As the Nigerian Senate commences the screening for President Bola Tinubu’s twenty-eight (28) Ministerial Nominees, what is the process expected to look like?
Find out in this special feature on the Senate and Constitutional requirement for Ministerial screening by Nigeria’s National Assembly.
The Nigerian Senate would today commence screening and possible confirmation of President Bola Tinubu‘s twenty-eight (28) Ministerial nominees for appointment into the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
However, ahead of the exercise, we packaged seven (7) key facts you should know about the screening process:
1. Screening of the Ministerial nominees is in line with Section 147 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As amended)
According to Section 147 (2), any appointment to the office of Minister of the Government of the Federation shall, if the nomination of any person to such office is confirmed by the Senate, be made by the President.
2. Screening of the Ministerial Nominees would be handled by the entire Senate
The Senate Standing Orders provides that screening of nominees from the President is to be referred to the Committee of the Whole where the responsibilities of such nominees are not stated.
“When nominations shall be made by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the Senate, the nominations shall: (a) If the responsibilities of the nominees are specified, be referred to the appropriate Committee. (b) if the responsibilities of the nominees are specified, be referred to the Committee of the Whole Senate,” – Order 117, Senate Standing Orders.
“The Senate or Committee shall sit in open Session, unless the Senate or Committee by a majority vote decides otherwise,” – Order 118, Senate Standing Orders.
3. Nominees who have previously held public office must declare their assets and liabilities before appearance at the Senate
In line with Order 120 of the Senate Standing Orders, “(a) The Senate shall not consider the nomination of any person who has held any public office as contained in Part II of the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution prior to his/her nomination unless there is written evidence that he has declared his/her assests and liabilities as required by Section 11 (1) of Part I of the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Such declaration shall be required for scrutiny by the Senators.
(b) All nominees should also submit themselves to Finger Print clearance by the Force Criminal Investigations Department of the Nigeria Force.”
4. All Ministerial Nominees must be qualified for election as a Member of the House of Representatives
Section 147 (5) specifies that “no person shall be appointed as a Minister of the Government of the Federation unless he is qualified for election as a member of the House of Representatives.”
As contained in Sections 65 and 66, a person is qualified for election as a member of the House of Representatives “(b) if he is a citizen of Nigeria and has attained the age of 25 years; (2) if (a) he has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent; and (b) he is a member of a political party and is sponsored by that party.”
5. All Ministerial Nominees with federal legislative background will cease to be members of the National Assembly upon confirmation
With at least one (1) sitting Senator nominated for Ministerial office, the lawmaker if screened would be required to resign from his seat upon his oath-taking as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
This is in line with Section 147 (4) which states that “Where a member of the National Assembly or of a House of Assembly is appointed as Minister of the Government of the Federation, he shall be deemed to have resigned his membership of the National Assembly or of the House of Assembly on his taking the oath of office as Minister.”
6. Sixteen nominees to be screened on Day One (1)
Based on information gathered from the Senate order paper for Monday’s plenary, sixteen of the twenty-eight (28) nominees sent in by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria would be screened for possible confirmation on day one; Monday.
Below is a list of Ministerial Nominees to be screened today
1. Senator Abubakar S. Kyari – Borno State
2. Hon. Abubakar Eshiokpekha Momoh – Edo State
3. Nyesom Ezenwo Wike – Rivers State
4, Engr. Prof. Joseph Terlumun Utsev – Benue State
5. Senator John Owan Enoh – Cross River State
6. Hon. (Barr) Bello Muhammad – Sokoto State
7. Mohammed Badaru Abubakar – Jigawa State
8. Amb. Yusuf Maitama Tuggar – Bauchi State
9. Senator Abubakar Sani Danladi – Taraba State
10. Barr. Uju Ken-Ohanenye – Anambra State
11, Hon. (Dr). Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo – Ondo State
12. Dr. Betta C. Edu – Cross River State
13. Imaan Sulaiman Ibrahim – Nasarawa State
14. Arch. Ahmed Musa Dangiwa – Katsina State
15. Chief Uche Geoffrey Nnaji – Enugu State
16. Hon. Stella Erhuvwuoghene Okotete – Delta State
7. President Bola Tinubu can appoint his Ministers without Senate confirmation
As contained in Section 147 (6) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, an appointment to the office of Minister shall be deemed to have been made where no return has been received from the Senate within twenty-one (21) working days of the receipt of nomination by the Senate.
Similarly, Order 130 of the Senate Standing Orders stipulates that “Nominations neither conformed nor rejected during the Session or within 21 working days in the case of Ministerial nominees shall be returned by the Clerk to the National Assembly to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and shall not again be made to the Senate by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”