The Senate has refused to screen the 27 persons nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari for the post of Resident Electoral Commissioners, RECs, in protest of the President’s insistence to allow Ibrahim Magu to continue as acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in spite of his rejection by the lawmakers.
The legislators also noted that some appointees of the president are wont to call the bluff of the senate.
They said that President Buhari’s refusal to sack Magu as recommended by the Senate was a sign of disrespect for the third arm of government.
Delta State lawmaker, Peter Nwoboshi was the first to suggest that the confirmation of the RECs be stepped down.
This was supported by Mathew Urhoghide and Samuel Anyanwu, with the latter saying that “If the Senate is ridiculed our institution has been ridiculed”, adding that “we will try as much as possible to promote this institution.”
Similarly, Francis Alimikhena noted that the actions of the president have emboldened not only Magu but other executive appointees to go ahead disregarding the Senate.
“Let’s hear from Buhari on Magu’s case,” he said. “Magu is terrorising us, because we disqualified him.”
Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu noted that stepping down the confirmation of the RECs was just for a period of time, in order to convey the feelings of the lawmakers to President Buhari.
However, Kebbi State legislator, Adamu Aliero supported the nomination and begged his colleagues to look into the list and allow the screening to go on.
Senate President Bukola Saraki then puts the issue to a voice vote and majority of the lawmakers voted to stand down the screening of the REC nominees for two weeks.
It would be recalled that the Senate has been engaged in a seeming running battle with the executive over several issues.
Recently, two senior appointees of President Buhari, namely the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Hameed Ali and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, failed to honour invitations extended to them by the Senate.
The Senate wanted Ali to clarify the proposed vehicle import duty payment of the NCS, while Lawal was invited over activities of the Presidential Initiative on the North East, PINE.
Both cited controversial court cases that prevented them from honouring the Senate’s summons.