It is noteworthy that Nigeria is for the first time ever, testing the constitutional provision mandating the President to submit his Ministerial list within a particular time frame.
The Senate has received President Bola Tinubu’s list of 28 ministerial nominees for screening and confirmation by the Red Chamber.
With the sixty-day constitutional window set for the President to turn in his list of his nominees for cabinet positions to the National Assembly closing at midnight Friday, President Tinubu submitted his choice men and women late Thursday, to avoid a breach of the constitution.
President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, announced receipt of the list during Thursday’s plenary when he read a communication dated 27th July 2023 from the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Upon resumption of plenary on Thursday, the Senators went into an Executive (closed door) Session before they returned for the open session.
Following this, the Leader of the Senate, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, moved a motion for the Chief of Staff to the President, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila to be admitted into the Red Chamber to deliver a letter from President Bola Tinubu.
Amongst the twenty-eight nominees announced by the President of the Senate, at least nine of them are sitting or former lawmakers including Senator Dave Umahi (Ebonyi South); a sitting lawmaker. Others are Senator Abuakar Kyari, Senator John Eno, Senator Sani Abubakar Danladi, Hon. Abubakar Momoh, Nkiru Onyejeocha, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, Hon. Ekperipe Ekpo, and Hon. Stella Okotete who are former lawmakers.
The Senate is yet to announce a date for the commencement of screening.
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 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.