversary Lecture and Book Presentation in honour of the Senate Leader in Abuja.
Barely twenty-four hours to the deadline for President Bola Tinubu to submit his long awaited list of Ministerial nominees to the National Assembly, the Senate on Wednesday adjourned without the list.
The lawmakers who resumed for plenary a little late on Wednesday, took on a couple of motions and other legislative businesses as listed in the Order Paper obtained by our correspondents, without any mention of communication with respect to the list.
With the sixty-day constitutional window set for the President and all governors inaugurated on May 29, 2023 to turn in their list of his nominees for cabinet positions to the respective legislatures closing tomorrow, there are indications that President Tinubu would submit his on Thursday, to avoid a breach of the constitution.
While the Presidency has been mum on the matter in the last twenty days, Presidential Aide, Dele Alake, had told journalists during a briefing at the State House in Abuja that the public will be the first to know about the President’s intentions when “he is good and ready.”
Reacting to speculations in the media about various nominees who were perceived to have been penned down on the yet-to-be-unveiled list, Alake urged Nigerians to disregard the rumours surrounding the awaited ministerial list which he described as are mere fabrications.
“I can tell you all of those things you’ve been reading in the media are mere fabrications. This is an executive presidency; we’re not running a parliamentary system. So, the President, the bucks stops on his table, and he decides when it’s fit and proper for him to make his cabinet list.”
About a week ago, Spokesperson of the Senate, Yemi Adaramodu, in responding to reports by some media platforms that the President Tinubu had sent the ministerial list to the Senate for screening, urged Nigerians to not be in a hurry as the President was within time.
“The president is within time. We should not be in a hurry. We are sure he will do the right thing because he is a good headhunter,” he said.
Similarly, apparently in touch with the fact that some Nigerians are not pleased with the long wait, the Leader of the Senate, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, on Tuesday disclosed that the Ministerial list will be sent to the Senate latest Thursday.
The statement by the Senate Leader came on the heels of the disappointing adjournment of Tuesday’s plenary despite having many important items on the Order Paper to treat. To the chagrin of many, the lawmakers including the President of the Senate left the National Assembly to attend the 60th Birthday Anniversary Lecture and Book Presentation in honour of Senator Bamidele in Abuja.
According to Senator Bamidele, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu personally informed him of this development, when he called to extend birthday greetings around 10:03 am on Wednesday. He added that due to the impending communication that needed to be submitted to the Senate, Tinubu expressed regret for being unable to attend the birthday lecture.
WHAT TO NOTE:
- Sections 147 and 148 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), provides for the appointment of ministers to be assigned “any responsibility for any business of the government of the Federation, including the administration of any department of government.”
- Section 147 (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As amended) mandates the President to submit the names of persons nominated as Ministers within sixty days of taking the oath of office for confirmation by the Senate.
- The equivalent provision at the state level is Section 192 of the constitution which mandate Governors to submit names of persons nominated as Commissioners within sixty days of taking the oath of office to the State House of Assembly for confirmation.
- Former President Muhammadu Buhari had on March 17, 2023, assented to the bill mandating the incoming President and Governors to submit their nominees, within 60 days of taking oath of office sponsored by Hon. Ben Rollands Igbakpa who represented Ethiope Federal Constituency in the Ninth House of Representatives.
- The Bill was titled Fifth Alteration Bill (No.23) to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 requiring the President and Governors to submit the names of persons nominated as Ministers or Commissioners within sixty (60) days of taking the oath of office for confirmation by the Senate or State House of Assembly; and for related matters.
- The legislation was necessitated by the actions of then President, Muhammadu Buhari, who had in 2015, taken about six months to unveil his cabinet during his first term and fifty four (54) days upon inauguration for a second term to send his list of ministerial nominees to the Senate for screening.
- President Bola Tinubu could face impeachment by the Tenth National Assembly should he fail to submit his ministerial list this Thursday